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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

September 5, 2023


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Holloway Agriculture Reminds Everyone to #BrakeForHarvest

SLO County Farm Bureau member, Holloway Agriculture, would like to remind remind drivers to #BrakeForHarvest! This is a busy time of year with harvest going and kids going back to school, so please slow down while driving in agricultural areas. Pay extra attention when crossing intersections or busy harvest zones, and let’s keep all of our farm workers, residents and children safe!

Good luck to all of our growers and thank you to all of our farm workers and ag partners this busy harvest season!

Holloway Agriculture campaign to enhance road safety for harvest workers

In preparation for the upcoming wine grape harvest season, Holloway Agriculture has initiated a #BrakeForHarvest public service announcement campaign, urging drivers to exercise increased caution while navigating agricultural zones bustling with harvest crews and machinery.

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SLO County Farm Bureau Named Finalist for County of the Year Award

Can we make it three years in a row? Last week, California Farm Bureau announced San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau is a finalist for the County of the Year award! SLO County was honored to receive the award in 2021 and 2022.

The winner will be announced during California Farm Bureau’s 105th Annual Meeting and Young Farmers & Ranchers State Conference at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno on December 1-6. Registration opens Friday, September 15th. 

This year, we will be competing with Imperial and Yuba-Sutter counties. In announcing the finalists, the state also awarded SLO County Farm Bureau six state Activities of Excellence designations for our work from August 2022 through July 2023 on Membership, Policy Implementation, Leadership, Agricultural Promotion & Education, Public Relations and Young Farmers & Ranchers committee.

Thank you to all our members who volunteered over the past year to make this happen!  

This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: Young Farmer and Ranchers to Celebrate Oktoberfest on September 23 at Barrelhouse- Buy Your Tickets Today!
  • Local Government: SLO County Water Resources Advisory Commitee Meets Sept. 6
  • State Government: Newsom Adminisration Begins Taking Grant Applications for Drought and Flood Relief
  • Federal Government: New WOTUS Rule Still Unfair to Farmers
  • Business Member Spotlight: Ag Box Company
  • Produce: New Avocado Proves Tasty, Safer to Harvest at UC ANR Research and Extension Centers
  • Featured Member Benefit: Advocacy- CA Farm Bureau Weekly Newsletters
  • Labor: California Courts Now Agree… Time Rounding Is Flat Out Illegal
  • Wildfire: Climate Change Makes Wildfires in California More Explosive
  • Livestock: Save the Date for SLO CattleWomen Polenta Dinner October 7, 2023!
  • Vineyard and Wine: "It's Not Going to be an Easy One": Central Coast Vineyards to See Late Harvest After Winter Storms
  • Water: New Groundwater Recharge Guidance Documents from DWR and Sustainable Conservation

August 28 Most-Read

1. Is China really buying up U.S. farmland? Here’s what we found

2. CBP agriculture specialists discover first-in-nation pest in San Diego

3. County releases draft ag enterprise ordinance for public comment

4. The grand jury is in, and the Paso basin is still in trouble

5. Boiling Point: Would filling a new reservoir give off lots of greenhouse gases?

6. NOAA is releasing for public comment the draft of the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

7. UCANR: New database helps Californians understand proposed groundwater plans

8. Hilary tests California avocado growers, but supplies expected to last through Labor Day

9. Americans could see pricier tomatoes if feds alter trade policy with Mexico

10. Cal Poly Humboldt professor begins two rangeland studies funded by California Farm Bureau

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

  • Spoke at the Central Coast CAPCA meeting about the current state of agriculture in the area;
  • Sent a letter to Assemblymember Dawn Addis opposing SB 799, a bill that would extend unemployment insurance for workers on strike;
  • Gave our weekly update on The Tom & Becky Show on KJUG 98.1 (Thursdays around 9:10am);
  • Monitored a Shandon-San Juan Water District Meeting (Find the meeting agenda here);
  • Met with Alfredo Pedroza, Napa County Supervisor, about CFBF Government Affairs Outreach; and
  • Worked on Annual Meeting planning and preparations.

Calendar- Upcoming Events & Deadlines:

  • September 18 - Deadline to apply for USDA FSA's Emergency Loan Program
  • September 23 - Young Farmers and Ranchers Meet-Up at Paso Robles Barrelhouse Oktoberfest from 2-7pm- Purchase your tickets here.
  • September 26 - SLO County Farm Bureau Board Meeting at 5pm (4875 Morabito Place SLO; All members welcome, please RSVP to office at 805-543-3654)
  • October 3 - In-Person Hazardous Ag Materials Training - English 9-11am, Spanish 1-2:30pm (Free for Farm Bureau Members! Register here.
  • October 10 - SLO County Great AGventure at Paso Robles Event Center (Email SLO County Ag Education Committee Exec. Dir. Kim Bradley for more info at kimberlybrad5@gmail.com)
  • October 13 - Deadline to apply for the USDA FSA's Emergency Conservation Program for January, February and March 2023 storm damages in SLO County
  • October 14 - Young Farmers and Ranchers to participate in Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade; Meet at 8:30am to decorate float
  • October 24 - SLO County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting (details coming soon)

Advertise in San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau's

2024 Sportsmen Raffle Calendar

Sponsorship Opportunities:

Purchase a Business Card-Size Ad

  • Purchase a full-color business card size advertisement on the main calendar display for $350.

Donate a Prize

  • Donate an item or prize package with a retail value of at least $500, and you will receive a complimentary Business Card Ad on the main calendar display.
  • Your business will also be recognized on the tear-off page for the month your prize is awarded.

Deadline is Sept. 5, 2023! Ads will sell out, only 6 ad spaces remain. Learn more here.

Community: Young Farmer and Ranchers to Celebrate Oktoberfest on September 23 at Barrelhouse- Buy Your Tickets Today!

The North American Truffle Growers Association (NATGA) will hold their 2023 Congress in Paso Robles, California, on October 8 - 10 at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort. This emerging industry complements the wine industry and has a proven track record of discovering truffles here in Paso Robles. The three-day event includes grower break-out sessions and an orchard tour with wine and truffle pairings at Caelesta Vineyard & Truffiere. The event will close on Tuesday, October 10 with a Grand Finale Truffle Dinner prepared by Allegretto’s Executive Chef. 

Sponsorship opportunities are available at many levels between $1,000 - $2,500. Please contact Kylee Corliss to sign-up for sponsorship. Congress Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased here. For more information on the North American Truffle Growers Association, please visit the website at www.trufflegrowers.com.

Join YF&R at Oktoberfest on September 23rd at the Paso Robles Barrelhouse Brewing Company. Get your tickets for $20 online here. This is a public event so get your tickets early!

FREE Technical Assistance for California Farmers Available 

Wild Farm Alliance is currently collecting information from interested California farmers who want to work with them to create conservation plans. They have received funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture to support California farmers to create one of the following types of plans: 

  1. Beneficial Bird Habitat Plan 
  2. Pollinator Habitat Plan 
  3. Carbon Farm Plan 

Together, they will assess your farm’s natural resources and concerns, identify multiple opportunities for improvements and prioritize plans for the best outcomes.  

The plans will help you be better prepared when applying for assistance with state and federal agencies such as CDFA and NRCS. If you are interested in working with Wild Farm Alliance to create a conservation plan, please complete the interest form here

A memorial for Harry Ovitt, an esteemed member of the PRTR BBQ Crew, will be held Friday, September 22 from 11:00am to 1:00pm, at the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum

Harry Luther Ovitt III 1945-2023 

Aug 9, 2023

Harry Luther Ovitt III passed away peacefully in his home on Sunday, July 2nd, 2023.


He was born on September 22nd, 1945, in Camp Rucker, Alabama, to Harry Luther Ovitt II and Dorothy Virginia Ovitt.


After graduating from Paso Robles High School, Harry began a lifetime of public service as an Eagle Scout. Harry served in the Navy and was a proud Veteran. 

After serving 11 years on the Paso Robles City Council, Harry was elected to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in 1989 and proudly represented District One for twenty years. 

Harry’s influence and leadership can still be witnessed throughout the county today, as he was instrumental in securing funding for Barney Schwartz Park, the Paso Robles Courthouse, low-income senior housing, and supported the creation of the North County Sheriff’s substation and two fire stations in Paso Robles. 

Harry greatly enjoyed a lifetime of service and dedication to the people and natural resources of San Luis Obispo County. A member of more than 50 agricultural and professional organizations, from the airport to the aquifers and everyone and everything in between, Harry was dedicated to the health and prosperity of San Luis Obispo County, and he will forever be missed. 

Harry is survived by his stepdaughter Karissa San Juan; brothers, John Ovitt, wife Carol, and Steve Ovitt; his nieces, Kelly Ovitt Yarrington, husband Tom, and Lisa Nielson, husband Curtis; and numerous beloved nieces, nephews, and extended family.

Local Government: SLO County Water Resources Advisory Commitee Meets Sept. 6

SLO County Water Resources Advisory Commitee Meets Sept. 6

SLO County Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC) meeting will be at 1:30pm on Wednesday, 9/6/2023 and will be held in-person at the SLO City/County Library Community Room. A Zoom livestream will also be available for the public and those who are unable to attend in-person.

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Morro Bay reduces permit fees for property owners impacted by floods

The winter storms that ravaged Morro Bay put residents like Heather Baker on their heels as the sudden storms led to massive flooding and building...

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City hosting community celebration in honor of late Mayor Steve Martin

Celebration of life slated for Sept. 27 - The City of Paso Robles is hosting a community celebration of life in honor of the late [...]

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State Government: Newsom Adminisration Begins Taking Grant Applications for Drought and Flood Relief

California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work - State Government Affairs Weekly Update- September 1, 2023


Several bills Farm Bureau has been actively engaged in this session were removed from the Senate Appropriations suspense file and passed today, including:

  • AB-399 (Asm. Tasha Boerner, D-San Diego), limiting county water authority members’ ability to leave a service area, was amended by the committee to remove the bill’s urgency clause and subsequently passed. Farm Bureau is opposed to this bill.
  • AB-560 (Asm. Steve Bennett, D-Ventura), related to groundwater well permitting requirements, was made a two-year bill by the committee. Farm Bureau is opposed to this bill.
  • AB-1205 (Asm. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda), related to a study of investment fund ownership of agricultural land an water rights, passed out of committee. Farm Bureau was formerly opposed but is currently neutral.
  • AB-1573 (Asm. Laura Friedman, D-Los Angeles), related to model ordinances for commercial landscaping, was amended by the committee to expand the definition of “native” plants and to reduce the native plant landscaping requitement to 10% and subsequently passed. Farm Bureau is opposed to this bill but may revisit its position once the amendments have been reviewed.

Department of Insurance to Host Second Workshop Examining Catastrophe Modeling and Insurance on Sept. 26

Billionaire land buys threaten state ag, water resources - The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Flannery Associates LLC, a Delaware-based company, had been purchasing land near Travis Air Force Base (AFB) in Solano County.

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California Small Agricultural Business Drought & Flood Relief |

Program Overview-

The California Small Agricultural Business Drought & Flood Relief Grant Program will provide relief to small agricultural businesses that experienced a decline in annual gross receipts or gross profits due to drought or flood conditions.

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Federal Government: New WOTUS Rule Still Unfair to Farmers

New WOTUS Rule Still Unfair to Farmers

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the Biden Administration's revised Waters of the U.S. Rule. "EPA had a golden opportunity to write a Waters of the U.S. Rule that's fair to farmers and stands the test of time, but instead chose to continue government overreach and revise only a small slice of the rule that was rejected by the Supreme Court.

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Farm and Ranch Incomes Take a Step Back in Latest USDA Forecast

Munch: Take advantage of risk management options available to you. This can include things offered through the federal crop insurance program available for lots of crops, as well as any of the farm bill commodity programs like Dairy Margin Coverage.

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Business Member Spotlight:

Ag Box Company

Setting the Industry Standard

Maker of the industry standard for Napa Cabbage and Bok Choy crates, AG Box Company distributes corrugated packaging, wooden pallets, and produce boxes. Since 1988, we have been proudly serving Oceano, Fresno, and Santa Maria, CA, and surrounding areas. AG Box Company is an exclusive assembler of WGA crates. If you need quality produce shipping or storage containers, we are your premier choice in Central California and on the West Coast.

A Staple in the Produce Community

AG Box Company has served the local farming and packaging community across three decades and continues to grow and innovate. Established in 1988 as a local supplier for the produce growers, shippers, and packers of the Central Coast, we have spent the last 30+ years growing, innovating and providing excellent customer service at competitive prices.


PHONE: 805-489-0377

Produce: New Avocado Proves Tasty, Safer to Harvest at UC ANR Research and Extension Centers

25M boxes lost to Hurricane Hilary, California table grape growers report

"The revised estimate for the California crop is 71.9 million 19-pound boxes," said California Table Grape Commission President Kathleen Nave. "The last time the crop was under 75 million boxes was 1994."

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California strawberry industry applauds executive order to address historical flooding

The work includes levee repairs and debris removal to help protect and prepare local communities in anticipation of another possible wet season

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New Avocado Proves Tasty, Safer to Harvest at UC ANR Research and Extension Centers

A new avocado, one that complements the widely known ‘Hass,' will hit the world market soon. The ‘Luna UCR' variety (trademarked and patent pending) has several characteristics that should be of interest to both growers and consumers...

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Thank You Farm Bureau Members

New Agricultural Business Support Members

Central Coast Community Energy and Diamond West Farming Co., Inc.

New Agricultural Member

Chris Waldron

Renewing Agricultural Members

Alan Eto, Ann Myhre, Robert Rohrer, Manuel Avila, Rollie Cavaletto, John Tompkins, Michael Cirone, Victor Hugo Winery, Richard Lehnhoff, Dick Goldstein, Ernest Dalidio, John Hurl, Cavalli Estates, EW Hearst Holdings LLC, Circle 6 Ranch, Roger Zanetti, Mary Ann Bathe, John Cheda, Sinclaire Blythe, Fair Oaks Ranch, Kristy Bishop, Jon Pedotti, and Tartaglia Ranch

Renewing Associate Business Support Members

Nick's Telecom and Peoples's Self-Help Housing

Renewing Associate Members

Charles Thorne, Robert Lynds, Alfred Fiscalini, Robert Newdoll, and Carl Young

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Featured Member Benefit:

Advocacy- CA Farm Bureau Weekly Newsletters

Stay Informed with the CA Farm Bureau Weekly Newsletters:

  • Government Affairs Division: The Government Affairs Division protects farmers and ranchers throughout the state of California. Read Newsletter Here.
  • Federal Policy Division: California Farm Bureau's Federal Policy Team works to preserve the rural and agricultural way of life in California. Read Newsletter Here.
  • Legal Services Division: The Legal Services Division works to protect the legal rights of farmers and ranchers throughout the state of California. Read Newsletter Here.

Labor: California Courts Now Agree… Time Rounding Is Flat Out Illegal

Workers pay the price while Congress and employers debate need for heat regulations

There are still no federal rules to protect workers from the heat - even as this summer's record temperatures reinforce the dangers.

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The NLRB Brings Back "Quickie" Elections - Western Growers Association

On August 24, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a Final Rule that marks a significant shift in the landscape of labor relations in the United States. This rule, set to take effect on December 26, 2023...

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Meal Period Violations, Farm Employers Beware

Meal break violations are an open door for Class Action & PAGA lawsuits that farmers have been getting impacted by, according to longtime ag labor and employment attorney Ron Barsamian...

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FELS August 2023 Newsletter

Top 10 Pesticide Violations of 2022

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) recently posted to its website Top 10 Agricultural Pesticide Use Violations of 2022. Some were paperwork violations like failing to have a copy of the registered labeling covering its use at the use site, pesticide use reporting, and failure by a pesticide control business to register with the county ag commissioner. You can review the CDPR presentation here

CA Minimum Wage to Rise to $16 on Jan. 1

Per California Labor Code section 1182.12, subdivision (c)(1), the director of the California Department of Finance issued on July 31 a notice that the state’s minimum wage will be $16 an hour in 2024. The 2023 minimum wage is $15.50. You can find an updated chart describing recent minimum wage increases and changes in ag overtime here.

California Courts Now Agree… Time Rounding Is Flat Out Illegal

For years, California courts embraced a federal standard which permitted employers to round time entries provided the rounding policy was neutral and the rounding practice did not disadvantage employees. However, over the last decade, California courts have chipped away at the legality of rounding policies and practices. Most recently, in Woodworth v. Loma Linda Univ. Medical Center (Cal. Ct. App., July 24, 2023, No. E072704), the Fourth District Court of Appeal reaffirmed this trend by holding that employers cannot round time entries if they can determine the actual start and stop times of shifts and meal periods. Stated plainly, “time rounding”—meaning the practice of rounding time entries up or down to the nearest tenth or quarter of an hour—is now unquestionably illegal in California.

Wildfire: Climate Change Makes Wildfires in California More Explosive

Migrant workers facing the dangers of wildfires need support, say researchers

Wildfires continue to burn across Canada, destroying hundreds of structures and displacing thousands of people. However, while many have been able to evacuate and receive help, migrant workers have been coping with the effects of the fires with relatively little support.

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Climate Change Makes Wildfires in California More Explosive

A new study pins about 25% of the extra risk on human-caused climate change.

During some of the worst hours in Camp Fire, which in 2018 burned the town of Paradise, California to the ground, the fire was growing so fast it ate up 10,000 acres within just 90 minutes.

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Livestock: Save the Date for SLO CattleWomen Polenta Dinner October 7, 2023!

Save the Date for SLO CattleWomen Polenta Dinner October 7, 2023!

Join us for our second-annual Polenta Dinner on Saturday, October 7, 2023 at Vintage Cowboy Winery in Pozo, CA. No Host Bar: 5:00pm - 6:00pm Dinner is served at 6:30 pm Silent Auction & Music $60 per ticket Get your tickets from the following CattleWomen: Suze Evenson: (805) 712-2588 Lesa John: (805) 459-5846 Kathy Loftus: (805) 441-5748 Tracy Nicholson: (805) 441-3156 Fran Tognazzini: (805) 459-8166 See you there!

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VSV- August 22 Report

Vineyard and Wine: "It's Not Going to be an Easy One": Central Coast Vineyards to See Late Harvest After Winter Storms

J. Lohr named to Top 100 Wineries list second year in a row

Recognition comes as a result of the winery's performance over the past year - J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines has been selected for the second [...]

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"It's Not Going to be an Easy One": Central Coast Vineyards to See Late Harvest After Winter Storms

One of the Central Coast's biggest industries is still grappling with the after-effects of this year's winters storms. This year's harvest season could happen months later than usual.

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A simple vineyard strategy cuts water usage by one-third - The Drinks Business

It's been called a "no-brainer"...but very few vineyards are doing it. Kathleen Willcox reports on a move which improves water use and also quality.

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Fresno State Researchers Investigate Smoke Taint in Wine Grapes to Help Define Thresholds

Viticulture and enology researchers from multiple universities have been feverishly working with the western wine grape industry...

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California Growers Face High Mildew Pressure, Delayed Grape Harvest

It's been a while since California growers have experienced a wet year with a plentiful snowpack and water supply.

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Water: New Groundwater Recharge Guidance Documents from DWR and Sustainable Conservation

Cuyama Basin landowners sued by major carrot producers Grimmway, Bolthouse

Landowners in the Cuyama Valley Groundwater Basin have been fighting major agriculture producers, Grimmway Farms and Bolthouse Farms, for their water rights.

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FEATURE: How a new satellite-based platform could transform water management in California

By Robin Meadows In 2015, when California was deep into a severe drought, state Senate Bill 88 tightened requirements for reporting water use. This posed a challenge for growers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's 415,000 acres of farmland, where many irrigation systems are fed by siphons instead of pumps and so lack electricity to run...

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NOW AVAILABLE: New Groundwater Recharge Guidance Documents from DWR and Sustainable Conservation

The Department of Water Resources and Sustainable Conservation have released new guidance documents for groundwater recharge: On-Farm Recharge Methods Manual The On-Farm Recharge Methods Manual gathers observations and lessons learned from over a decade of Sustainable Conservation working directly with growers and irrigation districts to implement on-farm recharge, including methods to enhance recharge, avoid crop...

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America Is Using Up Its Groundwater Like There's No Tomorrow

Unchecked overuse is draining and damaging aquifers nationwide, a data investigation by the New York Times revealed, threatening millions of people and America's status as a food superpower.

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Farm Bureau Membership Matters

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We cannot support your freedom to farm and ranch without your membership.

Join SLO County Farm Bureau now or renew your membership online. Go to slofarmbureau.org to join, or download the membership form PDF.

Have your renewal notice available to speed up the process; you will need to enter your membership number, name and ZIP code. Renewal dues may be paid online or over the phone by credit card.

We're here to help! Call us if you need us to lookup your member number or we can process your membership for you, at 805-543-3654.

All California county Farm Bureau memberships are processed through the California Farm Bureau Federation, but please reach out to our SLO County office if you need your membership number or have questions.

Join or Renew Your San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Membership

Thank You Platinum Members

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SLO County Agriculture News is distributed by SLO County Farm Bureau for information purposes only. Stories written by SLO County Farm Bureau may be reprinted with attribution. Some outside story links may require site registration. Opinions expressed in stories, commentaries or editorials included in this newsletter do not necessarily represent the views of SLO County Farm Bureau. For information on advertising opportunities, please email info@slofarmbureau.org or call our office at 805-543-3654.

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