The best way to sustain agriculture in California is to keep it in the family.
That was half of the message delivered by Frost Pauli, president of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee of the state Farm Bureau Federation, at Thursday night’s Tehama County Farm Bureau dinner at Veterans Memorial Hall in Corning.
The other half was to make that happen, the youth in agriculture must get involved.
“I think we know we have to look to the future and engage our young farmers and ranchers,” said Pauli, 25, a fifth generation wine grower from Mendocino County. The family also grows pears.
He is also the vice president of the Mendocino County Farm Bureau.
Pauli talked about how his own family is focused on passing the farming traditions and lifestyle down from one generation to the other, and said the agriculture industry must share that priority.
“It cannot be a family farm unless you can pass it along to your family,” he said.
Pauli sad that starts with the county farm bureaus, which need to develop their own young farmers and ranchers committees, and continue support other youth organizations such as FFA.
Tehama County, in conjunction with Siskiyou and Shasta counties, did exactly that in 2010. The committees are comprised of farmers and ranchers between 18 and 35 years old.
Pauli said he got involved in promoting agriculture when he was a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. At first, he said, it was just helping the local farm bureau out at events.
But a 10-member youth committee quickly became a 150-member group with a definite agenda.
He said there are four basic parts of the committee’s work.
The first is the promotion of the industry, everything from helping local farm bureaus to being active in FFA to going to traditional agricultural schools to speak with students there.
The second area are establishing the contests that agriculture uses to lift up its own causes.
The third element, and one Pauli described as critical, is leadership development, and he encouraged the local farm bureaus and its youth committees to be creative and original in that process.
Still, Pauli noted the time-tested approach of giving youth responsibility, then praise.
“When these young people get involved, it will not only ensure that the farm bureaus will succeed, but ensure they will succeed,” Pauli said.
The fourth priority of the committee is to promote the political action arm of the Farm Bureau, so the elected representatives in Sacramento and Washington D.C. also are educated on the needs and priorities of agriculture.
“It allows the Farm Bureau (Federation) to have a backbone in Sacramento and Washington D.C,” Pauli said.