In the photo, Ned Coe (left), a California Farm Bureau Federation regional representative, talks with CFBF president Paul Wenger during last night's Tehama County Farm Bureau annual meeting and dinner in Red Bluff.
At the meeting, Wenger shared his goal of increasing farmers' clout in Sacramento by boosting fundraising for the Farm Bureau, which now spends about $500,000 or so a year on political action, he said. He'd like to see that number increase someday to $30 million, which would put the Farm Bureau on par with police, prison guards' and teachers' unions.
Such a large amount would make the CFBF a player even in urban legislative districts, thus candidates would have to care about agriculture, he reasoned.
"We're a $37 or $38 billion industry," he said in an interview. "People know we're such a minority with such a huge impact on California. You have to give (legislators) time to educate them about your issues. It's not trying to buy their vote. We're just trying to educate them."
For my complete story, check CapitalPress.com soon.
The Farm Bureau also presented me with its Media Person of the Year Award for ag coverage (most likely including this, this, this and this), and I received certificates from the offices of our area's state lawmakers and Rep. Wally Herger. I'm just glad to have made an impact in our area for the Capital Press. Before they hired me in 2008, their previous Northern California reporter was based in Clear Lake, so this was sort of a new area for them and one they wanted to cultivate.
The Capital Press is a great company with great vision, and I'm just glad to be a part.