VISALIA — Moving California agriculture forward in coming years will require leadership, engagement, and unity among farmers and ranchers, according to speakers at the 2020 California Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference.

California YF&R members — farmers, ranchers, and agricultural professionals ages 18 to 35 — took part in agricultural tours, heard from speakers, and participated in workshops on topics including agricultural advocacy, financial planning, technology, and the importance of Farm Bureau membership.

In speaking to the conference theme, "Embrace the Past, Envision the Future," California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson described how he became involved in Farm Bureau as a YF&R member.

"When I joined Farm Bureau, the older farmers said, 'You need to join Farm Bureau and give back to a community that created these opportunities for you,' and they were right. Now, you are here putting in your time, time away from school or time away from your family farm," Johansson said. "If we're going to embrace the past and envision the future, we have to embrace our community that is agriculture, not just for our commodities, not just our farm, but a bigger purpose."

Johansson described important developments that brought California agriculture to where it is today, such as water and transportation infrastructure, and emphasized the need for agriculture to stay united and strong for the future.

As first runner-up in the contest, Fresno State student Jasmine Flores of Atwater received $750. Other finalists in the contest were Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Armando Nevarez of Holtville and Fresno State student Andrew Skidmore of Atwater. Each earned $500.

Fresno State won the team competition and a $250 prize. Prizes for the contest were sponsored by Rabobank.

Credit to the California Farm Bureau Federation 

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