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UC the midwife in birth of California Farm Bureau

The California Farm Bureau Federation is marking its 90th anniversary next year with an article in the current issue of AgAlert that traces the organization's origins and provides historical anecdotes. In the article, UC Cooperative Extension gets credit for being the "midwife" when the statewide organization was born in 1919.

Extension was created by the federal government in 1914. Before academic staff would be assigned to a county, the service was required to establish a farm organization to channel information from advisors and specialists to farmers and their families.

A county Farm Bureau representing at least 20 percent of the farmers in the county had to be operating before a farm advisor could be appointed for the county, according to the AgAlert article, written by the publication's executive editor, Steve Adler.

The first California county to qualify was Humboldt, which formed its Farm Bureau in 1913. The following year, Yolo, San Joaquin and San Diego counties founded their Farm Bureaus.

The article quoted a 1917 circular written by the founder of California's Agricultural Extension Service, B.H. Crocheron. Crocheron envisioned the county Farm Bureau acting as "a sort of rural chamber of commerce and ... the guardian of rural affairs. It can take the lead in agitation for good roads, for better schools, and for cheaper methods of buying and selling."

"Perhaps the Farm Bureau can help to buy cheaper and better seeds, can help to boost the local socials, can encourage the faltering school teacher, can get out and talk for good roads--but its first and surest function is to increase the local knowledge of agricultural fact," Adler further quoted Crocheron.

In time it became clear that the Farm Bureau should pursue a broader agenda, according to the article.

"Because the university could not participate in those extra activities, organizers decided to separate the Farm Bureau from the extension service. That was accomplished with the birth of CFBF on Oct. 23, 1919, when its constitution and bylaws were officially adopted," Adler wrote.

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 10:58 AM
Tags: farm bureau (3), history (5)

Garden tour provides great educational opportunity

The Sonoma County Master Gardener volunteers sought to offer hands-on, practical information to county gardeners by demonstrating specific practices, such as proper plant selection, alternative pest control, home composting and water conservation. Multiple problems in managing previous public demonstration gardens, along with Sonoma County’s size and population distribution, led to the idea of showing home gardeners how science-based concepts were being effectively implemented within Master Gardener’s own gardens. Thus began a series of "Bloomin' Backyard Garden Tours."

Read the full story.

Advice to Grow By—Ask Us!

Attached Files
Sonoma garden tour

Sonoma garden tour
Sonoma garden tour

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 10:00 AM

A Hymn for Her

The Dead Bee

Did you catch the  "The Burns and the Bees" episode on The Simpsons Sunday night? Dead honey bees take over the otherwise animated TV show.  Bart, on a dare from schoolyard bullies, knocks a bee's nest from a tree and it lands...

Attached Files
The Dead Bee

The Dead Bee
The Dead Bee

THE DEAD BEE--Worker bees prepare to remove their dead sister (far left) from the hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 5:13 PM

Winemaking on a warming planet

Tomorrow at twilight, vintners will converge on campus to weigh in on winemaking on a warming planet, says a spot on the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat's wineabout blog. (I love alliteration.)

Among the speakers at the 6 to 9 p.m. UC Berkeley event are Miguel Altieri, UC Berkeley professor of agroecology, and Kent Daane, UC Berkeley Cooperative Extension specialist in biological control.

They will be joined by leaders of two California wineries in a discussion about current practices in and research on traditional, organic and biodynamic winegrape production, according to the blog post. The panel will also assess vineyard responses to scarce water, fluctuating fuel costs, pests and changing weather patterns.

It is interesting that wine tasting will take twice the time as weighty winemaking discourse. The discussion is scheduled from 6-7 p.m., and the wine tasting and reception is from 7-9 p.m.

Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 10:36 AM
Tags: wine (30)

To Bee or Not to Bee

To Bee or Not to Bee

"To bee or not to bee." That is the question. What is the solution? The plight of the honey bees has not escaped the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students' Association (EGSA). This year's winning t-shirt, the result of a...

To Bee or Not to Bee
To Bee or Not to Bee

TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE--Yao Hua Law (left) and Randy Veirs hold up the "To Bee or Not to Bee" t-shirt. It is intended to do double duty: to raise funds for the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students' Association and to raise awareness for the plight of honey bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of Drawing
Close-up of Drawing

CLOSE-UP of Randy Veirs' drawing shows a Shakespearean bee in period costume. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 6:06 PM

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