When you’re a small, family-owned winery without a large advertising budget, the best way to spread the word about the quality of your wines is to have key influencers taste them. But since the 300 members of the Family Winemakers of California are located from Eureka to San Diego and many points in between, it can be difficult to get these influencers to come to you.
California’s farmers grow more than 400 commodities each year, making the state the nation’s breadbasket. And for 36 years, the nonprofit California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom has been educating students around the state that the nutritious and tasty fruits and vegetables they eat don’t just come from the supermarket.
During the spring, hundreds of Farm Credit members and staff from California and around the country head to Washington, D.C., for the annual Farm Credit Fly-In. While at the Capitol, associates visit with their members of Congress and key federal regulators to discuss pending legislation and other important matters affecting agriculture.
Over the past seven years, former farmworker Aldo Gonzalez has expanded his farm business from five to 44 acres, helped by annual operating loans from California FarmLink, an Aptos-based nonprofit that since 2013 has also operated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
The wine industry is a huge part of California agriculture. According to the Wine Institute, there are 5,900 wine grape growers in the Golden State, cultivating the crop on 635,000 acres. The growers harvest almost 4 million tons of grapes a year, generating over $3 billion in farmgate revenue. In total, the wine industry has an economic impact of $57 billion a year and employs 325,000 Californians.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed remarkable challenges for California’s farmers and ranchers in 2020. Abrupt shifts in demand caused by restaurant and school closures and a jump in meals prepared at home forced producers to pivot to respond to these market shifts and many farmers experienced significant losses as a result.
In an effort to provide food to California families in need, Farm Credit, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc., are partnering to assist the expansion of the state’s Farm to Family Program, as recognized last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The 40th EcoFarm Conference – the oldest and largest organic farming conference in the West – went off without a hitch in late January, providing some 1,600 attendees with a wide range of information about how to grow food sustainably.
Farm Credit understands the vital connection between farmers and their land, as well as the importance of preserving our natural resources. These beliefs have motivated Farm Credit to be a long-standing sponsor of the Leopold Conservation Award.