Following last week’s piece about the pride of Patterson’s agricultural community, it is important to highlight the ways in which kids and adults can become involved in agriculture, even if they do not have an agricultural background. Doing so not only supports a stronger industry, but it also allows community members to build relationships with local farmers and ranchers and learn where their food comes from.

No matter your age, it is possible to be part of farming and ranching. Not only is it a great resume builder for young adults, but it is also a great way to be more hands-on in the community and develop new skills for adults.

Patterson is located within Stanislaus County and as stated in last week’s edition, the county ranks among the top five in California for production agriculture. Add to that the fact California is one of the top producing agriculture areas in the world and it is easy to see that Patterson plays an important part of a world-wide industry that relies on the involvement of many people from different backgrounds to create a strong and safe food supply. If you are looking to join a club, or organization, here is a list of local chapters who greatly appreciate and welcome new members:

Stanislaus County Farm Bureau and Young Farmers and Ranchers:

The mission of Stanislaus County Farm Bureau (SCFB) is to be the voice of the county’s agriculture industry at all levels of government, and to provide programs which will assist local farms and families, all while advocating the needs and importance of agriculture. There are multiple levels of membership opportunities even for those who support agriculture but are not directly involved. Members enjoy benefits such as discount coupons on various products, regularly scheduled meetings, opportunities to help with community events, banquets, and state conferences.

Stanislaus County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers is an affiliate of SCFB and provides similar opportunities as stated above, but for 18-35-year-olds. Members can develop life skills through leadership positions, volunteer opportunities, scholarships, and networking with peers who hold similar interests. State conferences provide Discussion Meet, Excellence in Agriculture and various other contests which award the skills and talents of up-and-coming members of the industry. The best part is that you don’t have to be in farming or ranching in order to be a member.

To learn more head to https://stanfarmbureau.org/

Stanislaus County Cattlemen’s and San Joaquin Stanislaus Counties CattleWomen:

California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is a strong statewide organization created to support the ranching families in the state. Under the CCA umbrella are county chapters which provide each county the opportunity to connect members who promote the cattle industry at a grass roots level to the state who represents the entire industry in legislative and regulatory affairs.

San Joaquin Stanislaus Counties CattleWomen (SJSCW) falls under the California Cattlewomen’s Association and is a great way to highlight the women in the industry. SJSCW works in conjunction with the cattlemen’s association to promote the cattle industry in the state. Membership fees are inexpensive, and meetings are flexible for those with busy schedules. What is even better is that members don’t have to have cattle or be connected in the industry to be involved, a passion to support and advocate ranching is all that is needed!

Patterson Future Farmers of America and Patterson 4-H:

These programs are a life-changing way for young adults to build confidence in themselves, develop invaluable life skills, and potentially meet friends from all over the state and the country.

Patterson Future Farmers of America (FFA) is reserved for children and young adults typically throughout their high school years and enrolled in an agriculture course at their school, while 4-H is for five- to nineteen-year-olds. Both build strength in areas such as public speaking, communications, volunteering, and creative skills (such as sewing or floral arrangements) as well as the chance to raise and show livestock in local and state fairs- it is important to note that these organizations are not all about showing livestock. These organizations are as diverse as they are empowering. All children and young adults from all backgrounds are accepted and welcomed. These will look great on a resume, college application, and future job applications.

To learn more, head to https://ucanr.edu/sites/Stanislaus4-H/4-H_Clubs/Club_Websites/Patterson/ for information on 4-H or http://pattersonffa.theaet.com for information on FFA.

The local agriculture industry depends on many kinds of people to support the efforts and hard work put in by the farmers and ranchers who grow and raise quality food products. Your involvement will help improve the industry and allow it to continue to thrive in a city whose history runs deep in agriculture.

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