Despite a 25 percent decrease in attendance compared to last year, the Colusa County Farm Bureau’s annual Local Bounty fundraiser had as bountiful supply of local commodities as ever.
More than 350 Farm Bureau supporters mingled with one another as they grazed on a variety of dishes catered by local eateries and tasted beers poured by a local taphouse and wines by the region’s vintners.
“The format is great for networking. Everyone loves the format of having one fee at the door and not having to pay for anything else,” Melodie Johnson, the executive manager of the Colusa County Farm Bureau, said. “The socialization and networking that it affords is definitely a plus.”
Johnson said she continues to be amazed by the support that the Colusa County Farm Bureau receives from the community, not only from the patrons attending the dinner, but also the local businesses and individuals whose donations make the event possible.
“The donations we received, both in the silent auction and the art auction, were wonderful,” Johnson said. “We were blown away by the quality and the quantity of what we received.”
Johnson added that the raffle was a tremendous success as well.
“We are very thankful for our sponsors and the people who came out and supported us,” she said.
The art auction was a new feature for this year’s Local Bounty, and featured work donated of a handful of talented local artists and photographers. Johnson said that the new feature was a hit.
“I think that people who participated in the art auction were just really happy about the new opportunity. They felt really good about coming out there,” she said.
Working behind the bar were representatives of the Young Farmers and Ranchers (YFR), an organization within the Farm Bureau, who were raising money for their scholarship program.
“We raised a fair amount of money, which will all go back to high school scholarships for seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture,” said YFR committee member Deke Dormer. “We encourage them to major in agriculture, obtain a degree and bring that knowledge back to Colusa County.”
Both Dormer and Johnson said that the funds raised at the Local Bounty – both for the county’s Farm Bureau and the state – are beneficial to not only farmers, but also the community and rural economy as a whole.
“The Farm Bureau advocates for the farmers, which means they advocate for this entire community, for our rural way of life, which paves the way for our local economy,” Johnson said. “Highlighting our local commodities is important, because we’re paying homage to our farmers.”
Dormer added that he believed the Farm Bureau’s advocacy was crucial in a climate of over-regulation at the state level.
“California is becoming more of a regulated state just to live in, let alone farm in. By becoming a member of and supporting the Colusa County Farm Bureau, you are enabling the group to fight some of that over-regulation, and there are countless bills proposed on a regular basis. The State Farm Bureau does a great job of representing farmers and those affected by it.”