Bridging the Farm-City Gap

Wayne Zipser, executive director of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau

Bridging the Farm-City Gap

November 16, 2015

Stanislaus Outreach Bridges Farm-City Gap  

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Wayne Zipser, executive director of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, noted that he, his staff and farm bureau members are working hard to bridge the farm-city gap. “We certainly do a lot of outreach,” Zipser said. “We mainly try to reach out to our young people and change their attitudes towards production agriculture.”

“We teach them where their food actually comes from,” he explained, “so when they grow older, they have a different opinion and know exactly where their food comes from—not just from the grocery store off the grocery shelf. It takes a lot of people to make that happen so consumers can appreciate the nutritious food they are consuming.”

”We have several Ag Days in the County. We visit schools individually and do presentations,” said Zipser. “One of the big presentations is something we call ‘Ag Adventure.’ We bring third graders because we’ve been told that third grade is when they absorb the most information into their minds.”

“We bring classes out to the fairgrounds and introduce every child to our industry, to where their milk and eggs come from. We also talk about how rain and snow filter down into reservoirs for storage. The teachers are also become immersed; they take the lessons back to the classroom and apply them to their own curriculum.”

Zipser explained the staff is big on social media now, “Social media benefits our industry; almonds being the number one commodity—but we’ve all heard it takes one gallon of water to produce one almond. We want to go back and say, “Look, it may take that, but look at the benefits coming back to the community.”

“One of our biggest outreaches is letting people know that our farmers and ranchers are suffering through this drought too,” Zipser said. “We, as producers, are suffering, and we have made tremendous strides in conserving water. We see many of the irrigation districts in our county now have extra water that they didn’t know they were going to have because the farmers did such a good job conserving,” Zipser clarified.