The FFA is a leadership and career development organization found in many California high schools. It represents more than 91,000 members from 320 chapters across the state.
About 7,000 of those FFA students will converge on Anaheim from April 24 to 26 for the 91st Annual Conference.
“There’s going to be some public speaking contests, and the students will participate in workshops by the agricultural colleges and universities throughout the state,” said Matt Patton, Executive Director of California FFA. “They’re also going to conduct the business of the FFA association. It is a true student-run organization.”
All 320 chapters from California will send two delegates to do the organization’s business. There are a couple of items that they’re going to debate on and vote on what will be a change in the bylaws of the FFA. Additionally, they are going to elect their new state officers that will represent the state of California for the upcoming year.
Patton noted the diversity of the California FFA.
“Of the more than 91,000 members, 48 percent are female, and 51 percent are male. Hispanic and Latino members represent 41 percent, 43 percent are Caucasian, with three percent African American. We are very diverse in a large demographic of areas.”
For more information on the upcoming convention: https://www.calaged.org/stateconvention
Citing his passion for agriculture, his tenacity, and his decades of service to Farm Bureau, the California Farm Bureau Federation presented its Distinguished Service Award to former CFBF President Paul Wenger. Wenger accepted the award during the organization’s 100th Annual Meeting last night in San Diego.
A third-generation farmer who grows almonds and walnuts on a family farm in Modesto, Wenger served as CFBF president from 2009 to 2017, ending his term after serving the maximum eight years in office. He has been a Stanislaus County Farm Bureau member since 1980, serving as county farm bureau president before being elected to the CFBF board and then as a statewide officer beginning in 1997, when he was elected the organization’s second vice president. Wenger also served on the American Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors.
Current CFBF President Jamie Johansson described his predecessor as “tireless” in his work on behalf of the farm bureau and California agriculture.
“In his speech to our Annual Meeting last year, Paul reminded us that those who work the hardest, the longest, and invest the most are probably going to be successful. Although he was referring to Farm Bureau, the words certainly apply to Paul himself. He has remained actively involved in Farm Bureau and agriculture, and we look forward to his continued contributions,” Johansson said.
In nominating Wenger for the award, the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau pointed to his “lifetime in leadership roles in agriculture,” starting as a state Future Farmers of America officer in 1973, and cited “his passion for the industry and his tenacity to resolve problems and get things done.”
The Distinguished Service Award has been presented annually since 1953 to dedicated Farm Bureau volunteers from California. In addition to the award to Wenger, CFBF presented the Distinguished Service Award to longtime Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau leader James Marler.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.
Nick Wolfenden, a graduating senior at California State University, Fresno (Fresno State), who majors in animal science and livestock management was honored with three other Fresno State science students in mid-March.
“Nick has made it his mission to educate the ag community and the public about the growing spotlight on the importance of animal welfare,” said California Assemblyman Jim Patterson, who honored the Fresno State students, along with Sandra Witte, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State and Lawrence Salinas, Fresno State’s executive director of government relations.
“Nick says his greatest achievement at Fresno State was starting the Animal Welfare Club,” said Patterson. “The club has made a great impact on his fellow students by giving them the facts and skills to teach each other about the focus on the health and welfare of animals in production agriculture.”
As the club’s founder and president, Wolfenden started a movement to get donations to update Fresno State’s school farm so the animal welfare practices used by students would reflect the visions, values and beliefs of Fresno State. These changes have benefited both the animals and the students who care for them.
For a broader perspective, Wolfenden interned with the American Humane Association and became a key player in their Farm Animal Welfare Program. His drive and his passion have been noticed by several organizations and companies across the country who would like him to oversee their divisions.
“In 2015, Nick was honored as both the Outstanding Poultry Science Student and Outstanding Equine Science Student at Fresno State, given by the faculty to the animal science department students who make an impact in their field,” noted Patterson. “He also is an advisor to the Poultry Science Club, member and student advisor to the Equine Science Club, and has been the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Field Day Contest chair in both equine and poultry.”
Wolfenden believes he has the drive and determination to continue to make a significant difference in the lives of farm animals and in the industry that raises them and brings them to market. And he wasted no time in getting a good job offer from Tyson Foods at their global headquarters in Springdale, AR, to begin after graduation. “I’ll be working in their sustainability department helping to oversee their animal welfare division,” Wolfenden said.
“I think every farmer and rancher has to be passionate about their animals’ welfare,” said the senior. “We are making huge steps and big leaps in improving animal welfare and we see that across all industries,” he noted.