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Bruce Fry’s election as a California Farm Bureau Federation delegate to the AFBF annual convention is the first time in a decade that a delegate has come from San Joaquin County.

“I think the last San Joaquin County delegate was Kenny Watkins,” Fry said. “I feel honored to be elected. I’m only 40 and other guys have been around longer but I got the vote.” He also served as an alternate delegate for one year.

Delegates establish Farm Bureau policies to help guide the organization’s work by representing family farmers and ranchers to government agencies and elected officials.

Wenger comments
CFBF President Paul Wenger said of the delegates’ work, “Each year the CFBF House of Delegates reviews policies and debates issues that affect our agricultural operations … honing policies that help ensure production of a healthful and abundant California-grown food supply and that aim to help farmers and ranchers remain profitable.”

Fry elected
Fry, current SJFB president, was nominated from the floor at the 2012 CFBF annual meeting in Pasadena. Secret ballots were issued to all delegates and Fry was the top vote getter.

Five CFBF delegates – three federation officials and two elected from the membership and three alternates – work together on CFBF policies that will be presented to the AFBF at its national meeting and, Fry said, “The alternates do the same work as the delegates and experience the same things. It’s excellent preparation for being a delegate.”

What delegates do
“We will represent CFBF at the annual AFBF meeting and present our points of view regarding recommendations for policy changes,” Fry said, adding that the delegates refined and added crucial paragraphs to the language concerning CFBF estate tax policy.

“Delegates work to get CFBF to adopt policies, then AFBF to change policies and then they lobby in Washington to effect change,” he said. “It’s a very democratic process; Farm Bureau is a very grass-roots organization.”

Fry said all delegates and alternates must make sure they understand the AFBF policy book.

Variety of issues
Issues being discussed by delegates include new or revised policies on estate taxes, wildfire management, the gray wolf and environmental damage from unlawful marijuana farms.

According to CFBF Federal Policy Division Manager Rayne Pegg, the delegates adopted new policy positions, worked to clarify existing policies and helped “move important issues to the top of the national agenda for agriculture. This House of Delegates session built on many existing polices in an effort to strengthen them at the state and national levels.”

SJFB receives award
Indicative of San Joaquin Farm Bureau’s efforts to support and enhance agriculture at every level, SJFB received a President’s Program of the Year award for “outstanding programs within their membership categories,” according to CFBF. Other county Farm Bureaus receiving this award were Monterey, Butte and Tulare.

Bruce Fry’s term as SJFB president will end soon but he’ll continue representing San Joaquin County and California farmers and ranchers during his upcoming two-year term as a CFBF delegate.