Many activities underway for YF&R in 2024; new members always welcome!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

By Vicky Boyd

Much like farms have transition plans to pass operations onto the next generation, San Joaquin Young Farmers & Ranchers strives for a mix of ages to ensure programs seamlessly continue.

Recruiting new members also may bring in different ideas to complement existing efforts, such as providing college scholarships and partnering with San Joaquin Farm Bureau to buy animals at AgFest.

YF&R Chair Jake Samuel said they have a good mix of ages represented in the current group, but bringing in new members is an ongoing effort.

“We have some old veterans like myself and some younger people who are wanting to become more involved to hopefully take over some of the reins we’ve been doing,” said Samuel, 34. “It’s been kind of hard getting new members but it’s just getting the word out.”

YF&R Treasurer Kent Norman, 26, agreed. “It’s good to have that full spectrum of ages in YF&R. Whenever you have a bunch of young people in their early 20s, they can talk to the older members who are closer to aging out and get an idea of things to try out. It’s almost like a mentoring type of deal. You can get more experienced people to help out the younger people.”

Having a diverse mix of ages also means members have a variety of experience in the ag industry they can share with each other, he said.

Jessica Coit, SJFB program director for YF&R, said the transition plan seems to be working.

“For a lot of the past members who have just aged out, it was a big priority for them to get younger people that they could pass the torch to. This group seems to be pretty cohesive.”

YF&R is designed for those 18-35 years old who are involved in agriculture or have an interest in it.

Coit said she’s been impressed with this year’s Executive Committee and how they’ve stepped up to take on some of the related duties she used to do.

“This year’s executive team has been so on top of the ball,” she said. “One thing with us being down a staff person, they want to be self-sufficient.”

In addition to some energetic newcomers from San Joaquin County, Coit said the group also has attracted a few members from neighboring Sacramento and Stanislaus counties.

Summer’s Bounty fundraising barbecue

YF&R relies on its annual Summer’s Bounty fundraising barbecue to support its tours and social activities as well as fund college scholarships, AgFest animal purchases and community service activities. In addition, the funds provide scholarships for YF&R members who want to attend the YF&R State Conference or California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting.

“There’s a common misconception that it funds more socials and more events when there’s a lot more to it,” Samuel said. “We’re putting money toward AgFest animals. We have scholarships and continue with outreach. The fundraiser is not just for us to raise money – it allows us to give back to the community.”

The 2023 Summer’s Bounty was one of the group’s most successful yet in terms of fund raising, even with temperatures that topped 100 degrees on the day of the event. Norman said he couldn’t pinpoint the reason but said it might have to do with the 2022 barbecue – the first one after the COVID pandemic.

“People went to the one post-COVID, had a great time and helped spread the word,” he said.

Fundraiser Co-Chair Rose Lorenzo hoped for similar results with this year’s event. She is finalizing the location and date and will begin publicizing it shortly.

Lorenzo volunteered to help organize the barbecue because she said she liked event planning. Plus, Brooklyn Petersen, who helped direct the Summer’s Bounty the past two years, was still available to provide guidance.

Lorenzo said she planned to keep the ever-popular live dessert auction as well as a new one started last year for a handful of non-dessert items such as a trip or a VIP table at the 2025 Summer’s Bounty. A silent auction with donated items also will return.

Tri-tip will remain on the menu because of how well it turned out last year. But Lorenzo said she may tweak a few of the side dishes that didn’t work as well last year being prepared for a large crowd.

Giving back to the community

Catie Newport, 22, joined YF&R a few months ago at the recommendation of her older sister. A 2023 graduate of California State University, Fresno, Newport was familiar with the group’s activities as a prior scholarship recipient.

As community service chair, Newport is responsible for developing projects that let YF&R give back to the community. Many are still in the early stages and will be solidified at the group’s April meeting. Newport said she also is proposing quarterly community service projects on top of annual efforts, such as scholarships.

Already, she has organized a drive to collect items for care packages to send to service men and women. Among the donations are socks, toiletries, hygiene products, soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste and non-perishable snacks.

“I’m just getting back here and giving back to San Joaquin County,” Newport said.

Become a YF&R member

Newport also serves as social media chair, posting information about upcoming YF&R activities and projects on the group’s Facebook and Instagram pages. They can be found at and, respectively.

San Joaquin YF&R hosts monthly meetings or events, alternating social activities like a Sacramento Kings basketball game, with educational ag-related tours and business meetings. Samuel said they’re trying to add different fun activities, like the Kings game, and to have more in the south part of the county, Escalon and Tracy.

One of those was the recent tour of Escalon walnut processor GoldRiver Orchards, which also attracted a few members from Stanislaus County YF&R.

Samuel said members also have discussed possible tours with YF&R chapters in other parts of Northern California. In the past, the San Joaquin group has had get-togethers with YF&R chapters in Butte and El Dorado counties.

In addition, Coit said members have discussed inviting a speaker to talk about professional development and possibly hosting other personal growth activities.

Interested people can attend a YF&R meeting or activity as kind of a test drive to see if they want to formally join. Samuel said they have resurrected a program that provides a discount for the first year should people sign up for a Farm Bureau membership.

Newport’s goal is to get new members and younger members involved. “I think some of the members who are committee chairs will be aging out his year,” she said.

Norman said many potential new members hear about the group by word of mouth. He himself was encouraged to join by his older brother, Neil. Norman said he also reaches out to past scholarship recipients and invites them to check out YF&R.

Lorenzo, 34, credited current Vice Chair Alyssa Drake for inviting her to attend a YF&R function. Once she did, Lorenzo said she decided to join because of like-minded members and how active the group was with their mix of activities.