President’s Message – November 2014

I stopped by and visited with Dino Petrucci recently.  At 84 years of age, Dino was out supervising pomegranate harvest in his pickup, with his beautiful wife Peggy sitting by his side. 

Despite advancing years and health challenges, Dino still has dirt under his fingernails: Once a farmer, always a farmer!  Dino’s love of his land and his concern for agriculture in general drives him to preserve not only his own heritage but also the future of local farming.

Dino has been a director on the Board of the Madera County Farm Bureau for almost two decades now and has been a strong supporter of the organization his whole life.   According to this octogenarian farmer, “I believe in the Farm Bureau because everyone on that Board is directly involved in farming and wants the best for not only their own purposes but the agricultural community overall.”

That sentiment is exactly what the Madera County Farm Bureau is all about—twenty volunteer Board members overseeing a paid staff of two while donating countless hours of their valuable time to serve and protect the Madera County agricultural industry.  To witness their dedication to this mandate, one should sit in on any of the many Farm Bureau assemblies held during harvest; Directors show up in the meeting rooms fresh from the fields with clouds of dust floating off their clothes, putting aside personal responsibilities for hours upon hours while addressing the major concerns of the day for the benefit of all farmers in our area. 

Current challenges facing the Madera Farm Bureau are both different and the same compared to when Dino started on the Board.  Back then, road maintenance and golf course development were up on the agenda—two items that I haven’t heard discussed since elected to the Board six years ago.  But Dino also says “hopscotch development, property rights, and membership” were on the forefront of worries in the 1990’s and they are still major concerns now.   As for newer battles being fought by the MCFB that didn’t exist back then, Dino says that both the dramatic impacts of the current drought and the high-speed rail project are critically important to farming in our local area.  Dino added that there is no better organization to represent our farming community because MCFB  “always has and always will be a voice for agriculture” in our community.  As an additional bonus, Dino is very proud of the many scholarships funded by the Farm Bureau over the years that help provide an education to the future leaders of our agricultural industry.

A lot has changed since a young Dino Petrucci was born into an Italian immigrant family led by his father Vincenzo.  Fig trees that used to line Howard Road all the way to the railroad spur in town have been replaced by businesses and homes.  But the draw of the land, the wonder of making things grow, and the satisfaction of harvest still makes Dino want to get up in the morning, hold Peggy’s hand while she takes her seat in the pickup, and go off to see what’s happening on the farm.

The Madera County Farm Bureau is made up of good stewards of the land like Dino Petrucci who are striving to promote and protect our agricultural livelihood.  We appreciate your support and urge all those who benefit from any facet of agriculture in Madera County to join or renew their membership today.

See Ya,

Al Sheeter