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Farm Bureau History

“Farm Bureaus are a natural outgrowth of the desire of American farmers to do two things. First to unite together for mutual self-help and cooperation along any line that may be needed, and second, to get into close and intimate touch with those institutions of public enterprise and of the government which have accumulated the information necessary to make farm life more prosperous.”

B.H. Crocheron, UC Berkeley Circular No. 209, March 1919

The Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB) is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1917 to promote and protect agriculture.

Inspired by a desire among farmers nationwide to unite, first mention of a Farm Bureau organization appeared in 1910 in the state of New York. Local county Farm Bureaus were established in various areas of the country over the next few years, and the first statewide Farm Bureau organization was established in Missouri in 1915. On October 23, 1919, county Farm Bureaus in California followed Missouri's lead and formed the California Farm Bureau Federation. The following month, on November 12-13, 1919, the newly formed California Farm Bureau Federation joined with several other state organizations to form the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which set up the Agriculture Extension Service, stipulated that before a county could obtain farm advisor services, it had to form a general farm organization through which the Extension Service could disseminate information and promote better farming methods. In the fall of 1917, George Feaver, J.A. Poytress, Sam Heisinger, H.W. Wrightson and Charles Parlier were among a group of farmers that met with Leroy Smith, the first Extension Service farm advisor assigned to Fresno County, to lay the groundwork for a Fresno County Farm Bureau organization.

Fresno County Farm Bureau, like many other County Farm Bureau organizations, was originally set up in joint offices with the University of California Agriculture Extension Service. George Feaver, Jr. of Fowler, California, was elected FCFB's first president; membership fees were $1.

FCFB membership rose and fell in the pre-World War II days, dropping to 350 during the depression. The largest growth in membership occurred between 1945 and 1967 (FCFB's 50th anniversary) when it rose from 1,000 to 4,500 members. Today the Fresno County Farm Bureau represents more than 4,000 members.

In the early 1960s, Fresno County bumped Los Angeles County out of first place in total production value of agriculture commodities and held the No. 1 position for approximately 40 years.