Published: Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 1:14 p.m.
Sasaki named president of Farm Bureau
Tito Sasaki, a Sonoma Valley grape grower, scientist and businessman, has been elected president of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the county’s oldest and largest agricultural organization.
Sasaki, 74, has served as a Farm Bureau director for the last 10 years. He succeeds Joe Pozzi, a Valley Ford livestock rancher.
Other officers are John Azevedo, a vineyard manager at Kendall Jackson, first vice president; Steve Dutton of Dutton Ranches in Sebastopol, second vice president; and John Bidia, vineyard manager at Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville, treasurer.
Sasaki and his wife, Janet, own a 50-acre ranch near Schellville, producing grapes and pears. In addition to running Sasaki Vineyards, Sasaki is president of Quantum Mechanics Corp., a Sonoma company that develops equipment for high-energy physics and aerospace.
Farm Bureau, chamber team up to provide English classes
The Sonoma County Farm Bureau is partnering with the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce to provide English instruction for agricultural employees.
The nine-week WHEEL Program, which begins in January, is free. Classes will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Farm Bureau, 970 Piner Road in Santa Rosa.
Organizers said the program has improved work safety, productivity, attendance and morale while reducing job turnover. Employees have said it increased their job fulfillment, self-confidence, and home and community life.
Advanced registration is required due to limited availability. To register and obtain program dates, contact the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce at 707-545-1414 or email@example.com.
Dairy farmers fear price hikes if farm bill not adopted
The National Milk Producers Federation and other farm groups are pressing Congress to adopt a new farm bill before the end of the year.
If the farm legislation is left adrift, farmers could face the prospect of returning to an antiquated system for pricing milk that could bring big price increases for consumers.
The Agricultural Act of 1949 contains the basic provisions for setting milk prices. The act is superseded every time a new farm bill is passed, but the old act goes back into effect if no new bill or extension is passed.
The old law includes a mechanism for guaranteeing a minimum milk price that covers producers’ costs. The government guarantees to buy their milk products at that price, but producers can usually do better selling on the consumer market. But if the old mechanism were applied to current market conditions, the government price could be double the current rate, industry officials say.
Farmers would likely sell their dairy products to the government instead of the private market and store prices would surge, industry officials say. Then prices might collapse as the government eventually sold its dairy stockpiles.
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