A long drought has reached its end for the Tuolumne County agricultural community.
Sasha Farkas, 33, of Sonora will be the county’s first California Farm Bureau Federation Board member in 39 years.
Otis Rosasco, the last Tuolumne County representative on the board, served from 1968 to 1971. The Jamestown-area rancher sat on the animal safety, taxation, freight rate and transportation committees during his three-year tenure.
Farkas is the first vice president of the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau and chairs the water committee, making him a frequent fixture at Tuolumne Utilities District meetings in recent years. He owns a land clearing business and works as a field manager at Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch.
Farkas views his new position as both a privilege and a responsibility.
“It is a great honor to be able to represent Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties on the CFBF board,” he said. “It’s amazing what these counties produce. In 2009, these counties farmed approximately 1 million acres of land and produced an estimated value of over $2.3 billion of ag products. I’m sure I will have guidance from the other directors and from the executive officers to get up to speed but I have a lot of weight on my shoulders to make sure these two counties are represented to the fullest. I am very fortunate to have the support of my family and also my boss going into this position on the board.”
Farkas attended Columbia College and Butte Junior College before transferring to California State University, Chico, and earning a degree in physical education in 2003. Agriculture runs deep in his family tree, as his grandfather worked on a dairy and his great-uncle was a dairyman who passed his business on to his children and grandchildren.
He and his wife, Charla, have two daughters, Cienna, 8, and Sahara, 3.
Directors are chosen by district in the CFBF. The bureau’s District 13, which comprises Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties, usually elects a director from the much larger — both in terms of population and agricultural production — Stanislaus County.
Rosasco, 89, recalls his years as a CFBF director fondly. He attended meetings in Phoenix and Portland, as well as throughout California, and relished the opportunities his directorship provided even after his term ended.
He said being a former director allowed him to serve on special committees and “fight a lot of the tough battles for the Farm Bureau over the Williamson Act” and be part of the livestock advisory committee to the University of California, Davis.
Farkas’ appointment is an important milestone for Tuolumne County, Rosasco said.
“I’m certainly glad,” he said. “I’m very pleased to hear that Tuolumne County has a director.”
CFBF President Paul Wenger congratulated the Mother Lode on its current slate of representatives at the annual dinner for the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau Saturday night.
Farkas joins Michael David Fischer, of Valley Springs, as a director. Fisher represents District 12 (Calaveras and San Joaquin counties).
“I think the foothills have got some pretty good representation on a very influential board,” Wenger said.