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Open house introduces new ‘farmbudsman’ to local ag community

The new Yolo County “farmbudsman” will get to know local farmers and ranchers at the “Meet the Farmbudsman” open house from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 27, at Turkovich Winery, 30471 Buckeye Road in Winters. Light appetizers will be provided as well as wines from Turkovich Family Winery.

Michelle Stephens was recently hired to the farmbudsman position, funded by Yolo County, to help local farmers and ranchers navigate county permitting processes and assist with agricultural projects. This event will allow the local agriculture community to meet Stephens in a social environment and discuss ways she can help them with their projects.

“The farmbudsman position is an exciting step for Yolo County and I think this event will be a great kickoff for the work I will be doing,” Stephens said. “Agriculture has long been an important industry in Yolo County and it makes sense that the county supervisors want to help the farmers and ranchers. The permitting process can be arduous and the purpose of this position is to make that process a little easier.”

Stephens’ experiences growing up on a cattle ranch in the California foothills prompted her interest in economic development, with a specific emphasis on rural areas. She earned her bachelor’s degree at UC Davis and, after completing her master’s in community and regional planning at the University of Texas at Austin and working in Washington D.C., she moved back to California to work on improving the economic opportunities for rural and agricultural communities.

As the farmbudsman for Yolo and Solano counties, Stephens will act as a liaison between agricultural businesses in the two counties and the local governments with the goal of facilitating projects and helping to add value to agricultural endeavors.

All Yolo County farmers and ranchers are invited to attend, whether they have a project to discuss or not. Those with ideas will have the opportunity to fill out a project inquiry sheet, which Stephens will use to schedule one-on-one appointments with the business owner.

Space is limited; RSVP to Stephens at [email protected] by June 24 if you plan to attend.

Special to The Enterprise

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