By Craig W. Anderson

San Joaquin Farm Bureau continued its tradition of earning awards when, at the 99th CFBF annual meeting in Garden Grove, it received the Innovator Award for creating 520 Gun Calendars which are being sold as a raffle fundraiser that gives away a gun each week.

The calendar is a very successful fundraiser and program and it provides an opportunity to contact prospective members.

“520 calendars were made which had to be sold for this to work,” said SJFB Executive Director Bruce Blodgett. “We have a lot of support for the calendar idea. The odds of winning are good as we have a drawing for a gun on a weekly basis.”

A $100 donation for a calendar qualifies for an entry covering all 52 weeks.

Blodgett said SJFB is an “innovative county organization and the members attending the CFBF Convention voted for us as the top program. The gun raffle is very innovative and CFBF delegates agreed with that.”

Ferrari praises SJFB staff

“Our staff and Bruce have done a great job with this innovative approach that’s required a great deal of work,” said SJFB President Jim Ferrari. “We’re the first county to do something like this and other county Farm Bureaus are now using it with our blessing.”

Means to raise funds created

With the advent of Obamacare causing a loss of state funds, grant money and a plethora of associate members, a means of creating an influx of funds – other than increasing membership dues – had to be found. Known for its innovation, San Joaquin Farm Bureau accepted the challenge and developed the very successful gun calendar raffle.

“We wanted to maintain community involvement in Farm Bureau and get funding without raising dues,” Ferrari said. “So far, the gun calendar’s been a good means of doing that.”

Other counties using idea

“It was exciting and heartening to realize that the delegates, our peers, voted us for the Innovator Award,” said David Strecker, SJFB first vice president. “Andrew [Watkins] and Bruce spearheaded this idea and it’s worked so well many other counties are using the gun calendar raffle idea.”

Strecker added, “No matter what we’re dealing with we must sometimes think outside the box. That’s what’s happened here. We have to stay on our toes, stay sharp and keep coming up with and developing programs that will benefit our members and Farm Bureau.”

Commenting about the Innovation Award, Strecker said, “The only thing harder than getting to the top, is staying there.”

This is another in long list of awards

SJFB seems well equipped to do just that as it has received County of the Year awards in years past, along with many other awards and SJFB was nominated for the Innovator Award last year as well.

“This is a collaborative effort of staff and a lot of volunteers selling calendars,” Blodgett said. “This is a unique program and our members have enjoyed it, too.”

Other county Farm Bureaus earning awards for work in service to members included Monterey, Tehama and San Diego.