It's a time of reflection as United Agribusiness League celebrates its Silver Anniversary. A vision 25 years ago to unite local farmers has cultivated an expansive membership of farmers, ranchers, packers, and growers on both sides of the border.
In 1980, local farms in rural Orange and Riverside counties were small family-owned businesses. Operating independently, they had no collective purchasing power or influential voice in public affairs. The founders of UAL believed that by uniting these small farmers into a single organization, a larger presence would be formed, and a significant impact would be made toward agriculture's future growth and sustainability. The initial group consisted of 6 members, most of whom were dairy farmers.
Since 1980, United Agribusiness League has grown from its original 6 members to more than 1,100 agricultural employers and over 25 agricultural trade associations. A symbiotic relationship exists between UAL and its members and the advantage is undeniable.
Town hall meetings, annual meetings, and conferences provide invaluable open discussion forums. UAL and its members network, educate, and brainstorm on issues critical to their businesses. With a united voice, legislation can be positively steered to protect our environment, water resources, wild habitat, and air quality. As an educational resource, members can improve efficiencies to remain competitive, viable businesses.
Success builds growth
Success, determined by our growing membership and long-term member retention, continues to challenge United Agribusiness League to enrich its benefits and extend its unified voice. Together, we:
Steer legislation at both the state and federal levels on issues critical to California agriculture.
Since 1984, UAL representatives have positioned themselves in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento to authoritatively speak to the issues and challenges vital to California's agricultural industry. Together we have promoted the advancement of biotechnology, supported measures to implement school nutrition programs, and helped to defeat mandated state controlled healthcare.
Deliver affordable, flexible healthcare coverage focused on the unique needs of agribusiness.
A consistent and continuing problem for agricultural employers, both then and now, is the issue of obtaining health insurance, both for themselves, families, and for the workers they need to hire. In 1983, UAL leaders embraced the issue by structuring United Agricultural Benefit Trust, a healthcare association plan providing services exclusively to the agricultural industry. Protecting the health of agriculture begins with protecting those employed by agriculture.
Provide financial solutions through a statewide agricultural credit union and risk management protection against agricultural loss exposures.
The financial well being of agricultural businesses and their employees is essential to the economy of California. Agriculture supports 1.1 million jobs in our state, and contributes nearly $59 billion to the state's economy each year. UAL members have access to a wide array of services to protect their financial security.
Invest in our future providing scholarship monies to students of agriculture.
California agriculture is a renewable economic resource, creating income, creating jobs. Investing in the future of agriculture is the vision of UAL's scholarship program. Since 1989, annual scholarships have made it possible for students of agriculture to pursue their careers and their dreams to become the next generation to feed the world.
Educate buyers worldwide on the quality of California agriculture.
Educational conferences on international trade are strategies important to our state's export business. Currently, the state's agricultural industry sells an average of $18.2 million in farm exports daily to the world. If California were a country, it would be the sixth leading exporter of agricultural products in the world.
The road ahead
The vision, knowledge, and experience gleaned from our 25-year history strengthen our future. The challenges to come will be met with integrity and a commitment to the long-term viability of our industry. Together, as a united voice, United Agribusiness League will continue to influence the future of agriculture.