A Tulelake farmer is among nine California-based agriculture producers who on Monday graduated from California’s 2019 Leadership Farm Bureau program.
Cody Dodson, 29, is part of the 20th class to graduate since the program began in 2000. He farms alfalfa with his step-dad and uncle and also operates a custom hay operation in Tulelake.
Dodson spent time this year lobbying for agriculture on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., as well as the state capitol in Sacramento during the intensive nine-month program. He also traveled to Washington state, and agricultural areas in California as part of the 250-hour program.
“Just a lot of opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Dodson said.
Dodson, who is also a nephew of Klamath Falls City Councilman Matt Dodson, spoke to the Herald and News in a phone interview from Monterey, California on Monday afternoon where he graduated from the program during the 101st California Farm Bureau meeting.
“I feel like by taking this class, hopefully I can be a better leader and advocate for agriculture in our Basin,” Dodson said.
“It’s not an easy career path, but I think it’s very important and I feel like we need people training and the knowledge to help advocate and keep it going,” he added.
“I’m going to do the best I can to share what I’ve learned and help the future generations be able to farm in the Klamath Basin.”
The program is funded by California Farm Bureau, of which Dodson has served as a board of director for about four years.
Dodson is also a member of the Tulelake Volunteer Fire Department.
He was born and raised in Klamath Falls until moving to Tulelake when he was in high school.
He is a 2008 Tulelake High School graduate and studied agribusiness at Klamath Community College.
“I really love it there,” Dodson said of Tulelake, “and I’m grateful that we moved to a place where we could find agriculture.”
Dodson didn’t initially grow up around agriculture but took to it naturally.
He said now that he has had this opportunity, he feels blessed to be able to raise his 3-year-old son, and a son on the way, on his and his wife’s farm.
“You know how you were kind of destined to do something and then it kind of just showed up?” Dodson said. “I kind of feel like for some reason the cards fell in the right place and I was supposed to do this.”
Applications for the 2020 class are open through Friday, Dec. 20. For more information and to apply, go online at www.cfbf.com/leadership-farm-bureau.