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Read about childhood friends who bake fresh pies, a chef with whimsical flair, artful food presentations, a broccoli farmer whose sister opened a restaurant and more!

Legislative News


Grapevine Red Blotch-associated Virus Assistance Available in 18 California Counties

The California State FSA Committee has approved Grapevine Red Blotch-associated Virus (GRBaV), commonly referred to as "Red Blotch," as a Tree Assistance Program (TAP)-eligible condition in select counties in California

In a nutshell:

  1. Vines should not be removed before inspection by an FSA employee
    • If vines have been removed, you may still apply; however, you should contact your FSA office immediately
  2. The producer must submit specimens to a commercial lab (e.g. UC Davis) to substantiate the presence of red blotch
  3. 500 acres is the annual amount on which a producer may receive assistance
  4. The first 15% of loss is not covered
  5. Maximum payment rates for cost share (not to exceed):
    • $4/vine replacement
    • $2/vine planting
    • $500/ac site preparation

Please contact Bonita Nogales at (707) 448-0106 x 102 to apply for the 2016 TAP and schedule a field visit to inspect the affected stands.

DWR Awards $6.7 Million in Grants to Launch Sustainable Groundwater Management Planning Efforts

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced it is awarding 21 counties a total of $6.7 million in grants to help with sustainable groundwater planning. The Proposition 1 Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Program provides funding for county projects that will develop groundwater plans consistent with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) enacted by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in 2014. The awards were made to counties with high and medium priority groundwater basins, some of which are in critical over-draft.

DWR received 23 grant applications requesting a total of approximately $7 million. Adding the matching funds provided by the grant award recipients, approximately $13 million will be dedicated to projects in counties that need to begin long-term planning for sustainable groundwater management. According to Laura McLean, Senior Engineering Geologist with the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Program, DWR gave priority to proposals that will benefit disadvantaged communities, address critically over-drafted basins, address basins exhibiting stressed conditions, and proposals to enact ordinances to address groundwater sustainability.

"This funding will help counties address long-term planning goals, better understand what's coming in and going out of their aquifers, and get the much- needed jumpstart on addressing the new regulations," says McLean. "More funding will certainly become available to help groundwater sustainability agencies moving forward. We aim to complement the timeline requirements of the law as we continue to streamline our grant processes to get the money out as quickly as possible."

Colusa County is among the 21 counties across California receiving funding and plans to use the funding to advance groundwater sustainability through policy and technical refinement. Mendocino County plans to use the funds for the initial groundwater sustainability plan development, and Kings County's proposal will include developing a groundwater model for its critically over-drafted groundwater basin.

The funding provides the means for local communities to create long-term sustainable groundwater management plans for California's groundwater basins. On average, groundwater makes up over one-third of California's water supply and over one-half of the supply during drought years. When groundwater basins are critically over-drafted, chronically lowered groundwater levels, seawater intrusion, and land subsidence can result. The SGMA requires basins in conditions of critical overdraft to be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan two years prior to other high- and medium-priority basins, stressing the need for funding to implement sustainability plans and take steps to rehabilitate basins as soon as possible.

DWR announced draft funding recommendations in January and considered public comments on the proposals. DWR staff is working with grantees on detailed work plans for their respective projects including efforts to develop groundwater ordinances and develop plans that protect basins, their beneficial uses, and facilitate basin-wide sustainability. Over next several months DWR will continue to work with counties regarding budgets and schedules for the funds, which counties can expect to receive as soon as June 2016.

For more detailed information from the Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Program and a map identifying the allocated awards please visit





WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2016) -- Yesterday, in a renewed call for Congress to pass drought legislation this year, over 100 Western water user organizations, commodity groups and state Farm Bureaus sent a letter to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell urging bipartisan cooperation to produce compromise legislation that can be signed into law before President Obama leaves office.

Following up on a letter sent by nearly all of the same signatories in October 2015, the letter encourages the Committee to push the effort to find a legislative solution to the immediate- and long-term impacts of the drought across the finish line.

"Too much progress has already been made to let the Committee's hard work go to waste," stated Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif. "The people and the environment in the Western states cannot continue to suffer because of congressional inaction."

"The time to act is now," said California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger. "Although several Western states, including California, are currently experiencing welcomed precipitation due to El Niño, we are not under the false illusion that the drought has ended. Every effort must be made to capture the benefits of the recent storms while ensuring our collective resiliency in the face of future droughts."

The letter calls on Congress to provide federal agencies with more flexibility and encourages a collaborative approach toward achieving multiple goals.

According to Family Farm Alliance president Pat O'Toole, "Any approach to Western water legislation must encourage cooperation and innovation if we are going to see real, positive and lasting results for people, agriculture and the environment."

Among the recommendations included in the letter are the promotion of new technology in water and species management, real-time monitoring and data collection to more closely align water supply operations and environmental needs, and new funding and financing tools to encourage investments in water infrastructure capable of meeting current and future demands.

The letter goes on to say that streamlining the federal permitting process and better aligning the regulatory agencies will help increase new water storage and improve water management.

Currently, several bills are under consideration in the Senate Committee, including a West-wide bill already passed by the House of Representatives. All that remains is for the Senate to act.

Recognizing the political challenges in an election year, the letter calls on the Committee to help "ensure that Western water users have every tool available to survive and recover from the current drought and to prepare for the hard, dry years that the future may hold."

About the California Farm Bureau Federation
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 53,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.

About the Family Farm Alliance
The Family Farm Alliance is a non-profit, grassroots organization that advocates for family farmers, ranchers, irrigation districts, and allied industries in seventeen Western states. The Alliance is focused on one mission - To ensure the availability of reliable, affordable irrigation water supplies to Western farmers and ranchers.

About Western Growers
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California and Colorado. Our members and their workers provide half the nation's fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America's fresh organic produce. For generations we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.

SB88 Regulation for Measuring & Reporting Water Diversion

SB88 is the emergency rule that adds more measuring and reporting requirements for those who divert water. For more information, visit

Basin Boundary Updates

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is required to adopt emergency regulations, including the process, methodology, and criteria for evaluating the development and implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs), alternatives, and coordination agreements by June 1, 2016. DWR is currently developing the Final Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) Emergency Regulations, giving consideration to the public comments submitted during the public comment period and the feedback offered at the California Water Commission meetings. The public comment period ended April 1, 2016, and the comments are available for viewing at the Sustainable Groundwater Management website. The Presentation of Final GSP Regulations to California Water Commission for consideration is May 18, 2016.

Vacation Rental Ordinance

Vacation Rental Ordinance Being Developed

The San Luis Obispo County Department of Planning and Building is developing an ordinance to govern residential vacation rentals in the inland areas, with a goal of addressing negative impacts. Planning staff met with the Farm Bureau Legislative Committee on Febrary 11 to go over the draft ordinance; read the ordinance here. Farm Bureau wants to hear your thoughts; email us at

Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Update & Request for Input

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted February 9 to pursue a permanent ordinance governing the cultivation of marijuana for medical use. While the current discussion revolves around medical marijuana, an initiative that would legalize all uses of marijuana is expected to be on the November ballot.

Farm Bureau would like members' thoughts about cultivation in our area, how illegal cultivation may have affected you and your property and what you think can and should be done in regard to cultivation for medical and recreational marijuana. Email us at

Asian Citrus Psyllid

Asian Citrus Psyllids (ACP) Trigger Quarantine
SLO Ag Dept. pest detection trappers and insect trappers for CA Dept. of Food & Agriculture have found ACPs in traps in both Arroyo Grande and Nipomo. Read more here. Check the SLO Ag Dept. website for updates and quarantine areas. Videos on the two website links below tell you more about the problem and how to identify this destructive pest.
1) California Department of Food and Agriculture videos
2) Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program

Stormwater permitSWRCB Industrial Stormwater Permit for Wineries and Others
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) requires a new Industrial Stormwater General Permit (IGP) that regulates stormwater runoff from certain industrial facilities, including wineries. Read details here.

USDA programUSDA Offers Help to Fire-and Drought-Affected Farmers & Ranchers
Those who lost livestock, grazing land and ag-related property as a result of a natural disaster, such as fire and drought, can apply for assistance. Read details here.

seedlingBoard of Supervisors
Click here for a copy of the current Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda.

To print out a copy of the "Board Appearance Request Form," click here.

Take Action!

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Membership Benefits

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Ag Equipment Discounts
Farm Bureau members can save $300-$500 on Case-IH equipment, including Farmall Compact tractors, large square balers, round balers, self-propelled windrowers, disk mower conditioners and more.
There is no limit to the number of discounts a member may use, as long as it's no more than one per unit acquired. Read the details here.

Receive a Bigger Discount
Nationwide is the leading farm and ranch insurer in California, offering plans for farms and ranches of all sizes. Agricultural members receive up to a 15% discount on auto insurance and up to a 5% discount on farm insurance to a maximum of $500 per year. Contact your local Nationwide agent or an affiliated independent agent for more details by visiting or call 1-877-OnYourSide.

State Fund logo

State Fund offers a discount and special programs to Farm Bureau members.


Farm & Ranch Signs for Sale

HazMat signFarm Bureau offers low-cost, durable signs needed for agricultural operations. For a sample of available signs, Click here.


"No Trespassing Sign" Now Comes in Two Sizes & Two Versions
No Trespass sign
A new 24x 16-inch metal No Trespass sign in English and Spanish with the penal code number listed sells for $13 (members) & $13.50 (non-members). Orders for this sign must be pre-paid.
No Trespass signA 16x13-inch metal No Trespassing sign in English and Spanish without the penal code number sells for $8 (members) & $8.50 (non-members).

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On the Calendar 


Agriculturalist of the Year Nominations

The Agriculturalist of the Year is a San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau member who has worked for the betterment of agriculture as a whole; someone who has dedicated themselves to outstanding service and devotion to the fields of agriculture, is highly regarded by their peers and exemplifies qualities that deserve recognition.

Job Alert
The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau is increasing its ability to focus on its governmental affairs work in order to respond to the many and varied issues that affect its members. To do so, it will be hiring an additional fulltime staff person. Joy Fitzhugh, the longtime Legislative Analyst II, works on Tuesday and Thursday.

Legislative Analyst I
The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau is accepting applications for a Legislative Analyst I to join our team. The professional level position will offer advancement, benefits and an interesting day-to-day workload for the successful applicant who is seeking a meaningful career in agricultural advocacy. The employee workload will address matters of significance to local agriculturalists in order for the industry to understand how it will be impacted by new and existing laws, programs, projects and trending issues. The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, in its nearly 100-year history of representing farmers, ranchers, vintners and agriculture-related businesses, has a proven track record of advocacy. 

The Legislative Analyst I must have in-depth understanding of regulations and how legislative processes work, the ability to establish working relationships with stakeholders and accurately keep track of legislation and regulations – on federal, state and local levels. The employee will create data-based, factual reports on short-term and long-term implications to be presented to assigned Committees, Executive Officers, the Board of Directors and the Executive Director for use in the decision-making processes within the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau organization.

Qualified applicants should be proficient in policy analysis, have 3 to 5 years of experience and/or background within agriculture, government, or government affairs. Applicants should have an educational background that translates well into agricultural policy.  The Legislative Analyst I will work in an office environment, but some travel and occasionally irregular or evening hours are required to participate in meetings, presentations and workshops. In order to be successful in this job category, the person must have strong organizational and time management skills, be team-oriented, enjoy research, have an attention to detail – plus the ability to prioritize projects and information in order to produce clear, concise work on a deadline.  The nature of the work requires an effective communicator who will work alongside the longtime Legislative Analyst II, agricultural entities and partners, the California Farm Bureau Federation staff and interact with government agencies and the membership.

The Legislative Analyst will collaborate with existing staff on projects that will require workshops and meetings to be planned, scheduled and conducted. Proficiency in Word and other software programs is required. The ability to lift 40 pounds is necessary.

Please submit a resume and cover letter to President Dan Sutton at the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau. Email submissions will be accepted but phone calls will not be accepted. Examples of the applicant’s qualifications, including research papers, published articles and other items may be submitted.  The most qualified candidates will be invited to personal interviews and out of that select group, references will be requested.

Index Fresh hires Evangelina Kaudze as Food Safety & Compliance Manager

Riverside, CA - Index Fresh, an industry leader in the packing and marketing of avocados, is pleased to welcome Evangelina Kaudze to the team as Food Safety and Compliance Manager. In her new role, Evangelina is responsible for developing and updating policies and procedures for food safety, and ensuring that every company with which Index Fresh partners meets Index Fresh's social responsibility standards.

The Riverside native joins Index Fresh with almost a decade of produce experience. Over the course of her career she has worked in multiple areas, from export sales to production. As soon as she began working in food safety and compliance, however, she knew that she had found her passion.

Having a strong understanding of all aspects of the business gives Evangelina a unique insight into the industry, and makes building relationships among clients and colleagues that much easier

Index Fresh Director of Production Luis Avila is excited to have Evangelina on board. "Her 10 years of food safety experience will be a huge asset to Index Fresh, our growers and packers," said Luis. "She has helped growers achieve food safety certifications as well as improve the food safety standards in the packing houses she has worked in."

Evangelina is equally excited to join the team. "The commitment to food safety that Index Fresh has demonstrated is astounding. The support and resources I have available will make for a successful journey," said Evangelina, who was drawn to Index Fresh by their strong commitment to food safety.

Seeing Index Fresh's already-high standards as an excellent foundation, Evangelina looks forward to raising the company's profile as a leader in food safety. "I want Index Fresh to be as well known for doing as much for food safety in the industry as we are known for what we do for growers."

Buckingham Family honored for conservation efforts

March 22, 2016

Jeff Buckingham and the Buckingham Family were presented with the Conservationist of the Year Award from the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District (RCD) for making outstanding conservation related improvements to the family’s ranching operation. The presentation took place Tuesday, March 22nd, at the Board of Supervisors’ chambers. The Supervisors also awarded the Buckingham Family with a Certificate of Recognition.
The Buckingham family owns a 540 acre cattle ranch near Los Osos and is always looking for ways to improve the rangeland. Due to the drought, Central Coast ranchers struggle with both substantially reduced forage production and reduced drinking water availability for livestock. With assistance from RCD, NRCS, Cal Poly and UC Cooperative Extension, a number of projects and practices aimed to capture moisture and increase forage production are taking place at their ranch. These projects include applying compost to improve the soil, use of a keyline plow to open the soil for percolation, rotational grazing and enhancing the ranch’s creeks.

“I really appreciate Jeff and Joan’s openness to new information and new ways of doing things,” said RCD Conservation Programs Manager Nicole Smith. “We started working with them to install riparian pasture fencing, and they were interested in doing more. We are now helping them to improve the soils for grazing, reduce creek bank erosion and restore riparian vegetation. I expect them to continue to adapt and improve their land management far into the future.”

“We are learning a lot as we work with the RCD and partners to improve our forage production and make the range more drought resistant” said Jeff Buckingham. “We are already seeing dramatic improvements in the test areas and look forward to expanding the new practices to the entire ranch.”
The Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District works with growers, ranchers, municipalities and other land users to conserve and improve agricultural soil, water quality and wildlife habitat through direct technical and funding assistance. Resource Conservation Districts are non-regulatory agencies.

Phone: 805/772-4391

Recreational Terrain Vehicle (RTV) Accidents Pose Serious Risk for Children

Recreational Terrain Vehicles (RTVs) are frequently used on farms and ranches to haul feed, equipment and people. RTVs are also used for fun by both children and adults. Unfortunately, kids are often the victims of RTV and ATV accidents.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 83,700 ATV-related, emergency department-treated injuries in the United States in 2014. An estimated 26 percent of these involved children younger than 16 years of age.

Don't think this can happen to you or members of your family? Consider the following accident that was reported as a claim a few years ago:

A farmer's 14-year-old son got permission from his dad to use the farm's RTV to transport two 14-year-old friends and camera equipment to a field to film a documentary for a school project. The young men were properly seat-belted when they left.

Instead of coming straight home following filming, the young men rode to a public graavel parking lot to horseplay and do donuts. While the farmer's son was driving, the RTV tipped over -- trapping the passengers' legs under the unit.

Personal Injury
Both passengers suffered serious injury. One passenger sustained a degloving leg injury -- resulting in extensive nerve and muscle damage. The second passenger sustained a fractured arm, multiple leg breaks and a degloving leg injury. Due to the severity of the injuries, both passengers will require treatment throughout their lives.

Personal Responsibility
Police came to the scene of the accident and interviewed several witnesses who reported seeing the driver operating the unit in a reckless manner. As a result, the farmer's son received several tickets, including reckless driving, operating a motor vehicle without a license and parental permission to operate a motor vehicle without a license.

Financial Consequences
All of the families were friends, but due to the severity of the injuries both sets of parents immediately sought legal counsel. The farmer had a farm policy with a $1 million limit and an umbrella policy with $1,000,000 limit. The full limits of both policies were paid to resolve this claim.

Accident Prevention
Parents should determine each family member's readiness to operate an RTV or ATV based on physical size, coordination, balance, ability to judge distances, willingness to follow rules and peripheral vision. Visitors to your farm should never be allowed to ride or operate your RTV or ATV.

Careful operation is your best protection against an accident. All operators should read and understand the vehicle operator's manual and other related manuals before operating the vehicle or any implement attached to it. It is the owner's obligation to instruct all operators in safe operation.

Cultivate California -- #CAonMyPlate
A new program, Cultivate California, aims to remind consumers that CA farmers, ranchers and ag-related businesses are the leaders in producing fresh, high-quality food. Read more here.


The Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District (CSLRCD) is offering Irrigation Evaluations for agriculturalists farming within the boundaries of the District. These evaluations will determine the Distribution Uniformity (D.U.) of your irrigation system and provide recommendations for improvement. Evaluations are free of charge through June 2016 while funding is available. Funds are limited.p

Please feel free to contact the CSLRCD for more information or to schedule your Irrigation Evaluation today. Si hable Español.

Impact of Wild Birds on Farms Project

Do you have wild birds roaming your property? Are you curious how they impact your operation? An agroecologist working with a team out of Washington State University is looking into the costs and benefits of wild birds on farms across the Western USA. The major aim of the project is to provide materials that will allow growers to easily identify beneficial and problematic birds, as well as farm characteristics that encourage these birds. If you are interested in being a part of the project, or just want more information, contact Amanda Edworthy at

SLO Farm Bureau

4875 Morabito PlaceFarm Bureau Office Location --

4875 Morabito Place, San Luis Obispo 93401
Phone: (805) 543-3654
Fax: (805) 543-3697
(numbers remain the same)

View and print a map to the new San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau location here.


Membership Benefits

Membership Benefits

Farm Bureau 2016 Benefits Brochure
You'll find lots of companies here that offer benefits because you are a Farm Bureau member! Look for discounts on insurance, health & wellness, ag equipment, fuel, vehicles & vehicle rentals, home improvement, theme parks, travel and more!

Membership News

Join SLO County Farm Bureau
joinIt's easy to join San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau and receive the benefits of membership. Read how your membership keeps you informed on local and state ag issues. Join online today! Click here.

How to Become a Business Member
For a Business Membership application, please click here. For questions, call the SLO County Farm Bureau, (805) 543-3654.

Renew Your SLO County Farm Bureau Membership
Renew LogoRenew your membership online today! Click here.


Welcome New & Returning SLO County Farm Bureau Members!handshake

Agriculture Members -- Kris Koolman, Phil Shepard

Associate Members --

Business Members -- Industrial Medical Group of Santa Maria Valley.

Collegiate Members -- Bella Skinner.

Collegiate Membership Offered CFBF invites students between 16 and 24, enrolled in a post-high school education program such as community college, four-year university or trade school, to join Farm Bureau for $25 a year. Gift memberships are available. Learn more.

Coming Events

2016 Great AGventure South and North -- Save the Dates to Volunteer! Great AGventure

Great AGventure South -- Friday, May 13, Arroyo Grande High School. Great AGventure North -- Wednesday, October 19, Paso Robles Event Center. Fourth-grade children from throughout SLO County learn about agriculture in fun, interactive ways. Many opportunities for Farm Bureau members to help educate the next generation range from presenting a session in your area of expertise to guiding kids around the venue to their next presentation. Contact Dana Lundy, Ag Education Committee Coordinator, for details at (805) 543-7356 or

Cattlemen and Farmer's Day at Mid State Fair-- Thursday, July 21, Paso Robles Event Center. Mark your calendar to join us there!


CFBF Website Update

Some may have noticed a change at CFBF. They have recently updated their website, which means new links. If any of you have links on a website to their page, some of those links may not work anymore. If that is the case, go to the CFBF website to find the current links.

SLO Co. Ag Department

2015 Crop Report2015 County Crop Report --

Strawberries topped the 2015 production list once again, followed by wine grapes. For details on all of the county's crops, download a pdf of the crop report here.

2015 Freddy of the Year

Congratulations Neil Olsen!Neil Olsen 2015

Neil Olsen, who has been an active Farm Bureau member since 1960, is a Past President and also the father of Past President Bernard Olsen. During his acceptance of the Freddy, he said "Farm Bureau is a great organization that works hard for all of us in many ways, not only with government but also educating the public that we are the most important industry on earth."

2015 Ag of the Year

Congratulations, Jim Brabeck Jim Brabeck 2015

At Cattlemen and Farmers' Day during July's Mid-State Fair, community and business leader Jim Brabeck was honored for his service to agriculture and the community. Read more.

2015 CattleWoman of the Year -- Lorraine Cagliero
Lorraine Cagliero Cagliero has taken a family heritage with deep roots in the area and grown a legacy for generations to come in addition to her enthusiastic support of young people and community organizations. Read more.

2015 Cattleman of the Year -- Chuck Pritchard
Chuck Pritchard Pritchard, a fourth-generation county rancher/ cattleman, has worked tirelessly on agriculture issues and served with distinction for numerous organizations. Read more.

2016 Scholarship Apps

Deadlines in March and April for 2016 Scholarship Applications 2016 Scholarships

Farm Bureau Women, SLO CattleWomen, California Farm Bureau, California State Fair, Central Coast Greenhouse Growers Association and San Luis Obispo County Foundation for Agricultural Awareness all have scholarships for college attendees. Find the details here.

Farm Safety & Workers

Take Extra Care When Working Around A Tractor
State Fund logoThe tractor is easily recognized as a farmer's most important tool, but it is also the most dangerous, accounting for one-quarter of all agriculturally related deaths in the U.S. each year. Read these important safety tips.

Reduce Your Wildfire Risk: Create Defensible Space
Nationwide logoAs many as 90 percent of wildfires are caused by humans! Safeguard your home from wildfires by firescaping your property. Learn how here.

Tractor Operator Safe Work Practices
FELS logo Most workplace injuries involving equipment can be avoided with proper training and operating. Click here for a PDF your employees can read and sign regarding safe tractor operating practices.

Farm Team

Farm Team


California Farm Bureau Federation encourages Farm Bureau voting members to stay engaged in the political process, even in a non-election year. Read more.

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