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Operations manager retires after 41+ years at Ag Alert

Issue Date: May 26, 2021
By Christine Souza
Margaret Rodriguez

In more than 41 years with the California Farm Bureau, Ag Alert® operations/production manager Margaret Rodriguez worked for seven Farm Bureau presidents, four administrators, alongside hundreds of employees and with thousands of Farm Bureau members. Rodriguez retired last week to begin her next chapter, which includes volunteering at Sacramento fine-arts venues, traveling to New York City to see Broadway shows, and otherwise enjoying retirement.

Rodriguez said her proudest accomplishment is that "Ag Alert never skipped a beat and has gone out every week" while becoming and remaining "the most respected agricultural publication in California."

As operations/production manager, Rodriguez coordinated production and advertising for Farm Bureau publications, including Ag Alert and the bimonthly magazine for associate members, California Bountiful®. She tracked advertising insertion orders and rates, ad materials and page layout; she also coordinated printing of Ag Alert and the mailing/postage for both publications. As the classified advertising manager, she interacted frequently with Farm Bureau members.

"Over the years, Ag Alert has never lost its integrity and its value to the members," Rodriguez said. "What people like about Ag Alert is they know the information they are getting is true. It is what farmers want to know and need to know, so that they can survive in agriculture."

Farm Bureau Director of Publications and Media Relations Dave Kranz said Ag Alert and California Bountiful have been successful thanks to Rodriguez's behind-the-scenes contributions.

"The hard work the writers, editors, photographers and designers put into completing their stories and layouts would all be for nothing if the publications couldn't be printed and distributed, and Margaret made sure those steps happened smoothly every week," Kranz said. "Her institutional knowledge within Farm Bureau and within the printing and advertising worlds leaves a legacy that will assure our publications will continue to reach readers with timely content however they receive it, in print or online."

A native of Castroville, Rodriguez grew up on a cattle ranch; her brothers were cowboys and her maternal great-grandfather was a prominent Monterey County cattle rancher. The first in her family to graduate from college, she earned a bachelor's degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

She moved to Sacramento in September 1979, and was hired by the late Farm Bureau Information Services Manager Clark Biggs. Rodriguez described Biggs and the late advertising manager Jim Taylor as mentors: "They taught me everything I needed to know about business and advertising."

Early in her Farm Bureau career, she said, the organization provided vans for Sacramento-area employees to commute to the organization's Berkeley offices; originally based in Berkeley, the California Farm Bureau moved to Sacramento later in 1979.

Jack King, who served as assistant manager to Biggs and later as California Farm Bureau national affairs manager, said Rodriguez's dedication "had a lot to do with the growth and success of Ag Alert."

"From day one, Margaret was dedicated to serving Farm Bureau members and the farm community," King said. "She did it with enthusiasm and her celebrated brand of straight talk, which endeared her to those she did business with. That straight talk also kept her colleagues, myself included, from taking themselves too seriously."

Former California Farm Bureau Administrator George Gomes described Rodriguez as "totally committed to California agriculture and to Farm Bureau. She has done things to the benefit of California agriculture that many of us will never know."

"I worked with such great teammates, past and present, on Ag Alert and California Bountiful magazine for the last 41½ years. It's been an honor to work at Farm Bureau," Rodriguez said.

(Christine Souza is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

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