By David Strecker, SJFB President
As we enter the month of June, that means it is livestock show time! Unfortunately, the exhibitors for San Joaquin AgFest will have a far different experience than the generations before them. The AgFest board has worked diligently to create an online show and sale. Although several kids had to terminate their projects due to the hardships they experienced, there is still several hundred exhibitors that need buyers.
San Joaquin Farm Bureau is once again going to be very active in the auction of the animals. Instead of providing lunch for all the buyers on sale day, we are rolling over the money to the actual purchase of animals.
Each year the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers ask the SJFB Board of Directors to match their budget for the purchase of animals. This year, YF&R has doubled the money that they normally budget. They did this despite having to cancel their major fundraiser due to the Coronavirus. The San Joaquin Farm Bureau Board of Directors has matched YF&R, doubling are normal donation.
You, too, can participate in the purchase of an animal. Please visit the AgFest website at, WWW.SANJOAQUINAGFEST.ORG, and register as a buyer. The auction will take place June 12 through June 13.
One thing that became very apparent during the shutdown was the need to continue operating out of the SJFB office. We are always hosting different trainings and hold meetings in the board room. In todays, modern world, it became very apparent we needed an updated website and a more technology friendly board room. Bruce Blodgett immediately found several grants that would allow us to make the necessary upgrades at very little cost to our budget. Thank you, Bruce!
Please stay tuned as we will be unveiling our new website soon with many helpful tools available to you. It might be that much easier for you to run your operation if we are able to offer online trainings and keep your employees onsite!
Healthcare is back! When the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was implemented, a wonderful benefit to the Farm Bureau members was lost. Not only did it hurt our membership, it put many families in a difficult situation and took money out of their pockets. Obamacare was anything but affordable. When this epidemic started, it was clearly obvious that families were going to hurt financially and in some cases lose their jobs and thus healthcare.
Bruce and I quickly began looking to see if offering healthcare as a membership benefit would be possible. It is, and we can now offer multiple different policies for you to choose from. Look for an article in this paper and please be patient as we release additional information for your new San Joaquin Farm Bureau Benefit. Kudos to Bruce on making this happen. This is a game changer and will help the San Joaquin Farm Bureau and offer you and your family a healthy future.
Although San Joaquin County has reached Phase 2 of reopening, per the State of California guidelines, we are unable to have an annual meeting in the traditional sense. Your SJFB staff is working to see what it can do to meet the social distancing guidelines and still have an event. As soon as we receive authorization and can determine how and when we can have an event, we will be forwarding that information to you.
In the meantime, San Joaquin Farm Bureau continues to be available to you. The Executive Board has been using Zoom Conference videos and calls to conduct business.
As always, government is still making our livelihood difficult. The State of California is facing a major deficit. Regulation appears to be as prevalent as always, however, the funding to assist farmers and ranchers in implementing new criteria is gone.
As I stated in my previous articles, the San Joaquin Farm Bureau is more important than ever. Taxing and regulating agriculture into bankruptcy is not going to cut it. We will be facing a huge challenge in stopping the repeal of Proposition 13. This directly affects agriculture. It is not just big business in the inner cities. This cannot not happen and San Joaquin Farm Bureau will be leading the charge to STOP IT!
We have a long road ahead of us to get life back to normal. Additional monetary aides continue to be available from the federal government Keep checking your email and San Joaquin Farm Bureau social media for updates, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to call the office. If you are facing new challenging issues in your fields, please contact the staff to see how we can help.
As always, Be Safe, Be Healthy and Farm On!