By David Strecker, SJFB President
Over the last three months, I spend each evening looking at the good either I accomplished or the good that was done somewhere in the world. I am the first to admit that it can be difficult at times. COVID-19, and political opposition on every topic has overwhelmed our daily lives. I don’t want to spend this article in recapping the bad and the ugly that has taken place. San Joaquin Farm Bureau is here for one purpose, and that is allowing us to continue our farming operations and to be prosperous in doing so.
Despite all the chaos we see each day, San Joaquin Farm Bureau is still working hard. During this pandemic, we saw the need for more options, for our membership, when it comes to our health care. The affordable care act that was put in place during the previous presidential term prevented us from offering health care.
Through a lot of research and conversation, Bruce Blodgett was able to secure an option for us. When it comes to our health care, it is great to have options available to you. Much like our farming operations, when we are able to make decisions for ourselves and do what we feel is best for our operations and families, that is a good thing. If you need help or answers to the medical insurance options available as an SJFB member, please call into the office and we will steer you in the right direction.
With the Coronavirus came to distinct possibility that AgFest would have to be canceled. That would have left hundreds of exhibitors in a very difficult financial situation. I commend the AgFest board for still putting on a show and sale. I understand many kids did not fair as well if the show and sale would not have been interrupted. However, the community rallied and the show did go on.
The San Joaquin Farm Bureau board participated in the sale just a little different than in the past. Instead of feeding all of the buyers with our annual buyers luncheon, we rolled that money directly over to the students and added it to the money already approved for the purchase of animals. We purchased several animals and were able to make several add ons to many exhibitors hopefully at least bringing them to a break-even situation. I know of several individual SJFB members that also participated in the online sale. Thank you to them and your generous offerings to the youth of the community has not gone unnoticed!
Just before we began riding this rollercoaster of a year, SJFB had started an new, local, Political Action Committee. Our first fundraiser took place just a few short weeks before shutdowns, masks and toilet paper shortages.
As it is now June, we must really be in a political frame of mind. The Farmers United PAC can and will have an influence in the November election. If you have not yet done so, please make a donation the Farmers United PAC. If you already have made a donation and you are able to make another, it would be greatly appreciated.
As stated before, local politicians have more than once moved on to new elected positions at the state and federal level. Great friendships that are created now can benefit our farming operations for the foreseeable future. Also, as a local PAC, we will be directly engaged with the most important political races, ones that are closest to home.
Additionally, over the next several months there will be much to talk about regarding the upcoming election. There are several races that will need to be followed at the state and federal level that are important to us farmers and ranchers. Most importantly there is one proposition that will need all of our due attention. California is trying to repeal portions of Prop. 13 and raise our taxes. We all know that the pandemic we are dealing with has put everyone in a financial hardship. Big Business, Small Business, everyone is hurting right now. Nobody, would be able to pay higher taxes, but the State of California is moving forward to make it happen.
San Joaquin Farm Bureau has already taken the position to oppose this. We will be forwarding information and talking points for you to use while voting as well as when you talk to your family, friends and colleagues. We must all stand together and defeat this!
With summer comes many of the activities that San Joaquin Farm Bureau is famous for. COVID-19 has certainly been difficult to try to put together and meeting, trainings or events. We have been working diligently to try and make these happen. Everyday does seem to bring a new hurdle and challenge to make them happen.
We have thought of several events to put together only to face something new that prevents us from doing it. As I write this article, the governor has recommended that bars go back into a shutdown but many school districts are announcing that come this fall school is back to normal. With so much confusion and finger pointing taking place, it does seem that it will be sometime before you see any normalcy to life. As soon as we have the opportunity, San Joaquin Farm Bureau will be having our normally scheduled events.
As I have stated several times, please contact the office with any problems or questions you face due to the Coronavirus. We will help as best we can and try to steer you in the right direction. Please be safe and continue to be the best farmers and ranchers that the world depends on.