By David Strecker, SJFB President
Have you ever had a nightmare that you are unable to wake up from? COVID-19! As I write this article, there is roughly two weeks until it will reach your mailbox. I have no idea what more will have changed in that time period. I pray that it finds you and your loved ones in good health.
I would like to first thank the San Joaquin Farm Bureau staff. Each one of them has handled themselves very professionally through this. As each of their work schedules and daily routine rapidly changed, they adapted. Each one of them is concerned about the organization and the welfare of our industry and livelihoods.
As farmers and ranchers, we adapt to the situation we are presented each day. Each of us found ourselves trying to balance the safety and health of our family while maintaining our farming operations. That is exactly what Bruce Blodgett, Rachael Fleming, Amber McDowell and Jessica Coit did. Thank you to each one of you.
Once the time had come to close the office, San Joaquin Farm Bureau did not stop. We are lucky enough to have the technology available that kept SJFB working for you. Once the severity of this epidemic became apparent, Farm Bureau at the county, state and national level assured all of our concerns that agriculture would not be shut down. The logistics of our national food supply was briefly overwhelmed. The supply of food was never threatened and I know each of you were and still are dedicated to never let that happen.
It is difficult to say there is any positives to come of this, but the public is now aware, more than ever, that the farmers and ranchers are essential to life. This begs the question, “Where does San Joaquin Farm Bureau go from here?” The importance and purpose of Farm Bureau is more apparent than ever. All the regulation that has been brought upon us the last several years only hindered us in ensuring an endless food supply. We always seem to find a way, but in a time of crisis agriculture cannot be held back.
Water supply and quality should never be an issue. Wasting money on trains to nowhere and empty tunnels is ridiculous. Blaming cows for air quality is absurd. Over the last couple of weeks, farmers never stopped farming, truckers never stopped trucking, and cows did not stop, well you know! Yet, each night as I looked at the sunset, our skies were clear of the smog and dirtiness that we are always blamed for.
Now is our time. The public is tired of being fooled and lied to. An uneducated society led to chaos, fear and toilet paper hoarding. Now is the time for AG to tell our story. The people of the world now see the importance of the people who grow and raise their food. For heaven’s sake, the trees are farmed that we get our bath tissue from. We have never stopped telling our story, but it is more important than ever that we continue telling it. Limiting, regulating or taxing farmers to bankruptcy cannot happen anymore!
If you have any problems with your operation, please continue to contact the office at (209) 931-4931 or email any of the staff or officers. Phone calls are being forwarded to our executive director, Bruce Blodgett.
All of the staff’s and officer’s emails are available in this newspaper. We will continue to send information via email and social media. Please be safe as we move forward. Your livelihood is essential to the worlds survival. We will get through this together. We will be stronger because of it. Farm On! Be Safe. Be Healthy!