Our water issues will never end

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By David Strecker, SJFB President


The rains of last December seemed so promising. How quickly things can change! The topic of discussion in Farm Bureau always seems to be water. The new year is certainly no different and Mother Nature is trying our patience. I’m now holding out hope for that March Miracle.

A lot has been happening regarding our irrigation water so far this year. SGMA is finally upon us and negotiations with the water districts have been on going regarding the unimpaired flows. Then all of a sudden, President Trump came to visit California farmers and we now have one more thing to wrap our heads around.

What exactly did the president do? For the meantime, it has added to the water wars that have pitted North vs. South and have affected generations of farmers in our wonderful state. As a fifth-generation Delta farmer, I’m not very happy with what the president has done. By turning the pumps back on, the fear for myself and my neighbors will be water quality. The pendulum has swung once again. The President says, “Turn on the Pumps” and California has now filed suit against the Trump administration. Back and forth, back and forth.

In the meantime, it seems we have gotten nowhere with additional storage. Very little has been done to the vast levee system of the Delta. There has been no dredging. The cities and municipalities still dump their sewage into the water ways. And everyone still hates the fish. I wish the solution was,” Turn on the Pumps!” However, each of the things I mentioned above and much more needs to happen.

Locally we have some great leaders who are working with their peers from around the state to come up with solutions to our water woes. From our very own First Vice President Ken Vogel, to County Supervisor Chuck Winn, it is good to know that there are several advocates for local agricultural and our water needs. From South San Joaquin Irrigation District, to North San Joaquin Irrigation, from Stockton East, to the Delta; there are several good people who meet regularly and are constantly advocating for you and me!

I would like to take this moment to thank the SJFB staff, members and those of the county who listened to us regarding Forward Landfill. Things did not turn out so well for SJFB regarding the dump by the airport. One thing for sure is, the whole thing is one BIG pile of garbage. Mount Trashmore will continue to expand. I’m sorry to say, but many of our members will continue to be impacted by the operations. We haven’t heard the last of Forward Landfill and we will need your help in the future to once again take it on. San Joaquin County is a wonderful place with much history, it’s a shame we take even one piece of garbage from out of county, simply for money. I guess that about sums up politics. 

On to bigger and better things. Once again this past February, SJFB participated in the Lodi AgVenture. Whether providing lunch for volunteers or participating in the presentations to the third-graders, SJFB members and staff represent your livelihood well.

Additionally Farm Center Annual Meetings have begun and your new directors for the coming year will be serving their terms shortly. Already some fresh new faces and names have began to roll in. As we move forward and face new challenges, it is nice to see the next generation begin to become involved. 

Also this past February, the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation Farmers United PAC had its first fundraiser dinner. I would again like to thank those who have been involved with the Farmers United PAC since we kicked it off at last years annual meeting. The fundraiser at Roberts Union Farm Center was well represented and it was refreshing to have so many who were able to make a contribution to our fundraiser but were not available to attend.

The Farmers United PAC will be in full force once the November election rolls around. We are just now finding out the results of the primary election and will be ramping up our efforts as we get closer to November.

Whenever there is a presidential election voter turnout is strong. This can have a greater impact on local elections than who takes up residence in the White House. This is why Farmers United was created. If we are not fully engaged at the local level none of the state or federal elections will matter. As stated before, many of our local leaders end up moving up the political ladder after serving locally. Farmers United will help us well into the future as new faces are elected at our county and city levels. 

The almond blossoms sure are pretty this year.  may be taking notice because of the couple of new orchards near my family farm. Unfortunately, one other thing that seems to be more noticeable is the lack of respect to our family farms, ranches and local communities.

If you have not already utilized the San Joaquin County GoRequest App, please do. I have downloaded it to my phone and used it on several occasions. Whether reporting an illegal dumping on the roadside or a damaged road sign, San Joaquin County’s Public Works department has been very responsive. It is a very simple app to use. It’s easy to upload pictures and describe exactly what you are reporting.

I would like to thank Public Works Director Kris Balaji for promoting this wonderful tool for us to use. If you have not already, please download the app, it will help the Department of Public Works to better serve our community.