“We are not all in the same boat…”

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By David Strecker, SJFB President


I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.

For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of reconnection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.

For some that live alone, they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest and time with their mother, father, sons and daughters.

With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment, some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

Some families of four just received $,3400 from the stimulus while other families of four saw $0.

Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours per day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours per day to educate their children on top of a 10-12-hour workday.

Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it, and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.”

                         – Unknown author


My cousin posted this on her Facebook account. As I talk to family, friends and colleagues I felt this best sums up the situation we find ourselves in. And as the ranchers and farmers of San Joaquin County, we all find ourselves in a storm, but most certainly different ships. It has saddened me to see empty shelves of milk in the grocery store while simultaneously seeing the videos of dairies dumping milk across the country due to the restaurant, hotel and school closures.

As we approach May, cherry farmers are more nervous about a market for their crop, rather than the weather. As the growing season continues, please stay in touch with the San Joaquin Farm Bureau staff with the challenges and problems you face due the Coronavirus. Many more programs are expected as we move forward. Most importantly is getting the economy moving again. Unfortunately everything in our lives will be done differently than it was just two months ago.

For over 30 years, I have been involved with the San Joaquin County Fair. Several years ago, many of us were nervous that the FFA and 4-H members would no longer be able to participate in the Livestock Show. As the county faced losing the fair, a great group of leaders in the county stepped up and created San Joaquin County AgFest.

Over the last couple of years this event has expanded to include ag mechanic projects and several other competitions you see at a typical fair. Although the San Joaquin County Fair did come back, AgFest has continued to be the livestock show that we have had in this county for generations.

Due to COVID-19, Livestock shows and county fairs are canceling. San Joaquin County AgFest immediately said, “The show must go on!” Although it will be much different than in years past as this years show will entirely be done with videos and pictures. No animals or projects will be on display for the public to come and view.

I applaud the AgFest board for continuing something for the students of San Joaquin County to participate in. However, I’m nervous to how the auction will turn out. This years auction will be conducted, online, via the Internet.

Nothing is more exciting than seeing a bidding war on a kids animal when they started the day wondering if anyone would even bid on their animal. This is more difficult to happen when conducted online. The enthusiasm and electrified atmosphere of auction day is a sight to see. Some kids have already had to terminate their project and will not even be able to participate in the online show, let alone auction. When both parents have been laid off some of these kids are unable to continue feeding their animal for the next month and a half.

Please reach out to your local 4-H club and FFA chapters. Additionally, please go to the AgFest website or continue to check with the San Joaquin Farm Bureau’s office.

BUYERS ARE NEEDED! Please help however you can. No donation is too small or big. Many kids may be able to continue and finish their project if they know someone will buy their animal in June. The kids participating in AgFest are our future agriculturists of this county. We can weather this storm and tomorrow will be a better day. Please be safe. Please be healthy. Farm on!