An uphill battle for water storage

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By David Strecker, SJFB President

Over the past month, every conversation I had seemed to lead to the discussion of water. After spending the past year dealing with COVID-19, our typical topic of worrisome took the back burner. The lack of even an average rainfall and snowpack has brought our current predicament by no surprise.

Predicting the weather 24 hours in advance has become quite reliable. However, no matter how much is learned about the weather, predicting an entire season of rainfall and snow will never be possible a year in advance. This brings us to the same problem we face each and every year. Fixing California’s water system!

I do believe there is a way to fix California’s water issues and I believe there are plenty of people who have a plan. The political gridlock we face in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., is, and will continue to be, the problem.

As president of San Joaquin Farm Bureau, this past month I participated in the Issue Advisory Committees (IAC’s) with California Farm Bureau. The committee I served on was Taxation, Farm Policy and Land Use. We talked a lot about Proposition 19 that was passed in November as well as the increased talk out of D.C. about the Death Tax. More time could have been spent on these topics, however, most of the day we talked about water.

The committee was made up of members throughout the state. This brings many different views of how to fix our water problems, however, we all do agree that helping the family farmer is and should be the top priority.

Also this past month, I was able to have an online meeting with Congressman Josh Harder. Our initial topic was about the Death Tax and the burden placed on family farmers when passing the operation from one generation to another. Congressman Harder agreed that passing farms and ranches from one generation to another is walking a fine line and if too many changes and taxes are put in place, more family farms will be lost. Congressman Harder promised to work with other members of Congress throughout the state and country on protecting farmers and ranchers when passing them onto the next generation.

The conversation ended with water. Congressman Harder brought up the fact that no new water storage has been built in our state in over a generation. He has made the promise to fight for additional storage to be built. As I stated above, it is an uphill battle to get D.C. and Sacramento to move forward on beneficial projects. I’m glad that one of our local representative is working to make something happen.

Another thing you will begin to hear a lot more about is the recall election to remove Gov. Newsom from office and name a replacement. The governor is no ally to farmers. As many of us face the fear of curtailment notices, keep in mind the governor will likely send water to voters in L.A. and the Bay Area before agriculture sees additional water.

This year is going to be historical when it comes to California politics and water. As daunting as it may seem on a daily basis, we must all continue voicing our support for agriculture and support for those who fight for agriculture.

This month, AgFest is going back to an in person livestock show and auction. There will still be some restrictions due to COVID, however, it is nice to see an opportunity for the kids to show their animals.

San Joaquin Farm Bureau will be back as well. With an in-person auction, SJFB will be providing lunch for the buyers once again. Additionally, we will be purchasing animals and supporting our industry’s future. The kids need all the support they can get.

The auction will be on Saturday, June 19. You can attend in person or participate online. If you are interested in supporting the 2021 AgFest Livestock Show, please contact the San Joaquin Farm Bureau office.