In-person events coming back!

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By David Strecker, SJFB President

This past June saw the return of the San Joaquin AgFest, Junior Show and Auction. Due to COVID, 2020’s show was entirely online with no exhibitors onsite at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds. AgFest’s Board was committed, for the past 12 months, to return to a live show. Much of the finer details come together in just the past few weeks, but as far as I can tell, the whole event went very well.

Once again, San Joaquin Farm Bureau supplied a buyers luncheon. I would like to thank all of the staff. Bruce, Rachael, Amber and Jessica were once again superstars in setting up and working the luncheon.

Additionally, I would like to give a huge thanks to the cooking crew. SJFB board members Paul Sanguinetti, Jeff Hachman, Dave Simpson, Andrew Watkins and Steve Moore were wonderful representatives of the organization and board. I would also like to thank board member Kenny Watkins for the use of his refrigerated truck for the food and supplies, as well as the hard work aand dedication of Sandy Simpson for braving the heat and packing all those lunch boxes.

Also, with the return of the live auction, San Joaquin Farm Bureau once again participated in the purchase of animals. I have not seen the final numbers, but I believe this year’s auction will go down in history as a huge success. The numbers that animals were selling for was awesome. I continuously heard of animals of all placings, selling for Champion numbers. Many of the animals were selling so well, we used our money to be sure to put some add ons to help out more of the exhibitors.

All it took was one year with no show and the community really stepped up. Another year of an online only show would have set the overall show back several years. AgFest should go into the year 2022, that despite what obstacles they may face in the future, The Show Will Go On???

This year’s AgFest also brought on the last event worked by one of our staff members. I would like to thank Rachael Fleming for the past 7½ years of service to San Joaquin Farm Bureau. It was wonderful to see Rachael move her way up through the organization and putting in the hard work with Foundation.

It is unfortunate that COVID limited the way Foundation could reach the community and do many of its traditional events. Rachael overcame this obstacle and did a wonderful job of still engaging the community and educating them about local agriculture. Thank you Rachael, and we look forward to working and seeing you soon at future San Joaquin Farm Bureau events.

With things happening so quickly as the state opens back up, we are proceeding forward with having many of our traditional events coming back. We will be returning to a little bit more traditional Annual Meeting where you at least get to get out of your car. This year’s Annual Meeting will be held in August and will be at the new barn at the San Joaquin Delta College Farm. I personally used the old barn as a student while attending Delta College. That many years ago it desperately needed repair or replacement. It is nice to see the local Community College embracing and building the agriculture department the past couple of years. Many of the faculty and administration of the college will be in attendance and will be presenting the future of Delta College Agriculture.

Now that we are able to be out and amongst the community more we can see the determination of people to rebuild the economy and our livelihoods. Unfortunately as we escape COVID, we now find ourselves smack dab in the middle of an emergency drought. Unlike COVID, nothing seems to change when it comes the the state and federal agencies that have their hands in the middle of the water situation or do nothing about it.

As I write this article, many are receiving notices in the mail about the loss of their water for the year. The last time there were curtailments was not that long ago, however, it was long enough ago that we saw more than one above average rainfall event and nothing got was done to take advantage of that then, or in the future.

Nobody knows how long these events will last, and that leads to more anxiety of what our future will be. That is why San Joaquin Farm Bureau is always fighting for the family farmer. I too have much frustration and anger in continually having to fight for water, but we must all continue the fight.

I hope to see you at this year’s Annual Meeting. It would be nice to see faces again. I think we all could use a smile and friendly face.