By David Strecker, SJFB President
Farming is like any other job, only you clock in at age 5 and never clock out. This came across my Facebook newsfeed a few years ago and seemed to sum up my agricultural involvement to a tee.
From the day I was born, I had an interest in the things my mother and father were doing on the farm. I must say that me being involved with San Joaquin Farm Bureau and being an advocate for agriculture comes from my mom. The year I was born a new group of advocates came together and formed the San Joaquin California Women for Agriculture (CWA). The next year, 1977, my mom and aunt became involved with this new group.
I have many memories of the events that CWA was involved in. At such a young age, I knew what the Peripheral Canal and Semi-Conductor would do to our communities and how they would affect our daily lives.
One of the greatest things CWA does is hitting the streets and getting the message out to the public of the importance of agriculture to their community. If you are of the right age, and grew up in San Joaquin County, you probably remember Freddy the Farmer puppet show coming to your grammar school and speaking about farming. You might also be lucky enough to have received a scholarship from CWA and used your education to come back to San Joaquin County and advocate for our livelihoods.
Some of the most beautiful and informative booths at the San Joaquin County Fair were done by CWA. The advocacy by CWA doesn’t stop at the county border. Before I was old enough to join 4-H, I knew names such as Willie and Jerry Brown. CWA’s message reaches Sacramento more than we know and has had an impact on making agriculture in our county so important.
This past year our county lost one of its strongest allies in Emily Maberto and this past month we lost one of the hardest workers in Rosie Togninali. Emily and Rosie were both Charter members of San Joaquin CWA. I knew both of them my entire life and I know if I saw either Emily or Rosie at an event, it was an important one to us farmers and ranchers.
From Asparagus Alley to Ag Venture to the pie booth at Ag-Expo, you most likely would find one or both of these wonderful ladies leading the charge. Both Emily and Rosie were heavily involved in their families farming operations. Their kids and grandkids are involved with their family operations and it is because of the love Emily and Rosie had for agriculture and their families.
Rosie and Emily were also both members of San Joaquin Farm Bureau. I can’t emphasize enough how much both of these wonderful ladies were to our community and how much they did for agriculture. San Joaquin Farm Bureau owes a huge thank you to both Rosie and Emily. Any and every significant event over the last 40 plus years, that was important to farming in our county, probably had Rosie and Emily there.
The water, land and political issues facing agriculture will continually face us. Moving forward each of us need to think of what Emily or Rosie would do. If I could do just a tenth of the advocacy for agriculture that they did, it would make a difference.
As the 2021 growing season is getting started, remember we are here today and able to do what we love because two of the strongest, brightest and hardest working women in agriculture made it happen. To Emily Maberto and Rosie Togninali, thank you and may you Rest In Peace and continue to bless our fields into eternity.