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By Vicky Boyd 

First Vice President Ken Vogel, SJFB President David Strecker and Second Vice President Jake Samuel say water will always be the county’s top issue.

Photo by Goff Photography

 

With a backdrop of full reservoirs and a massive Sierra snowpack, the three incoming San Joaquin Farm Bureau officers say unequivocally that water remains the top issue facing area agriculture.

“We’ve been talking about it a lot and we’ll continue to talk about it – water is obviously at the top of the list,” said President David Strecker. 

Unfortunately, many of the solutions to water issues, such as building new water storage, have been in the works for years and continue at a snail’s pace.

By Craig W. Anderson 

San Joaquin County’s high school FFA programs represent the diversity of both agriculture and the education today’s students receive while immersed in the county’s agriculture industry valued at more than $2.5 billion. Today’s high school students interested in pursuing a career in ag are well served by county high schools. 

The county’s high schools present meaningful courses to their students and here the hard-working instructors tell the story of their FFA programs.

By Vicky Boyd 

David Phippen has lost count of how many groups of teachers he has toured through his family’s Manteca almond hulling, shelling and packing plant as part of San Joaquin Farm Bureau’s annual Ag In The Classroom program.

“It goes back a long ways,” said Phippen, a SJFB board member who also sits on the SJFB Foundation for Agricultural Education board. “I’m married to a teacher and have a daughter who’s a teacher. And our family has always stressed education – my father served on the board of education for several years. I just think it’s so darn important to support the teaching profession. Any little chance to help the next generation know where their food comes from, we have to swing at that ball.”

By Vicky Boyd 

David Strecker wasted no time as incoming San Joaquin Farm Bureau president when he challenged fellow farmers to make financial pledges to the newly formed Farmers United Political Action Committee.

“I’m starting this right now – I’m pledging $1,000 to the Farmers United PAC. Is anyone else right behind me?” he told members attending the SJFB 105th Annual Meeting on June 20. “Think about your operation. Think about your future, and please encourage others to join. We have to do this together.”

By Vicky Boyd 

San Joaquin Young Farmers & Ranchers have taken a page out of the Warrior basketball team’s playbook about “strength in numbers.”

“What’s been keeping us going for all of these years is it’s the group of people that we have that keep things flowing,” said Jake Samuel, YF&R vice chair and a 30-year-old walnut and cherry producer in Linden. “It’s the activities we do, and I think just our age group. A lot of us are finding our place in the industry and planting roots, and having the same concerns about what’s going on within the county.”

By Craig W. Anderson 

The 4-H clubs in San Joaquin County began a renaissance and are now enjoying a full throttle resurgence with membership and interest on the rise.

“Each year we’ve seen improvement as enrollment continues going up,” said Jennifer Dondero, president of the San Joaquin County 4-H Council. “The program is running well due to people becoming enthusiastic again about 4-H and what their role can be in it.