San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation

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By Phil Brumley, SJFB President

As is typically the case, change west of the Rockies is harder to come by. We have a new Congress that will represent us but the gridlock in Congress will go on.
The climate in California is definitely changing. We have a new (old) governor who is well aware of the problems the impact our state. The problems are centered around the fact that there is too much outgo for the amount of money provided to our state through taxes, that guess what, we pay.
Gov. Brown is tasked with the necessity to produce a budget that aligns the financial needs of the state with the income available. The state of California for all intents and purposes has out spent its revenues for years. Creative accounting, moving the expenditures to the next year and attempting to use smoke and mirrors has not worked.
As a former member of a school board, I have seen this plan in action. The State of the State Address covered many of the issues facing us in this state but what hasn’t yet been addressed is that fact that employers are leaving this state in droves.
The overregulation by the state coupled with the requirements imposed by federal regulators (Federal Fish and Wildlife, OSHA, EPA and others) have basically eliminated the ability of businesses to survive in California. We have seen many businesses leave our state due to this overregulation.
As farmers, we are dependant on the consuming public to buy our crops. At the present time there is a substantial pressure from other countries to buy our crops. In the case of almonds and walnuts, this overseas interest in our products has improved our market price. We need to maintain these relationships.
If any of you follow the commodities markets you will note the increase of pricing for most of the basic commodities. Yes, wheat, corn, cotton and meat are doing well. Guess what, those increases in prices are primarily due to increased foreign demand. Should economic conditions change with our major trading partners that will change.
We are dependent of foreign markets to maintain our ability to generate a profit. It is not ethanol production that has moved all the commodity prices higher but the desire from foreign buyers to acquire our products due to their need and our quality products.
My point is that we are now working in a global economy that requires us to take an even more active roll in how our government works. The actions that the people we elect at the local, state and national level will decide how we do business.
An example is the Cuba situation. Granted they have a government that has not been responsive to human needs or personal rights. They are, however, 90 miles off of our coast and could be one of the most lucrative markets we have. Various crop organizations over the years have proposed a loosening of the export restrictions for food products, our commodities. Ship them our products for cash. This does no harm to this country but expands our markets.
This is just one example. Granted I am an advocate for free trade. I am also an advocate for business development. For every farmer there is at least seven other jobs that are created. With our present economic condition doesn’t it make sense to keep farmers profitable so that they can employ the other seven people?
Whenever you have the chance, contact our elected officials and let them know your concerns.
Like it or not, it is not Democrat vs. Republican but income producers versus recipients. For most of us we are the income producers and the recipients – like it or not – seem to be in control. Use your influence as income producers to influence our elected representatives to truly represent our needs.