2018 ends with uncertainty


We have closed the book on the month of December, and with that, also the year 2018. This last month of the year saw us in San Diego attending California Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Meeting. With all the meetings and Farm Bureau activities, I wasn’t able to take in much of the town; it seems like the only sightseeing I was privileged to experience came from looking out the hotel window watching the navel activities of Coronado Island.

One of the highlights for me was a happenstance moment that took place when Debbie and I entered an elevator and found ourselves riding it with Zippy Duval (the meeting’s keynote speaker). We struck up a conversation, and he recalled his first visit to California as American Farm Bureau president. That visit was with the San Joaquin Farm Bureau where he was greatly impressed with a tour of the Chinchiolo-Stemilt cherry packing facility, followed by a FSMA briefing at my hulling facility and then lunch at Pizza Plus in Linden. Zippy said that he would always remember his visit and that it was his favorite stop. I believe that the Chinchiolo-Stemilt facility and the technology involved in packing cherries helped to greatly influence his perception of California agriculture.

The second and more important highlight for SJFB happened when by unanimous consent of San Joaquin County and Calaveras County delegates, Paul Sanguinetti was elected District 12 Director of CFBF. Paul is a past winner of the CFBF Distinguished Service Award. He is well-known and respected throughout the CFBF system. Paul will serve us well and will always represent the interests of San Joaquin Farm Bureau first and foremost, and as we all know, he is not afraid to speak out and stand up for what’s right for us. Thank you, Paul, for stepping up to this task and know that you always have our unqualified support.

The end of 2018 leaves us entering into an uncertain era of water availability for both agricultural and urban users. Four unelected bureaucrats have decided that salmon spawning (most of which end up in the bellies of striped bass and few, if any, see the Pacific Ocean) are more important than the thousands of people dependent on the production derived from use of that water and the millions of people fed and kept healthy because of its availability.

The California Water Resources Boards decision to require 40 to 50 percent unimpaired flows from the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers will force growers to substitute precious groundwater for the loss of surface water. There is one catch, however. Through Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) there is a powerful effort by the State of California to limit the use of groundwater. The environmentalists’ goal of eliminating 1 million acres of farmland production in Northern California may be accomplished. In the end, bureaucrats would ensure their status and we will all be looking for another profession if we let them succeed. The time to fight back is now.

On behalf of the board of directors and staff of SJFB, I would like to wish all of our members a safe, healthy and prosperous new year. Please know that we are all dedicated to the success of agriculture in San Joaquin County and that we always have an open door for our members. While we shape and deliberate our actions, rest assured that we always have your best interests at heart and that we appreciate and depend on your loyal support. You are what make us effective, and that fact is always on our minds.