Thank you for your trust and support

By Jim Ferrari, SJFB President 

Now that my term as SJFB president is rapidly drawing to a close, I feel that it is relevant to discuss and share some of what I’ve learned and encountered in this chapter of my life. First and foremost, I’ve learned that the importance of being an effective agricultural advocacy organization starts at the local level: this means that our most important job is to advocate for our fellow agriculturalists here in San Joaquin County. That occurs by developing personal connections to our elected officials and also to those who often times represent them – thereby allowing us to access and have an active voice in helping them to shape the policies that eventually affect us all.  

For these purposes, the proper paperwork will now be filed to set up our very own Political Action Committee (PAC) that will free us to be able to support those running for office who choose to support agriculture in this county. The initial job of this PAC will be to help elect members to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors that realize and respect the value of agriculture in San Joaquin County. We also must keep in mind that the county supervisor position is often a springboard into state and federal office.  

The second thing I’ve learned is the importance of having the proper people placed in positions that make them as efficient as they can be. It is also important that we lend them the upmost support as they do their jobs. As president, I have been truly blessed with an incredible staff starting with the leadership of Bruce Blodgett, followed by Rachael Fleming, Amber McDowell and Jessica Coit. I would also like to mention Kathy Baldauf who occasionally is happy to put retirement on hold and help us out in a jam.  

Committee chairpersons also give up much of their time for the organization and must not be forgotten. Director participation is vital to our ability to react in a timely manner to any issues that arrive that may impact our members.  

An important benefit of membership to SJFB is the fact that we are able to intervene in certain regulatory issues on behalf of our membership while the affected members can retain their anonymity to the governing authorities. We can have the important conversations that help shape government policies and we can push back on overregulation – all without the fear of retribution.  

In conclusion, the SJFB runs as a well-oiled machine and will continue to do so into the next term when the new executive team takes over. I owe many thanks to David Strecker, Ken Vogel and Bruce Blodgett… who were my backbone of support during my presidency. I also owe my gratitude, thanks and love to my wife Debbie and sons Joe and Nick, who accompanied me, supported, and filled my shoes while I was absent. I am proud of their participation and what they have brought to help the San Joaquin Farm Bureau.  

I would like to give a special note of thanks to my son Joe who graciously edited most of my messages and may have added a line or two while undertaking the task. Last, I would like to thank you, our membership, for your continued support and for all the trust you have placed in me.  

This all segues back to an important lesson that I learned through many years of parochial education: When you give of yourself in the service of others, you receive back many times what you have given. This is very true… I have truly been blessed by you all. Thank you.