San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation

California converges on AFBF meeting

BY JIM FERRARI, SJFB PRESIDENT

Early January found us on our way to Nashville, Tenn., to attend the AFBF Annual Convention.  San Joaquin County members made up approximately 30 percent of the California Farm Bureau Federation membership in attendance: that is huge, and a fact that has not gone unnoticed by others in our state delegation.  

Four members of our San Joaquin YF&R chapter (Joe Ferrari, Amy and Tyler Blagg and Katie Veenstra) represented our state in national competitions involving speech and achievements.  Although we were disappointed in the final results, we were not disappointed in their efforts. As many of us are aware, when it comes to representing California to people from the rest of the country, it is always quite the challenge.  

The highlight of the trip was witnessing President Donald J. Trump’s address to the general session of the American Farm Bureau Federation: he was the first U.S. President in the past 26 years to address the AFBF!  His speech reviewed the actions that his administration has taken to advance the interests of American agriculture and rural America, and he indicated a desire to continue to convey to Washington, D.C., the message and needs of us “forgotten” people. He was well received by the convention attendees, even promising to return next year to address the 100th year AFBF convention to be held in New Orleans, La., because, as he stated, while he was at the 99th anniversary, “100 is so much cooler.” 

In contrast with the overall upbeat nature of the trip, it was during the convention that we received the very sad news of the passing of our longtime board member Bruce Mettler. Bruce has always been involved in the advancement of agriculture in San Joaquin County throughout his entire life. I recommend reading the article about him in this month’s edition and in the CFBF AgAlert publication; they were well written.

Bruce was always a familiar face at SJFB. He served as president of SJFB from 1989 to 1991, also helping to found the SJFB Foundation for Agricultural Education and was its first president from 1989 to 1995. He was truly one of the persons most responsible for shaping the SJFB as we know it today. For that, we thank him and we will miss him immensely.