San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation

By Bruce Blodgett

Executive Director

For the beginning of the new year, let’s focus on the POSITIVE. Last year’s rain totals helped us greatly. I would hate to see what the reservoirs would look like if it wasn’t for that good year when it comes to rain. Sure, there was too much in some areas as usual, but looking back we needed every bit of rain we received last year.

Property taxes have remained largely unchanged. If you wonder where I’m going with this, it wasn’t long ago, we had people in the county suggesting that the Williamson Act contracts be shortened. What that means is an increase in taxes in the millions of dollars annually. Other counties looked at and some adopted measures to eliminate this program for agriculture entirely. This is one area we can proudly say where we made a major impact in our county. If you wonder if the things we do are helping, our actions to protect and maintain the Williamson Act are Saving the farm taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually. Yes, millions of dollars. So, when it comes to advocacy, yes there are battles won and lost. On this one, we have definitely won and you benefit each day by paying lower property taxes.

That doesn’t event get to the taxes you do NOT have to pay to purchase agricultural equipment. There are plenty of people in Sacramento who would rather have these taxes paid. We will maintain the fight to retain this needed program.

Lastly, I’ll mention the pesticide spraying rules near schools. For hearing after hearing, the advocates were asking the agency to simply ban all spraying while others were saying that our farmers should have to notify each neighbor within a mile every time they were going to apply a chemical. We fought back on those rules as well and the result is a manageable program that most of you are doing already anyway.

So, for the issues of 2018, we are ready and willing to keep up the fight on YOUR behalf. Talk to your neighbors at the coffee shop to see if they are paying their way when it comes to Farm Bureau. After all, the dues you are paying benefit them. It’s time THEY step up and help the cause as well. The same goes to the companies you use for supplies for your farming operation. Our past chair of the membership committee, Dave Phippen, was great to ask those questions of his customers. We hope you are willing to do the same.

We are ready and willing to keep up the fight on your behalf.

We are gearing up for the coming year with training programs for you and your employees. Our next seminar is an update on the Labor Laws in our state. Please come in on January 18th at 9:00 to learn more about the new rules.

We have plenty of other meetings in the works, so watch your mailbox, the Friday updates and the SJFB news for notices on those events. You will note in the January paper, the Spray Safe flyer. That event is Feb. 22nd and is FREE to everyone and includes a great lunch. Be sure to fax in your RSVP and the number of people attending to our office as we work with the committee to update and improve that program. Send your email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to the Friday Review email list.

The Taste of San Joaquin County will be coming up as well on March 15th. This is a fun event to help fund our agricultural education efforts. Already we have breweries, wineries and restaurants signed up to help provide great food and beverages for you to enjoy. If you know of someone who would benefit from providing a sample of their products to more than 350 people, let us know.

In closing, I will end with the Committees at Farm Bureau. We have great committees who help organize the training programs. We also have the water committee, land use committee, and agricultural education committee. If you are interested in attending one of these meetings in the future, simply give us a call.

Happy New Year and here’s to a productive and prosperous 2018 for your farming operation.

 

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