A meeting to officially form the San Joaquin Junior Show & Auction Council (SJJSAC) was slated at the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation Office, 3290 N. Ad Art Road in Stockton on Monday, Feb. 17.
At the meeting those in attendance were expected to vote on a slate of officers and by-laws. Committee chairman were to report on the various livestock shows, judges, contests, auction details and food events.
The SJJSAC organization is being formed to host a livestock and vocational project show and auction. All San Joaquin County 4-H, FFA, Grange and Independent youth with projects in the beef, swine, sheep, goats, dairy, rabbits, poultry, turkeys and dog areas will be eligible to compete at the five day show and auction.
Among those working to bring the project to fruition is Bonner Murphy.
“The (San Joaquin) County fair is not being produced by the county because they have no money,” Murphy said of why the new group is being formed. “They charged independent groups and we felt we could do it.”
Murphy said they started getting the pieces together on Dec. 20 and have come a long way since then.
“In the last 45 days, we have written the (organization) bylaws, come up with a budget, designed a website, we will be hiring a livestock manager,” Murphy explained. “We have got everything pretty much good to go.”
The SJJSAC plans to host the 2014 San Joaquin AgFest Junior Show & Auction from June 17 through June 21, 2014 at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds.
“This is a critical time for Ag Education in San Joaquin County. The potential loss of the state ag education funding coupled with the loss of the traditional county fair, could have spelled disaster for the over 700 youth exhibitors of the county if we don’t step up and create an event for the kids to exhibit their projects at,” stated Kenny Watkins, a parent of both a Linden FFA and 4-H member.
County wide support for the event is needed and anyone looking for further information can contact Bonner Murphy at 209-481-0843.
“There are a lot of really positive things,” Murphy added of the change, looking at the upside of a new group taking on the project. “We are partnering with the Department of Education, as FFA is part of education, we are going to work with the county and all the money people donate will be tax-deductible.”
Already being prepared are schedules for this year’s livestock shows, while rules for the shows are being updated, with different 4-H and FFA leaders going through the old ones to provide guidance.
As part of the Junior Show and Auction in June, there will also be an area devoted to younger kids, where there will be opportunities to “dig in the dirt,” said Murphy, learning about planting seeds, water and conservation, the history of Indians in this area and the study of animals that live along the river.
“We are working with the Ag Venture coordinator on that,” she explained. “All of it goes to helping the kids.”
Providing a showcase for the various projects also will help students in terms of applying for scholarships.
Also planned during the June show is a ‘Farm to Fork’ feast night on Thursday of the week, said Murphy, with fresh produce featured and information on the area’s agricultural industry and restaurants representing the cities that junior show exhibitors are from.
“Everything there will focus on ag and ag education and how it relates back to the kids,” Murphy said of the June event. “It really is an amazing partnership, a wonderful opportunity.”
Times editor Marg Jackson contributed to this report.