Achievement, service bring honors to Young Farmers & Ranchers
» December 8, 2008 «
Up-and-coming agriculturalists received statewide recognition for achievement and service today during the California Farm Bureau Federation's 90th Annual Meeting in Burlingame, earning awards from the organization's Young Farmers & Ranchers program.
Oakdale dairy farmer Kurt Hoekstra received the Outstanding Young Farmer and Rancher of the Year award from CFBF President Doug Mosebar. Download JPG (2.6 MB)
Stanislaus County dairy farmer Kurt Hoekstra was named the Outstanding Young Farmer and Rancher of the Year. The award recognizes Hoekstra for his farm management skills, leadership abilities and service to Farm Bureau and his community.
Ted and Michelle Reimers of Turlock received the Outstanding Agribusiness Person of the Year award, granted for service among people who derive a majority of their income off the farm or ranch.
Hoekstra is a vested partner in an Oakdale dairy, along with his father and brother. His daily duties include herd management, maintaining daily records, managing employees and purchasing animals. He also handles bookkeeping for the operation. Since becoming a partner in 1998, Hoekstra has focused on improving the dairy's milk output by breeding Holstein cows with other dairy breeds from France and Sweden. As a result of his efforts, the overall herd health and milk output for the dairy have increased dramatically.
Agribusiness Person of the Year winners Ted and Michelle Reimers of Turlock received their award from CFBF President Mosebar. Download JPG (3.2 MB)
Because his dairy farm stands next to a busy highway, Hoekstra says he has taken the opportunity to educate passers-by who may not know a lot about dairy production.
"It provides us a great opportunity to share with others where their milk comes from and how we take care of our animals," he wrote in his application. "Most visitors leave with a deeper appreciation for dairies and agriculture. Being able to visit with those who stop by is very rewarding."
A Merced County almond farmer, Benina Burroughs, earned runner-up honors in the Outstanding YF&R competition.
The winners of the Agribusiness Person of the Year award both support agriculture in their respective professions. Ted Reimers is vice president at the Turlock branch of American AgCredit. He manages a large, diversified agricultural loan portfolio, sells crop insurance and markets leases to farmers and ranchers. Michelle Reimers serves as Public Information Division manager at the Turlock Irrigation District, which provides irrigation water and electricity to local communities. She acts as spokesperson for the district, manages its education program and designs all of its internal and external communication material.
Ted and Michelle are also partners in a 54-acre walnut orchard and own a five-acre organic fruit and nut orchard. In addition, Ted serves on the state YF&R committee and has been selected to serve on the American Farm Bureau Federal Deficit Task Force, representing young farmers and ranchers nationwide.
The runners-up for the Outstanding Agribusiness Person of the Year award were Matt and Erin Sweet of Colusa County. Matt Sweet works for an almond huller and Erin Sweet operates a flourmill.
The winners will represent California at national competitions next month in San Antonio, Texas, during the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting.
As part of his award, Hoekstra will receive use of a Kubota tractor for one year, furnished by Kubota Tractor Corp., and a cash prize of $4,000 from program sponsors Bank of America, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Farm Credit Associations, Dodge Trucks, the Nationwide Family of Companies and State Compensation Insurance Fund. As runner-up, Burroughs will receive $1,000. Ted and Michelle Reimers share a $4,000 cash prize and the Sweets will take home $1,000.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 91,000 members. The Young Farmers and Ranchers program encourages members aged 18 to 35 to be active leaders in agriculture.
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