Winning photos tell stories of California agriculture
» December 3, 2009 «
A Central Coast rancher who calls her camera her family's "memory maker" has earned the top prize in the annual California Farm Bureau Federation photo contest.
San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau member Sherry Molnar snapped the Grand Prize photo last spring as her 7-year-old son, Brance, took a break during the family's cattle-branding activities. Border collie Molly and quarter horse Nikki stand by in the sepia-toned photo, ready to resume the action.
"Our children have been active participants in our ranching lives since about the age of 4. They crave our lifestyle and will enjoy passing it on to their children," said Molnar. She and husband Patrick, a fifth-generation cattleman, live on the family's ranch in Cayucos, along with their 11-year-old daughter, Fallon.
"I just love capturing memories with my camera," Molnar added. "I'm always on a quest for that perfect picture."
The 28th annual California Farm Bureau Federation photo contest challenged Farm Bureau members throughout the state to capture images of California's family farmers and ranchers, the lands they tend and the bounty they provide. Entries were divided into five categories: "Kids and Critters," "All in a Day's Work on the Farm," "Natural Beauty," "From Farm to Fork" and "Budding Artists." Nearly 400 entries were received this year, setting a new record.
Molnar's Grand Prize photo, which was entered in the "Kids and Critters" category, earned her a $500 award. Other winning photos brought in prizes ranging from $100 to $250.
An aerial view of a farmer preparing tomato beds for planting earned Colusa County Farm Bureau member Tyson Schmidt first place in the "All in a Day's Work on the Farm" category. Doris Goss, a Plumas-Sierra County Farm Bureau member, garnered second place with her shot of a team of frost-kissed draft horses.
In the popular "Kids and Critters" category, a photo of a 4-year-old cowgirl sharing the saddle with her canine companion brought smiles from the judges and a first-place award for Misty Tartaglia, a San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau member. Merced County Farm Bureau member Katie Favier earned second-place honors. Her picture showed her 1½-year-old grandson perched in the wheel well of a tractor, eyeing a trio of goats with a mixture of curiosity and concern.
Storm clouds gathering on the horizon provided the subject for Ronna Frazier-Levesque's winning photograph in the "Natural Beauty" category. She is a member of the Riverside County Farm Bureau. Horses grazing in a snow-blanketed pasture, captured by Kern County Farm Bureau member Matt Bowen, earned second place.
Janet Turner, a Placer County Farm Bureau member, captured first place in the "From Farm to Fork" category for an almost hypnotic view of cattle grazing in the high desert. Second prize went to Joe Valente's colorful action shot of a cherry harvest. He belongs to the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation.
A dramatically lit still life of pumpkins earned 11-year-old Lauren Millang of Yolo County top honors in the "Budding Artists" category. The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom sponsored the category, open to children 13 and younger. Andrew Bettisworth, a 12-year-old from Santa Clara County, won the second-place award for a picture of an antique hay rake he spotted during a family vacation.
All 11 prize-winning photos will be published in the Farm Bureau's weekly newspaper, Ag Alert, as well as its bimonthly magazine, California Country. The winning images will also be posted on the Farm Bureau Web sites: www.cfbf.com and www.californiacountry.org.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 80,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5 million Farm Bureau members.
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.Top