Farm Bureau presents awards to two young agriculturalists
» December 6, 2010 «
A vegetable farmer from Gilroy and an agricultural loan officer from Riverbank will represent California in a national recognition program for young farmers and ranchers, after earning statewide awards at the 92nd California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Monterey today.
Pete Aiello of Gilroy won the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award, which recognizes farm management skills, leadership qualities and service. Corinne Santos of Riverbank earned the Excellence in Agriculture Award for young people who actively contribute through involvement in agriculture and Farm Bureau, but who do not derive the majority of income from an owned farming operation.
Aiello co-owns and manages Uesugi Farms, which grows bell peppers, chili peppers, napa cabbage, strawberries and bok choy. He also operates a pumpkin patch that supplies what he calls "a wonderful conduit between us and our local community."
"The pumpkin patch provides us an opportunity to get to know our local community and to provide a nice venue for families to entertain themselves," he wrote in his award application.
Aiello has designed and overseen innovations on the farm including a new packing line for bell peppers that improved efficiency up to tenfold; a new, energy-efficient cold-storage facility; and a more efficient filtration system for drip irrigation. He serves as first vice president of the Santa Clara County Farm Bureau and as a district representative on the statewide Young Farmers and Ranchers State Committee.
Santos, a commercial agricultural loan officer for the Bank of Stockton, has served as treasurer and chair of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau YF&R Committee. In addition, she helps with her family's registered Hereford cattle business.
As an agricultural lender, Santos said she has an opportunity to benefit agriculture by "assisting farmers in attaining the capital they need to operate and live on." Asked in her award application to name three important issues affecting agriculture, she cited water supply, availability of farm labor, and the need for estate tax reform. She described the impact of the federal estate tax on farmers as "horrific," adding that she has seen some of her customers "leverage everything they own to pay these settlement fees."
Aiello and Santos will represent California next month in national competitions to be held at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Atlanta.
Willis Dow, a cattle rancher from Wendel, was named runner-up in the Achievement Award competition. Anna Fricke, an agricultural loan officer from Woodland, was named runner-up for the Excellence in Agriculture Award.
As winner of the Achievement Award, Aiello receives 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, Cathie and Dick Bradley, the California Association of Pest Control Advisers, Farm Credit West, CoBank, American AgCredit, Ram Trucks and State Compensation Insurance Fund. For her award, Santos earns a $4,000 cash prize. As runners-up, Dow and Fricke earn $1,000 each.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 81,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 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