Two Earn Farm Bureau Disinguished Service Awards
» December 7, 2004 «
Two longtime agriculture leaders have been given California Farm Bureau's highest award as a result of their years of dedication and commitment to the state's farmers and ranchers.
This year the Distinguished Service Award was presented to Imperial County farmer and water policy expert Bill DuBois and Stanislaus County cattle rancher and political leader Bill Lyons Jr. They received their awards during ceremonies at the CFBF Annual Meeting in Sparks, Nev.
Lyons is a former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and a former member of the CFBF Board of Directors. DuBois is a longtime farmer and Farm Bureau leader who joined the CFBF staff as a legislative representative on water and natural-resources issues.
"There is no one in the state who knows water issues better than Bill DuBois," said CFBF President Bill Pauli when presenting the award. "Through the years Bill has earned the respect and admiration of agricultural leaders throughout California, the West and the nation."
Dubois purchased 80 acres of Imperial County farm ground with his brother while still in college and continues to own that land. He joined the U.S. Navy during World War II and resumed farming after the war. He and his wife farmed about 2,000 acres in the Imperial Valley and raised four children there.
Along the way, DuBois served as president of Imperial County Farm Bureau, a member of the CFBF board of directors, and on the boards of many Imperial Valley commodity groups. He also has been president of a variety of civic and philanthropic organizations.
In 1970, DuBois began a career as CFBF's director of natural resources, studying water and environmental legislation and lobbying on behalf of the state's farmers. After retiring from CFBF, he has continued to represent farmers' interests by serving on a number of committees and working groups related to state water policy.
Before becoming CDFA secretary in 1999, Bill Lyons served on the board of directors of CFBF and Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. He has also been president of Modesto Irrigation District and Stanislaus Food Processors Association, and has served in a leadership capacity for many civic and philanthropic organizations.
"Throughout his life Bill Lyons has been a strong leader in the agricultural community," Pauli said. "He has provided distinguished service at the local, state and national levels, most recently as secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
"From the unprecedented marketing opportunities provided through the Buy California Initiative to the challenges of pest infestations and livestock diseases, Bill has shown unwavering leadership through his tremendous work ethic and skill in building consensus to find solutions."
Born and raised in Modesto, Lyons became general manager of Mapes Ranch, a 6,000-acre ranch owned and operated by the Lyons family for more than 75 years. In addition, Lyons is general managing partner of Lyons Investments, a diversified family farming operation that grows almonds, walnuts, alfalfa, wheat, barley and beans.
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