CA Farm Bureau Awards Ag Students

CA Farm Bureau Awards Young Farmers and Ranchers Program Students

Service to community and Farm Bureau earned awards for participants in the California Young Farmers and Ranchers program, and a student from California State University, Fresno, won the state’s annual Collegiate Discussion Meet. The awards were presented at the Feb. 27 annual California Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference in San Luis Obispo.

For a second straight year, the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee earned the YF&R Committee of the Year Award, for its activities during 2015. The committee, composed of 45 active members, volunteered at numerous Farm Bureau and agricultural education events; donated food to local food banks and toys to children of military service members; presented three college scholarships; and raised money for the scholarship program and for the California Farm Bureau Federation Fund to Protect the Family Farm.

Napa County Farm Bureau member Johnnie White received the Star YF&R Award, which recognizes a young farmer or rancher for service to agriculture. White, a sixth-generation farmer, works as operations supervisor for a vineyard-management company and as a volunteer firefighter in St. Helena. He has been an active YF&R volunteer since 2006, serves as first vice chair of the State YF&R Committee and is a member of the 2016 Leadership Farm Bureau class.

California Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers 2016 Conference logo
California Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers 2016 Conference

Fresno State junior Hunter Berry (San Jacinto), an agricultural business major, won the Collegiate Discussion Meet, which simulates a committee meeting with active participation and positive group discussion. Berry began his agricultural training in high school classes and FFA activities. At Fresno State, he is pursuing an accounting concentration and hopes to obtain a master’s degree on his banking or financial analysis career path. Next February, Berry will become the sixth Fresno State student to represent California at the American Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet national competition.

Riley Nilsen (Nipomo), an agricultural science student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was first runner-up in the competition. The other finalists were Fresno State senior agricultural business student Jacob Vazquez (Cottonwood) and Cal Poly student Haley Warner (Angels Camp). Berry earned a $1,250 prize sponsored by AgroLiquid; Nilsen earned $750 and the other finalists each earned $500.

Fresno State won the collegiate team competition, the fifth team and individual titles for the group under the direction of adviser Dr. Steven Rocca, Fresno State agricultural education professor. Other team titles came in 2014, 2013, 2008 and 2006. Berry said. “Dr. Rocca did a great job of mentoring us before and during the competition, as well as arranging for guest speakers beforehand such as Ryan Jacobsen from the Fresno County Farm Bureau. Having four of our team members make the semifinals was especially rewarding.

In addition to Berry and Vazquez, Fresno State’s team included agricultural education-communication senior Dominique Germann (Ceres), animal science-livestock business management junior Emma Briggs (Santa Rosa) and animal science-pre-veterinary senior Ana Lopez Campos (Tulare).

________________________________________________

American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program serves agriculturalists between the ages of 18 and 35 who are actively involved in production and affiliated professions.

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 53,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.

________________________________________________

Sources: 

California Farm Bureau Federation

California State University, Fresno, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Teçhnology (Geoffrey Thurner).

Photo: Collegiate Team Award Winners (2016); source: California State University, Fresno, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Mike Wolf Named 2015 Napa Valley Grower of the Year!

Mike Wolf Named 2015 Napa Valley Grower of the Year

Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) announced TODAY they have chosen long-time Napa grape grower Mike Wolf as the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Napa Valley Grower of the Year. Wolf will be honored for his tremendous contributions to Napa Valley farming and the community on May 15 at the 40th annual NVG Annual Dinner.

Wolf has been involved with developing and managing California vineyards for over 35 years. He launched Michael Wolf Vineyard Services in 1997, working with many of Napa Valley’s leading independent growers, and premium and ultra-premium wineries in all phases of sustainable vineyard development, from planning and development to maintaining well-established vineyards. He currently farms over 800 acres across Napa County.

Mike Wolf
Mike Wolf, Michael Wolf Vineyard Services, Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ 2015 Grower of the Year recipient

Wolf was raised just outside of New York City, and received a B.A. degree in history from New York’s Alfred University. He started working with grapes at the age 26, when he moved to Mendocino County with two college friends and wound up connecting with Beckstoffer Vineyards in Ukiah for his first vineyard job.

He moved to Napa County in 1981 as Vineyard Supervisor for a large agricultural development company in Pope Valley where he worked for 12 years, managing all vineyard development and vineyard operations. In 1994, he accepted a position overseeing 500 acres of vineyard in the Napa Valley for Beckstoffer Vineyards.

Wolf’s name is now associated with vineyards that express the exceptionally high quality for which Napa is known. Deeply respected for his commitment to Napa Valley farming and the community, Wolf has served as:

· Board Trustee of the California Grower Foundation since 1987; board chairman from 1994–1998

· Professional member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture

· Member of the Napa Valley Viticultural Technical Group’s Executive Committee from 1995–1996

· Director of the Napa County Farm Bureau from 1986–1998; president from 1990–1992; vice president from 1988–1989

· Board Member, Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch

“Mike is a tremendous example of a quiet, genuine leader. He is a perennial contributor to advancing viticultural best practices, dependably mentors the next generation and furthers the process of sustainable farming,” said NVG President Steve Moulds. “We are very proud to honor him.”

He continues to be a strong advocate and support for farmworkers in the Valley, actively supporting the:

Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF), which supports and promotes Napa Valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development

Harvest STOMP, Napa’s fund-raising harvest party, that supports the FWF and preserves and promotes Napa Valley’s World-Class Vineyards.

Napa Valley Pruning Contest.

Nominations for the Napa Valley Grower of the Year come from the NVG membership and the recipient is chosen by a special Selection Committee made up of Past Presidents and current committee members. The award criteria are: a strong commitment to sustainable practices; recognized leadership in agricultural preservation; dedicated community focus, contributions to the Napa Valley community; and someone who actively promotes Napa’s reputation for the highest quality vineyards.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015, Napa Valley Grapegrowers is a non-profit trade organization that has played a vital role in strengthening Napa Valley’s reputation as a world-class viticultural region for four decades. Its mission is to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards. NVG represents over 690 Napa County grape growers and associated businesses.

For more information, visit www.napagrowers.org. Follow Napa Valley Grapegrowers on Facebook and Twitter.