Timothy Collins (right) won the California Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Open Discussion Meet. (Photo courtesy of Kern County Farm Bureau)

By Valley Ag Voice Staff

The California Farm Bureau boasted a series of recognitions to local agricultural industry leaders spanning Kern County to Stanislaus. Every year, the CFB highlights members from each county who continuously show their commitment to agriculture and the betterment of their local industry.

The 2023 awards were exchanged at the 105th California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting held in Reno this year, along with the California YF&R State Conference.

High school teacher and former chair of the Kern County Young Farmers and Ranchers, Timothy Collins, was highlighted as the winner of the California YF&R Open Discussion Meet for his dialog on the tools and programs necessary for young farmers and ranchers to gain access to capital and start their agricultural business.

Collins was one of several participants across the state in the YF&R competition tasked with exchanging their views and opinions on trending issues in the agricultural industry. According to a press release from CFB, Collins was awarded $5,000 at the competition in Reno. He will go on to represent the state in the national contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 19-24.

The Kern County YF&R Committee also received the Committee of the Year Award. Stanislaus County’s YF&R Committee nominated Bill and Dana Power, owners of Power Services Inc. and Power Hydrodynamics Inc. in Modesto, for the CFB Hometown Heroes Award.

The Powers received the award during the conference for their continued support of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. According to a press release, the Powers, as farm bureau members, were recognized for their efforts to expand knowledge and educational opportunities to the YF&R committee in Stanislaus by offering training in pumpkin and irrigation technologies.

“Bill and Dana are exemplary models of what it means to be advocates of agriculture while serving in a capacity that directly supports the longevity and future of farming operations,” Jace Neugebauer, member of the Stanislaus County YF&R Committee, wrote in the nomination.

Young farmers from Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties were also recognized and awarded prizes for their commitment to the California YF&R program. Mark Avilla, farm manager for family walnut orchards, received the YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award for engaging with state legislators on agricultural issues, according to a press release. Avilla also received the Star Member Award for contributions to the county program.

The YF&R Achievement Award was given to San Joaquin County almond and walnut farmer Jacob Samuel for developing his family’s dried-fruit brand into a top seller for unsweetened cherries on Amazon.

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