Press Release Provided by California Farm Bureau Federation
Debbie Jacobsen, a third-generation farmer who became the first-ever female president of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, is the recipient of the California Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Award for her lifelong contributions to California agriculture.
Her award was announced December 6th, during the 103rd California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Orange County. The award is the Farm Bureau’s top annual prize and has been presented each year since 1953.
Jacobsen is a renowned agricultural voice in Fresno County and beyond. She served for 19 years on the Fresno County Farm Bureau’s board of directors, including as president from 2002 to 2004. She was also a district director, finance committee chair and executive committee member for the California Farm Bureau.
She and her husband, Ray Jacobsen, own and operate J&L Vineyards, a raisin and wine grape farm near Easton. Their son, Ryan Jacobsen, is CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau.
“Debbie’s service to farmers and ranchers started with her community leadership in Fresno County and the San Joaquin Valley and, over the years, she has become a leading advocate for all of California agriculture,” said California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson.
Jacobsen served on the Central Valley Agricultural Literacy Project Steering Committee and has been a leader in 4-H, FFA and Agriculture in the Classroom programs. She was also executive director of the San Joaquin Political Academy and PTA and Ag Boosters president for Washington Union High School.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Jacobsen to serve on the board of directors for The Big Fresno Fair and she was reappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown. She served 15 years on the board, including as president, before moving on to the fair’s nonprofit foundation, Friends of The Big Fresno Fair Board.
Jacobsen was previously honored as Fresno Chamber Agriculturalist of the Year for her contributions to the Fresno farming community.
The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 31,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 6 million Farm Bureau members.