National Agriculture Day Contest Winners Receive Awards
More than 170 tickets were sold for the National Agriculture Day Spring Luncheon that was to be held in March, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, finally took place last week at the Santa Cruz County fairgrounds.
The event was reconfigured to allow for people to take out their lunch, or attend an in-person, socially-distanced lunch.
At the luncheon, the 2020 Al Smith Friend of Agriculture award was presented to Sam Earnshaw for his strong support of local agriculture. The award was announced by Tom Broz, past president, Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau.
Earnshaw studied forestry at UC Berkeley, graduating in 1974. He and his wife Jo Ann Baumgartner started out in farming, then transitioned to help the agricultural community.
Between 1992-2011, he served as the Watsonville program coordinator for the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, sponsoring monthly meetings and field tours for farmers, sharing information on biologically based farming techniques, and installing conservation plantings.
Earnshaw runs Hedgerows Unlimited and is a technical service provider with National Resource Conservation Service, working on the design and installation of hedgerows, grassed waterways, filter strips and riparian restoration on farms.
He is the author of the 2018 Hedgerows and Farmscaping for California Agriculture: A Resource Guide for Farmers, available at https://www.caff.org/resources/on-farm-sustainability/ and www.HedgerowsUnlimited.com.
Earnshaw chairs the Committee for Planned Growth and Farmland Protection to renew Measure U in the City of Watsonville. He has served on the NOPE Campaign (No Overpriced Pipeline Ever) in the Pajaro Valley, the Measure U Campaign for planned growth in the City of Watsonville, and the “No on Measure T” Campaign to preserve prime farmland in the City of Watsonville.
He served as the Regional Program Director of Community Alliance with Family Farmers and he’s been a board member for Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Market, Organic Farming Research Foundation, California Certified Organic Farmers (Santa Cruz Chapter co-chair), Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, EcoFarm (planning committee and organizing annual bus tour) and Watsonville Wetlands Watch
This award is named for Al Smith, founder of Orchard Supply Hardware, who donated 3,000 acres (Swanton Pacific Ranch) on the North Coast to Cal Poly. The ranch has row crops, timber and a one-third-scale railroad, which was Al’s hobby, but like so many properties on the North Coast, it was severely damaged by the recent fires.
The award is on a piece of redwood with a train depicted on it. It is presented annually to an individual, business or organization not involved in production agriculture but has done much for the industry.
Dimiana Sarah Trigg, 7th Grade, St. Lawrence Academy, won the Poetry Contest, and read her winning poem to those in attendance, including the winners of the 2020 National Ag Day Poster and Poetry Contests. Zoe Alma Torres, 6th Grade, Tierra Pacifica Charter School, won the poster contest.
This year, Agri-Culture allowed students could apply for multiple scholarships if they met the qualifications specified in each one.
The winners of these scholarships were announced at the luncheon:
- 2020 Jimmie Cox Memorial Scholarship – Jessica Rodriguez-Reyes, Fresno State.
- 2020 Jeannie Witmer Memorial Scholarship – MaryGrace Dudek, Oregon State.
- 2020 JJ Crosetti, Jr. Memorial Scholarship – Jose Villanueva-Vigil, Fresno State.
- 2020 (Inaugural) Laura Brown Memorial Scholarship – Meghan Clifton, Fresno State.
Master of Ceremonies for the event was Farm Bureau President Brendan Miele. The featured speaker, Cabrillo College President Matt Wetstein, spoke on the “Importance of Educating Ag’s Future.”