Members and guests who attended the Yavapai County Farm Bureau on Saturday at the Ash Creek Ranch in Dewey enjoyed a steak dinner and honored area residents for their contributions to ranching, farming and agriculture.
The Bureau chose Casey Jones of Hines Nurseries in Chino Valley its Farmer of the Year.
"I see real opportunity ahead," Jones said, "in getting more people involved and getting young people involved again in appreciating the land and taking care of the things that sustain us."
Bureau president Gary Mortimer said of Jones, "His is the highest tech greenhouse I've ever been in. They do a fantastic job."
Kresta Faaborg, district conservationist with the US Dept. of Agriculture, Flagstaff Field Office, received the group's Environmental Stewardship award.
"She is new to the area, but she has come into this county and made a big impact," said Mortimer. "Everybody in the farming and ranching community is really impressed with her abilities and willingness to get the job done."
"I don't really know how this happened," Faaborg said. "I just go to work and try to help people do what you all love doing to stay out there and keep doing it."
Longtime Mayer resident and rancher Bert Teskey accepted the Heritage Award for Sarah Young Teskey, past Bureau president and third generation of the Young Family to work Young's Farm. The family now lives in Central Oregon, where they moved operations in 2007 after selling Young's Farm in 2005 due to declining water rights under the Prescott Active Management Area.
"Sarah was instrumental in reviving Yavapai County Farm Bureau," Mortimer said. "It wouldn't be here today without Sarah's hard work and willingness."
Bert Teskey said he had just returned from visiting with the Teskeys in Oregon. The couple has welcomed their second son, and Teskey said they stay very busy "haying all summer and feeding all winter. They're doing well and they have a lot of fun. I'm sure she will appreciate this award."
The group voted in Gary Mortimer, president; Tomas Teskey, vice president; Diana Kessler, treasurer; Barbara Predmore, women's committee; Paul and Gretchen Grosetta, Young Farmers and Ranchers committee; and Sharla Mortimer, Barbara Predmore, Bonnie Kennedy, Tanya Baker and Norm Freeman for board.
State Reps. Lucy Mason and Andy Tobin spoke about issues facing the agricultural community in Yavapai County.
The Yavapai County Farm Bureau, along with supporting farmers and ranchers in the county, maintains a Young Farmers and Ranchers division to encourage young people who want to make their careers in agriculture. The group is also available for classroom presentations on agriculture, school field trips to local farms and ranches. School curriculum kits, Ag in the Classroom, are also available. For information call Arizona Farm Bureau Field Services Manager Jake Dillard at 480-635-3615, email email@example.com, or visit the website at www.azfb.org.