IMPERIAL — The Imperial County Farm Bureau (ICFB) hosted their 15th annual Jim Kuhn Memorial Farmer of the Year banquet and Meeting of the Members at the Imperial Valley Fairgrounds, Saturday, October 10.
Each year, farmers, agricultural business men and women, local dignitaries, and other community members gather to see the next Farmer of the Year be named. The event featured a silent auction, dinner and dessert, time to mingle, and presentations of different awards.
The theme for this year’s banquet was “Growing Forward.” ICFB President Tom Brundy highlighted some key projects and programs throughout the year.
According to Brundy, $50,000 was awarded in scholarships to students this year. ICFB also partnered with more than 20 local farmers to bring the Read with a Farmer project back to local schools. After receiving positive feedback from last year’s event, ICFB decided to continue the project, according to Brundy.
“We are definitely growing forward. Let’s continue growing forward together,” said Brundy.
This year’s agenda included a special announcement from California Women for Agriculture (CWA) President Natalie Peraza. She explained the reigniting of the CWA in Imperial County and the group’s goals to introduce a Farmer’s Ball, put more gardens in schools, and promote agriculture.
“If you eat food and wear clothes, you’re a part of agriculture,” said Peraza.
According to Peraza, the newly formed CWA in Imperial County is 90 women strong, including five women from Future Farmers of America (FFA.)
This year’s Betty Young Memorial Friend of the Farmers Award was presented to Bo Shrapshire who was unable to attend the event. Every year, he acts as the junior livestock auctioneer at the Imperial Valley Midwinter Fair.
The Farmer of the Year Award was presented to Bill Brandenberg for his many years of service to the Imperial Valley agricultural community. Brandenberg's birthday was also October 10; family took him to the banquet to celebrate his birthday and to surprise him with the award.
Brandenberg was presented with certificates and special recognition from the Imperial County Board of supervisors, Imperial Irrigation District board members, Senator Ben Hueso, and Assembly member Eduardo Garcia.
Brandenberg’s agricultural, business, educational, and family accomplishments were listed before he was called to receive his certificates and plaque of honor. Videos of his son and two of his grandchildren were shown, congratulating him and wishing him a happy birthday.
California Farm Bureau Federation’s first vice president Shannon Douglass congratulated Brandenberg and presented him with a resolution.
“I think it’s really important to know that the work that you’ve done over the years is so critical of not only the County Farm Bureau, but the county, and our local ag community. We certainly appreciate that,” said Douglass.