Leaders in the heart of the agricultural community, most of whom have known each other for years, gathered Monday for Farm City Celebration, a celebration of the area’s roots and economic prosperity. While snacking on foods made from local products, the group lauded a few who have stood out in their commitment to local agriculture.
Many in the audience had been honored in previous years, others were leaders who may very well be in the spotlight in the future.
Doug Bentz — Ag Service Award
Bentz has spent most of his adult life helping students as an agriculture teacher at Butte College, 4-H leader and judge for FFA competitions.
Les Heringer, who presented Bentz with a bright red apple, said he has watched countless times as Bentz stood in the ring all day helping students show animals.
He began teaching at the college in 1973, after being raised as the son of a dairy farmer. After graduating from local school, he continued his local education, earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Chico State University.
He is currently a director for the Butte County Farm Bureau and a former president. He also chairs the Farm Bureau scholarship committee, serves on the University of California Cooperative Extension support group and is a tour guide on the Farm City Celebration bus tours.
Yet another ag-related interest is with the Vintage Iron Antique Tractor group, and over the years, he has served leadership roles for several other organizations.
Matson and Isom — Agri-Business of the year
The leaders of the Farm City Celebration honored Matson and Isom as the Agri-Business of the year.
The firm’s principals began work in 1962. With agriculture as the base of the economy, they made a commitment to learning how it worked.
Isom also planted a prune orchard that same year, which was followed by almonds.
Presenter Tod Kimmelshue said the accountancy group has become “vested” in the community through service and support of local ag organizations.
Butte County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse — Community Service Award
A lot of work would not have happened without the work of the Butte County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, said Colleen Cecil, director of the Butte County Farm Bureau.
The volunteer group has worked alongside the sheriff’s department to provide a presence at local events, including riding programs for special-needs students.
When it was needed to build a shooting range, the sheriff at the time asked the organization, which granted half their land for the current range.
Festival at Bidwell Mansion
The soiree at the Sierra Nevada Brewery was the kickoff for several events of the Farm City Celebration, now in its 30th year. The public can take part through a free harvest festival this weekend.
Farm animals, bees and tools of the trade will all be a part of the harvest festival at Bidwell Mansion, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The event is the 9th annual festival, as part of the Farm City Celebration.
Organizers will provide arts and crafts for kids, animal displays, calf roping, antique and modern farm equipment and butter churning. Food booths will be available, and people can buy plants, take a carriage ride or tour the mansion.
Farm Bureau director Cecil also encouraged people to “like” the event on Facebook, “Farm City Celebration Harvest Festival.”