Leaders Honored at Ag Appreciation Banquet

Outstanding agriculture leaders were honored at the Ontario County Agriculture Appreciation Banquet on Friday, March 16, 2018 at Club 86, Geneva, NY. The banquet was a wonderful celebration of agriculture in Ontario County during National Agriculture Week. One hundred twenty-five (125) agriculture producers, educators, county officials, county supervisors, state and legislative representative enjoyed the banquet. 

The Rodney Lightfoote Agricultural Viability, Leadership, and Innovation Award serves as a memorial to Rodney Lightfoote (1920-2002), former Agriculture Program Leader of Cornell Cooperative Extension, one of the original founders of Ontario County Farm Bureau, farmer and friend of agriculture. The 2018 recipients were Ron and Barb Parker of Finger Lakes Livestock Exchange. They have owned the business since 1983 and are celebrating 35 years. Many of the people contacted for information on the Parkers stated that they have built the business to be the premier livestock auction facility in the state.

The Jackie Kunes Outstanding Woman in Agriculture Award, The Ontario County Farm Bureau established this award as a tribute to Jackie Kunes (1937-1977), the first woman president of Ontario County Farm Bureau, a distinguished and devoted leader in the industry, her family business, and the community. Jackie’s son, Casey Kunes presented the 2018 Jackie Kunes Award to Libby Eiholzer of Stanley. After Libby graduated from Cornell, she joined the Peace Corp and went to Guatemala where she helped women of the area to improve themselves and their families. She is the bi-lingual dairy support specialist for Cornell Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Team. Libby is also a certified safety instructor for NYCAMH. She is passionate about helping people improve themselves. Libby is also part of the Ontario County Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and has assisted with young farmer tours and discussion groups.

The 2018 Paul and Peg Zimmerman Outstanding Young Farmer Award was presented to Kelly Jensen, of Stanley by Jamie Zimmerman, son of Paul and Peg Zimmerman. She graduated from St. John Fisher College with a degree in finance. After a few years working off the farm, she realized the farm is where she wanted to be. She has a dedicated passion for agriculture and for her family’s dairy farm, Lawnhurst Farms. Kelly and her brother represent the 4thgeneration on the farm and they partner with their Dad to run the farm. She is responsible for the office duties. She enjoys the barn and the cows. She serves on the Ontario County Farm Bureau Board.

Rich Jerome presented the 2018 Ralph Jerome Scholarship to Elizabeth Maslyn. She is a senior at Red Jacket High School. She is the Ontario County Dairy Princess, in National Honor Society, 4-H, Youth Fair Board and Jazz Band. She works at Hemdale Farms and Black Brook Farm. She plans on attending Morrisville in the fall majoring in Animal Science and Business.

 Julie Maslyn, chairperson of the Ontario County Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee presented the Ontario County Farm Bureau Agricultural Citizenship Scholarships. This scholarship recognizes graduating high school seniors for their agricultural citizenship within their community. Their activities, promotional efforts and enthusiasm for the agriculture industry are recognized and encouraged, no matter what field of study they pursue.

The 2018 Ontario County Farm Bureau Agricultural Citizenship Scholarships were presented to Lindsey Weykman,Clifton Springs, Claire Raes, Geneva, and Gracie Nicol, Canandaigua. Lindsey is a senior at Midlakes and plans on attending Cobleskill in the fall to major in animal science and minor in agriculture education. Claire Raes is a senior at Midlakes High School and will be attending Morrisville in the fall. Gracie Nicol attends Lima Christian School and plans on attending college.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County, Ontario County Farm Bureau and Ontario County Agriculture Enhancement Board are collaborators of this annual event.