Over 200 tickets were sold for the National Agriculture Day Spring Luncheon held Wednesday, April 26, 2023, in the Heritage Hall at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. The annual event is coordinated by the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and the educational organization Agri-Culture.
At the luncheon, the 2023 Al Smith Friend of Agriculture Award was presented to Randy Repass and Sally-Christine Rodgers for their strong support of local agriculture and tireless volunteerism.
The award was announced and presented by Richard and Mary Travis, who received the award in 2022. This award is named after Al Smith, who founded Orchard Supply Hardware and donated 3,000 acres (Swanton Pacific Ranch) on our north coast to Cal Poly.
The ranch has row crops, timber and even a one-third-scale railroad, which was Al’s hobby. 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 who has done much for the industry.
This year, the organization, Agri-Culture, streamlined its scholarship program so that all students could apply for multiple scholarships if they met the qualifications specified in each one. The featured speaker for the luncheon was Sarah Newkirk, Executive Director, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, who spoke on “Conserving Working Lands in the Era of Climate Change.”
Other notables in attendance include Santa Cruz County Supervisors Felipe Hernandez and Bruce McPherson; Watsonville Mayor Eduardo Montesino; Scotts Valley Mayor Jack Dilles; PVUSD Superintendent Dr. Michelle Rodriguez; Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County CEO Susan True; and Shadowbrook Restaurant Owner Ted Burke.
Matt Gianelli | Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau Assistant to the Executive Director
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