Local business owners and leaders in the agriculture industry were recognized for their efforts in sustainability and agricultural innovation at this year’s Annual Strawberry Industry Recognition Dinner.
Put on by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, the dinner was held at the Santa Maria Fairpark and attended by close to 700 local community members.
The speakers during the event focused on the importance of agriculture in Santa Maria, and advancements being made in the fields of sustainability and agricultural innovation.
“I enjoyed the presentations from each of the farms, the instructor from Cal Poly and how the kids were preparing to move the industry forward,” said Karen Gridiron, Director of Sales at the Radisson Hotel Santa Maria. “As the #1 producer of strawberries, agriculture definitely has an impact on a lot of things locally – we are a very strong agricultural community.”
After the presentations, the following people were honored in recognition of sustainability and agricultural innovation during the event:
- Gerald Holmes, Director, Cal Poly Strawberry Sustainability Research and Education Center
- Greg France, Owner Red Dog Management
- Jesus Caranza, Supervisor Mar Vista Berry LLC and A&E Farms
- Luis Cordova, Supervisor DG Berry
- Chris Jenkins Agricultural Aerial Imagery Generalist
“My favorite part about this event is recognizing the hard working growers and ranch managers,” said RDO Water employee Danilu Ramirez, who also helped emcee the event. “These people dedicate their lives to farming and supporting our community, and it’s great to see them recognized for their efforts.”
In addition to the awards, the night also featured a video showcasing these local community members and their recent efforts in agricultural innovation and sustainability.
Along with cocktail hour and dinner, the night also featured live entertainment from Mariachi Lobo and A Class Act Entertainment. A raffle was also held, whose proceeds benefited the California Strawberry Commission scholarship program.
Though the dinner is focused on recognizing those in the strawberry industry, all community members are encouraged to attend.
“The strawberry industry has so many different facets that support it, from bankers to insurance representatives. And it plays such a huge role in our local economy,” Ramirez said. “It is great to have anyone that belongs to our community attend the event and support the industry.”