Young agriculturalists recognized for leadership, innovation
» December 3, 2007 «
Two agriculturalists from Tulare County, a diversified farmer from Tipton and an almond field supervisor from Visalia, have won statewide awards presented today by the California Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Program.
Josh Pitigliano of Tipton, with his wife, Jennifer, accepts the Outstanding Young Farmer and Rancher award from CFBF president Doug Mosebar.
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Josh Pitigliano of Tipton earned the YF&R Outstanding Young Farmer and Rancher of the Year Award, which recognizes farm management skills, leadership qualities and service to Farm Bureau and community. Chris Giannini of Visalia won the Agribusiness Person of the Year Award, presented to young people who actively contribute through involvement in agriculture and Farm Bureau but do not derive the majority of their income from an owned farming operation.
Pitigliano, a fourth-generation farmer, is a partner in his family's farm and custom-harvesting business. He oversees the farm's almond production plus the scheduling of employees, irrigation and crop protection for crops including beans, alfalfa, winegrapes and wheat. He has focused on improved efficiency in crop production by converting almond orchards to micro-sprinkler irrigation, employing chemical sprayers that use sonar to make applications more exact, converting vineyards to allow mechanical harvesting, and other techniques.
Having acreage that borders an interstate highway, Pitigliano says, has made him more conscious of how urban people might view his farming practices.
"When people drive by my farm for those few seconds, I do not give them the opportunity to see agriculture in a bad light, but advertise how farming should be," he wrote in his award application.
A runner-up award in the Outstanding YF&R category was presented to Theresa Schneider, a fifth-generation farmer from Chico who grows walnuts and almonds on a family farm in Butte County.
The Agribusiness Person of the Year winner, Giannini, works as a field supervisor for the Blue Diamond Growers almond cooperative. He consults with farmers in Tulare and Kings counties, sharing his knowledge of farming practices.
As a two-time chairman of the Tulare County YF&R, Giannini said he has worked to become an ambassador for agriculture, "spreading the message that agriculture is an important part of the local community and strongly supportive of local causes."
Pitigliano and Giannini received their awards during the California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Sparks, Nev., and will each represent California in national competitions to be held next month at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
As winner of the Outstanding YF&R award, Pitigliano earned $1,000 from the California Farm Bureau Federation plus $1,000 from Bank of America; $750 from the California Farm Credit Association; $500 from Dodge Trucks; a $750 Allied/Nationwide Insurance Award of Excellence; and a $400 State Compensation Insurance Fund Award of Distinction.
He also receives 365 hours' free use of a Kubota tractor, furnished by Kubota Tractor Corp., and a set of four agricultural tires from Michelin.
As runner-up, Schneider earned $300 each from the California Farm Bureau and from Bank of America, $250 from the California Farm Credit Association, a $550 Allied/Nationwide Insurance Award and $350 from State Fund.
For winning the Agribusiness Person of the Year Award, Giannini received $900 from the California Farm Bureau Federation; $500 from the California Farm Credit Association; $500 from Dodge Trucks; $200 from Allied/Nationwide Insurance; $100 from Bank of America; and a DeWalt drill set from the Grainger industrial supply company.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 91,000 members. The Young Farmers and Ranchers program encourages members aged 18 to 35 to be active leaders in agriculture.
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