Four individuals and one couple will be inducted into the Mid-Columbia Ag Hall of Fame later this month.
The 2016 inductees were announced Tuesday during the Eastern Washington Ag Expo. The Hall of Fame was created in 2000 to honor agriculture pioneers in the Mid-Columbia. To date, 64 have been inducted.
The honorees will be feted at a gala Jan. 21 at the Pasco Red Lion. Register online at www.pascochamber.com.
This year’s honorees are:
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▪ The late Iris and Lawrence Hayes will receive the Pioneer Award for their significant influence on the development of agriculture. The couple settled in the Columbia Basin project in the 1950s. Lawrence served on numerous boards, including the Mid-Columbia Library District board and was active in the Cattlemen’s Association. Iris helped found Basin City Homemakers and Women in Farm Economics.
▪ Dick Muhlbeier, a manager with RDO Equipment in Pasco, is the 2016 Rising Star honoree. He is an active supporter of 4-H and FFA,as well as the Junior Livestock Show and other youth programs.
▪ Kerrin Bleazard, agriculture teacher at Columbia Basin College, is recipient of the Agriculture Advisor Award. She is credited with revitalizing the teaching of agriculture at CBC, emphasizing science in the curriculum.
▪ Chep Gauntt is recipient of the newly established Stewardship Award. He shared the award with his wife, Kay. The couple are honored or their extensive efforts to reduce the amount of seed, water, fertilizer, herbicides and insecticides at their 2,000-acre hay farm in Pasco. Gauntt is credited with helping revive the CBC ag program.
▪ Bob Tippett is winner of the Visionary Award. Tippett is credited with helping develop the Pasco Food Industrial Center and TRAC and has served on the boards of several chambers of commerce, the Tri-City Development Council, the Wine Science Center and Young Life.