We always look forward to the annual announcement of the inductees into the AgHall of Fame. The event isa fitting reminder of thevalues we share in the Mid-Columbia.
And this year we had even more to anticipate as the Pasco Chamber of Commerce expanded the honors and categories of inductees, with what's now known as the Mid-Columbia Ag Hall of Fame receiving a handful of new members this year.
The Pioneers include Bud Mercer and the principals of T&R Farms, Ron and Rella Reiman and Porky Thomsen.
Anyone from the Prosser area is well acquainted with the Mercer name, as are most in our region's ag industry. A third-generation farmer and rancher, Bud Mercer was part of the evolution of his family's business from the sheep-herding days of his youth to irrigated farming as a young adult, to developing a fresh pack carrot industry and leading the Mercers to prominence in the state's burgeoning wine industry.
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Out at T&R Farms on the Snake River, the Reimans and Thomsen are known as pioneers in water management and have embraced technology to improve operations. Their farm is a showcase for the latest innovations in water use and management, and they've opened their land to share the lessons with others. They've also been prominent spokesmen on the issue of water rights and the importance of dams to our farming community.
Steve Cooper of Basin City earned the first Agribusiness Person of the Year honor. Cooper is known for hisold-fashioned ethics and skill as a farmer of grass seed, alfalfa, wheat, peas and buckwheat.
He's been quick to get involved in the issues, becoming a familiar face in Olympia during the legislative session. His work with the Farm Bureau in the state earned him the President's Member of the Year Award in 2009.
Another new award this year is for the Agriculture Advisor of the Year. That honor goes to Tim M. Tippett, a man who has been involved in agriculture on many levels for more than three decades.
From 4-H leader to a valued resource for the FFA Chapter at Pasco High School to his 16 years on the Market Stock Committee at the Benton Franklin Fair, Tippett has volunteered to help generations of young people foster their interest in agriculture and become better citizens for it.
The 10th annual Agriculture Hall of Fame Gala is at6:30 p.m. Thursday atColumbia Basin College.The event is sold out.
It's an important time to honor the pioneers in our agricultural industry and those who support it and further its development.
When people think about the history of the Mid-Columbia, Hanford always comes to mind. But farming was here first, and over the past 60 years, agriculture has developed in leaps and bounds right along with the nuclear industry.
Congratulations to this year's inductees. Their contributions to an industry have helped make an entire region thrive.