|2010 Agriculturalist of the Year Award to be presented to Bill Lyons, Jr|
May 3, 2010 - - The California Exposition and State Fair has announced the recipient of the 2010 Agriculturalist of the Year Award: Bill Lyons, Jr. of Modesto, California. This distinguished award recognizes exceptional service through the promotion of agriculture. Lyons was nominated by Western United Dairymen.
"Bill Lyons, Jr. has been a tireless advocate for agriculture both statewide and locally. Bill has taken an active leadership role in many farm related boards and panels and has helped ensure that the issues of importance to California's dairy farm families and farmers are heard," said Michael Marsh, CEO, Western United Dairymen. "In addition to his farming interests, Bill has been active in the community and helped numerous charitable organizations. As an entity that promotes leadership within the agricultural industry, we can think of no one more deserving to be recognized as the 2010 Agriculturalist of the Year."
Bill is a lifelong resident of Modesto, and currently runs his family's 8,000-acre cattle ranching and farming operations. As former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture under the Gray Davis Administration, Bill developed a reputation as a strong leader who could build consensus among diverse stakeholder groups. During his tenure with the Administration, Bill became known nationwide for his advocacy of the inclusion of specialty crops in our nation's investment in agriculture. Bill has a wide breadth of experience and a unique understanding of all aspects of agriculture and is a passionate advocate for California agriculture.
Bill, like his father before him, has taken an active leadership role in many farm-related boards and panels. He was a founding director on the East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District; he served as chairman to the USDA California Farm Service Agency; and he was elected to the USDA Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service for Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties. He has been elected to serve as a director for the Modesto Irrigation District, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. He has represented Stanislaus and San Joaquin county members of the California Cattlemen's Association.
"Bill's advocacy and tenacity of protecting the agricultural industry and educating State leadership about the value of farming operations to production agriculture is worthy of great accommodation," said Dr. Bert Johnson, M.D., a Director of the California Exposition and State Fair.
The nomination of Bill Lyons, Jr. by Western United Dairymen was supported by former USDA Secretary Ann Veneman, CDFA Secretary AG Kawamura, Congressman John Garamendi, Congressman George Radanovich, Congressman Dennis Cardoza, California Assembly members Cathleen Galgiani and Bill Berryhill, Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa, Jim Bogart, President to Grower Shipper Association of Central California, Richard Waycott, President, Almond Board of California, Bill Mattos, President, California Poultry Federation and several other national, statewide and regional agricultural leaders.
The 2010 Agriculturalist of the Year honoree will be recognized in a ceremony during the Annual Friends of the California State Fair Gala scheduled for Friday, July 9, 2010 at Cal Expo.
Past recipients of this honor include: Ronald A. Schuler, Henry J. Voss, Leland Ruth, Senator Rose Ann Vuitch, John L. Lacy, John Kautz, Len Richardson and John Harris.
WUD is a voluntary membership organization representing more than 60% of the milk produced in California. Membership benefits include resources in labor law, environmental regulations and pricing issues. Members decide the direction of state and federal legislative efforts affecting the dairy industry.