GENEVA — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County recently honored area leaders in agriculture with an appreciation banquet at Club 86 in Geneva.
The banquet celebrated agriculture in Ontario County during National Agriculture Week. Approximately 125 agriculture producers, educators, county officials, county supervisors and state and legislative representatives attended the event.
The Rodney Lightfoote Agricultural Viability, Leadership and Innovation Award serves as a memorial to Rodney Lightfoote, former CCE agriculture program leader and an original founder of Ontario County Farm Bureau. The 2018 recipients are Ron and Barb Parker, of Finger Lakes Livestock Exchange. They have owned the business since 1983, and are celebrating 35 years.
The Jackie Kunes Outstanding Woman in Agriculture Award was established as a tribute to Jackie Kunes, the first woman president of Ontario County Farm Bureau. Kunes’ son, Casey, presented the 2018 award to Libby Eiholzer, of Stanley.
Eiholzer joined the Peace Corps after graduating from Cornell University. She traveled to Guatemala, where she helped women improve themselves and their families. She serves as the bilingual dairy support specialist for the Cornell Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team. Eiholzer is a certified safety instructor for NY Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, is part of the Ontario County Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and assists with young farmer tours and discussion groups.
The 2018 Paul and Peg Zimmerman Outstanding Young Farmer Award went to Kelly Jensen, of Stanley, presented by Jamie Zimmerman, son of Paul and Peg Zimmerman. Jensen graduated from St. John Fisher College with a degree in finance. After a few years working off the farm, she realized the farm is where she wanted to be. She has a dedicated passion for agriculture and her family’s dairy farm, Lawnhurst Farms. Jensen and her brother represent the farm’s fourth generation, and they partner with their dad to run the farm. She is responsible for the office duties. Jensen serves on the Ontario County Farm Bureau board.
Rich Jerome presented the 2018 Ralph Jerome Scholarship to Elizabeth Maslyn, a senior at Red Jacket High School. Maslyn is the Ontario County Dairy Princess, and participates in National Honor Society, 4-H, Youth Fair Board and Jazz Band. She works at Hemdale Farms and Black Brook Farm. Maslyn plans on attending Morrisville State College in the fall to major in animal science and business.
Julie Maslyn, chairperson of the Ontario County Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee, presented the Ontario County Farm Bureau agricultural citizenship scholarships. This scholarship recognizes graduating high school seniors for their agricultural citizenship within their community. Their activities, promotional efforts and enthusiasm for the agriculture industry are recognized and encouraged, no matter what field of study they pursue.
This year’s scholarships went to Lindsey Weykman, of Clifton Springs; Claire Raes, of Geneva; and Gracie Nicol, of Canandaigua. Raes and Weykman attend Midlakes High School. Weykman plans to study animal science and agriculture education at SUNY Cobleskill. Raes will attend Morrisville State College. Nicol attends Lima Christian School.