Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau Celebrates its 100th Anniversary
This award is presented annually to the farmer(s) who have contributed beyond their normal farming duties to help the community. The presentation was made during the Farm Bureau’s 100th Anniversary Celebration held at Watsonville Slough Farms in Watsonville.
The board of directors felt it was appropriate to honor Georgeann because of her early leadership of direct marketing to the consumer and her significant contributions within Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley.
Georgeann was born and raised in Watsonville and graduated from Watsonville High School in 1957. She received a Bachelor of Science at Purdue University in 1971 after which she worked for an insurance company in Seattle for 15 years before returning to Watsonville in 1999 to help her aging father on the ranch. Georgeann is a 5th generation farmer and knows the farming industry from the ground up … from weeding to bookkeeping!
When her father passed away in 2006 she took over day-to-day farming operations of Cowles Berry Farm. In addition to berries, Georgeann has grown Syrah wine grapes, and had a successful wine submission at the 2008 Santa Cruz County Fair. She serves on the board of directors for the educational organization, Agri-Culture and on the Board of Directors for the Agricultural History Project. She is founding Co-Chair of the Down to Earth Women Luncheon Committee that has raised approximately $500,000 in its 10-year history for agricultural education programs.
She also Served as President of Watsonville Rotary Club from 2009-2010, where she helped to organize a concert to raise money for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and supported the “Reading Buddies” Program at E.A. Hall School and has led fundraising efforts to help support the victims of Haiti’s earthquake, buy vans for Renaissance High School and to provide medical care and cleaning water to a village in Peru.
Featured speaker for the evening was Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture, who spoke on the topic “100 Years of Agriculture.” Master of Ceremonies was Thomas Broz, President, Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau. President Broz highlighted some of the accomplishments of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau over its 100-year history.
There are a total of 19 directors on the SCCFB board and the following directors were elected to fill vacancies from those whose terms expired. All newly elected terms commence on November 1, 2017.
- For 1st term, three-year director: Brie Reiter Smith — Berries • Nita Gizdich, Apples
- For 2nd term, three-year director: John Pisturino, Cattle & Timber • Geri Lathrop — Apples
- For 3rd term, three-year director: Frank Estrada – Cattle & Timber