Arizona hosts some of America’s top farmers and ranchers. The Arizona Farm Bureau annually recognizes them for their achievements. The following awards were given out during the Service to Agriculture Awards Banquet during the 100th Arizona Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Glendale last November (2021).
This past summer, Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse asked a group of our state board members to review our current awards to see how to improve the selection and recognition process of deserving farm and ranch members in our industry, especially our volunteer Farm Bureau leaders.
They spent several hours developing a process to better showcase talents, hard work and dedication of community members to the Arizona agriculture industry. Their efforts paid off.
During the committee’s work over the summer, they added an additional award to recognize those in agribusiness who contribute to the industry. They also changed the name of three awards to better identify what the award represents: Our Distinguished Service to Agriculture is now the Lifetime Service to Agriculture. Our Heritage Award that recognized long-standing service to Farm Bureau as an individual or as a family is now the Lifetime Service to Farm Bureau and our Media Award is now the Ag Communicator of the Year Award including a social media element - allowing us to recognize our own farm and ranch members who may be working to educate the public about agriculture through social media platforms.
Many thanks to Chair Richie Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau 2nd Vice President and Pinal County Farm Bureau President, and the committee, for your hard work!
Ag Communicator of the Year: Trevor Bales
We are excited to present to you our 2021 “Ag Communicator of the Year,” Trevor Bales. Bales is a 6th generation farmer of Bales Hay Sales located in Buckeye, Arizona. According to the “About Us” on their company’s website, we’re jokingly told “no one knows what Trevor does.” Well, whatever he is doing with his social media presence, it’s working exceptionally well for him and agriculture.
Besides his duties on the farm, Bales has had a social media presence for several years. He is responsible for the Bales Hay social media, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. He has over 24,000 followers on Instagram and over 29,000 subscribers on YouTube, where he shares about farming in Buckeye and various things in and around the farm. The number of followers directly reflects all the hard work Bales has put in to build an audience A maverick in his own right, Bales has an innate ability to influence and educate his audience on Arizona Agriculture.
Bales has also been active with Instagram live interviews such as Talk to a Farmer Friday with Arizona Farm Bureau’s Julie Murphree. Bales has participated in several podcasts, including Farm Side Chat with American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duval.
Environmental Stewardship Award: Daric Knight
A 4th-generation rancher, Daric Knight operates White Mountain Herefords in Springerville, Arizona. In addition to the ranch, The Knight family has a hunting guide business as well as Knight Environmental Services, a natural resources business. Knight received Arizona Farm Bureau’s Environmental Stewardship Award last month during its 100th Annual Meeting.
A member of Arizona Farm Bureau, Knight has dedicated his life to both conservation projects on his own ranch as well as overseeing environmental projects in his leadership position with the Apache Natural Resource Conservation District in Apache County. Knight has been involved with Conservation Districts for a cumulative 28 years and is the current chairman of the Apache NRCD and AACD Executive Committee Member.
Lifetime Service to Agriculture: DeWayne Justice
Maricopa County’s DeWayne Justice received the 2021 Lifetime Service to Agriculture Award this past November during Arizona Farm Bureau’s (AZFB) Annual Meeting. The recipient of this award has contributed significantly to Arizona’s agriculture and in Justice’s case, also Farm Bureau.
Justice operates the Justice Brother Ranch. Their operation is the definition of a family farm having farmed in Arizona since 1928. Justice was born into agriculture, and his family runs a cattle ranch and a citrus farm. The Justice family also runs the U of A Extension Citrus farm.
Justice has created quite a legacy of service for Arizona agriculture while at the same time considered a leadership icon for Maricopa County and Arizona Farm Bureau. Justice serves on the Arizona Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is an Electrical District Number 7 Board of Directors member. Justice is also the president of the Irrigation and Electrical Districts Association of Arizona.
Lifetime Service to Farm Bureau: The McGibbon Family
In November, Arizona Farm Bureau (AZFB) presented the McGibbon family of Pima & Santa Cruz counties the Lifetime Service to Farm Bureau award during its 100th Annual Meeting. The recipients of this award have shown longstanding service to Arizona agriculture and have made significant contributions to Arizona Farm Bureau.
The McGibbon family of the Santa Rita Ranch moved to Arizona from the Midwest after purchasing the Santa Rita in the late 1960s. Currently, the McGibbon's run a Red Angus cow-calf and seed stock operation. The McGibbons also assist with the University of Arizona's Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER).
Farmer of the Year Award: Gary J. Pasquinelli
Adhering to a personal “God, Family, Country, and Industry” moto, Gary Pasquinelli is a 2nd-generation farmer in the Yuma area, and a successful leader, innovator, and advocate for the vegetable industry. He received Arizona Farm Bureau’s Farmer of the Year award during the organization’s 100th Annual Meeting in November.
Recently retired, Pasquinelli built Pasquinelli Produce Company that farms 8,500 acres of winter vegetable and watermelons, and rotational crops, all in Yuma County. While Pasquinelli has not been actively involved with the leadership of the Farm Bureau, he has always worked with and supported the efforts of the organization, along with his company maintaining membership in Arizona Farm Bureau. He and his wife of 51 years, Barbara, have raised 4 daughters, and have been blessed with 10 grandsons.