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Fresno Chamber of Commerce Announces Ag Leader Award Winners

The Fresno Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Fresno County Farm Bureau, is proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Ag Awards, a long-standing tradition that honors and celebrates our region’s agricultural industry leaders. The honorees were recognized at the Ag Awards Celebration on November 3rd at PR Farms.

The 2022 Ag Awards Honorees include:

  • Moss Adams Agribusiness of the Year Award – Triple Delight Blueberries

  • Agriculturalist of the Year Award – Russel Efird, Owner & President, Double E Farms Inc.; Vice President, Efird Ag Enterprises Inc.

  • AGvocate of the Year Award – Christine Torosian-Klistoff, Teacher Fairmont Elementary School, Sanger, CA

  • Agricultural Employee of the Year – Jose Erevia, Director of Safety, Workers Compensation & Regulatory Compliance, Prima Wawona

  • Lifetime of Service Award for Significant Contributions to Fresno County Agriculture

    Margaret Mims, Fresno County Sheriff, and Dr. Dennis Nef, Dean and Professor Emeritus, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences & Technology and Department of Agricultural Business, California State University, Fresno

    The Moss Adams Agribusiness of the Year Award is presented to Triple Delight Blueberries; a notable leader in the Valley’s ag industry who has established market outlets for valley berries with various wholesale buyers as well as corporate kitchens, specialty grocers and various restaurants. “Triple Delight Blueberries is the absolute perfect business to receive the Moss Adams Agribusiness of the Year Award,” stated Janell Attebery, Partner, Moss Adams. “Moss Adams is proud to partner with the Fresno Chamber of Commerce in awarding Triple Delight Blueberries this year’s award because of their dedication to build their business since 1997, while simultaneously building their industry. They are true examples of pillars of the Central Valley ag community.”

    The recipient of the 2022 Agriculturalist of the Year Award is Russel Efird from Double E Farms Inc. Efird is known amongst his peers to be a mentor and teacher, spending much of his personal time educating members of the community and elected officials about agriculture. Today, Russel and his son, Matthew, farm 1,500 acres of almonds, walnuts, raisins, and wine grapes in the Caruthers, Riverdale and Raisin City areas.

Returning this year after a 2021 debut is the AGvocate of the Year Award. This year’s AGvocate of the Year is Christine Torosian-Klistoff, teacher to K-8 students at Fairmont Elementary School in Sanger, CA. Torosian-Klistoff has lead the team within Sanger Unified to develop plans on a 2-acre parcel adjacent to the school to build a state of the art, one of a kind Ag/STEM Educational center, which includes a comprehensive K-8 agriculturally based curriculum and adheres to state-mandated NGSS science standards.

The Agricultural Employee of the Year will be given to Jose Erevia from Prima Wawona. Erevia’s experience working in the various departments and his noticeable work ethic has enabled him to find solutions and improve areas within the department of regulatory compliance & environmental health & safety.

“Each of the awards presented represent an integral facet of Fresno’s agricultural community,” Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen said. “With the addition in 2021 of the AGvocate and Agricultural Employee of the Year Awards, the Ag Awards Celebration now recognizes an additional set of people who are key to the success of the local industry and the Central Valley itself. Because of these amazing leaders, Fresno County is the agricultural capital of the nation.”

The Lifetime of Service Award for Significant Contributions to Fresno County Agriculture went to Sheriff Margaret Mims and Dr. Dennis Nef. Sheriff Mims began her career in 1983 as the first female police officer in Kerman and continued her career to attain the rank of Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Sheriff, and elected Sheriff in 2006. Showing her dedication to the agriculture industry, she was awarded the Common Threads Award for the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation in 2018.

For the last 39 years and counting, Dr. Nef has impacted countless students and graduates along with faculty, staff and administrators at Fresno State as well as agriculturalists throughout the Central Valley and beyond. As Dean, the University Agricultural Laboratory became a focus and priority. This 1,000 acre laboratory is home to research, teaching and learning for the nearly 2,000 students studying agriculture at Fresno State. From 2003 to 2019, he served as vice provost, interim provost and associate dean of undergraduate studies, and most recently appointed to lead the Jordan College.

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