Three locals with longtime ties to San Luis Obispo County’s agricultural heritage were honored by community organizations Thursday at the California Mid-State Fair.
They are Dale Evenson as Agriculturalist of the Year, Ann Cochrane as Cattlewoman of the Year and Dan Wixom as Cattleman of the Year.
Here’s a closer look at the winners:
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Evenson, honored by the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, is president of the San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association and is considered a role model among his peers.
“He gives back to his community, is dedicated to his family and has an amazing work ethic,” according to a news release.
Among the groups he’s worked with are Edna 4-H, Arroyo Grande FFA, Independent Grape Growers of Paso Robles, California Pistachio Growers and the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Task Force.
Evenson, who has farmed pistachios, wine grapes, forage hay, and cereal grains and has raised commercial cattle, grew up near Arroyo Grande. He lives with his wife, Suze, east of San Miguel. They have two sons.
Cochrane, honored by the San Luis Obispo County CattleWomen, is a sixth-generation Californian who joined the CattleWomen group while attending Cal Poly in 2003. She’s the organization’s president and is slated to be the California CattleWomen Beef Promotion co-chair with her mother, Susan Cochrane.
Ann Cochrane is dedicated to ranch life, spending her school breaks and summers at the family ranch on the Carrisa Plains “working cattle, repairing fences, and making ranch improvements for wildlife and cattle,” according to a news release.
After graduating from Cal Poly in agribusiness finance and appraisal, Cochrane relocated to Paso Robles and works with agriculturalists as a commercial relationship manager vice president at Heritage Oaks Bank. She’s also involved with the Rotary Club of Paso Robles, the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Tour Committee, and the California Women for Ag.
The San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association says Wixom “is a true cattleman for always giving back more than he takes,” according to a statement.
Among his contributions to the community, he and his wife, Carla, support the Replacement Heifer Auction and the Junior Livestock Auction at the Mid-State Fair each year.
The couple lives in Morro Bay and runs a commercial cow/calf operation, as well as a cattle trucking business that takes him all over the western United States.
"But every Saturday he can be found transporting at least one or two loads of cattle to Templeton Livestock Market,” the association said in a statement.
Wixom also belongs to the county, state and national Farm Bureau organizations and has shown “dedication and commitment with his outstanding contributions to the beef industry,” according to the association. His work focuses on calf genetics, group officials said.