Biz Buzz: Cattle groups honor their best

The San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association, San Luis Obispo County CattleWomen and the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau recently chose its respective members of the year for 2010: cattleman Ray Allen, cattlewoman Darlene Rotta and agriculturalist Tom Ikeda.

The San Luis Obispo County Native Tree Committee also recently awarded Karl and Sue Luft with the 2010 Native Tree Stewardship Award.

Allen — awarded Cattleman of the Year — was born and raised in Idaho, where he grew up on his family’s cattle ranch, and served in the Korean War before working as general manager of ranches in Nevada, Santa Barbara, Montecito and Solvang.

After his retirement in 1993, he and his wife, Mike, moved to the east side of Paso Robles.

He is now chairman of the Cattlemen’s Association Water and Environmental Committee, is on the Natural Resources Committee for the California Cattlemen’s Association and is a member of the county farm bureau.

Rotta — awarded Cattlewoman of the Year — is a longtime rancher and beef industry advocate who joined the San Luis Obispo County CattleWomen in 1986.

Since then, she has been the group’s membership chairwoman and organizes educational trips for children and the Great AGventure.

After she retired from teaching high school in the Santa Cruz County community of Felton, Rotta returned to Rotta Ranch in the Huasna Valley near Arroyo Grande, where she and her sister Jean now specialize in the sale of Angus range bulls.

Ikeda — Agriculturalist of the Year — is a third-generation farmer and partner with his uncle and three cousins in the Ikeda Bros. farming operation, which grows leaf lettuces, spinach, broccoli, and other greens and specializes in oriental vegetables.

Ikeda is a member of the Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange, a director of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau and on the board of the Grower-Shipper Association of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

He also been on the boards for the local Boys and Girls Club and has coached youth basketball for more than 25 years.

The San Luis Obispo County Native Tree Committee also recently honored Karl and Sue Luft as leaders in “sustainable agriculture” and native-tree protection.

Both retired engineers, the Lufts have integrated science and technological awareness into vineyard practices on their “Sustainability in Practice Certified” property east of Templeton, which has four acres of zinfandel grapes, a straw-bale home powered by solar panels, a streambed with native oak woodland, and open land.

When they discovered oak seedlings sprouting in their vineyard rows, the Lufts transplanted the seedlings and encouraged other wine grape growers to incorporate oak plantings on their properties.

— Julia Hickey

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Studio Design Group architects Ellen Goodwin and Will Drake have completed their required architectural board exams and are now licensed architects in the state of California. This follows the expansion of the company, including its relocation to larger offices in the Warden Building at 762 Higuera St. in San Luis Obispo last year.

— Melanie Cleveland