San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau names 'Agriculturalists of the Year'

Haruo and Rose Hayashi, who have been active in Arroyo Grande agricultural and civic life for more than half a century, have been named Agriculturalists of the Year by the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau.

In addition, Pete Tognazzini and Carla Young have been named Cattleman and Cattlewoman of the Year by the county Cattlemen’s Association.

Haruo Hayashi, 86, was born in Arroyo Grande, a second-generation vegetable farmer.

The U.S. government incarcerated him and his family during World War II as part of a now-infamous roundup of U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry. They were sent to the Gila River Relocation Center near Phoenix.

Hayashi survived that and, one month before graduating from high school in 1944, he went into the army with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

After the war, he came back to Arroyo Grande and returned to farming, working to expand the Pismo-Oceano Vegetable Exchange, among other endeavors.

The Hayashis both have long been involved in many aspects of the community, from education to youth sports. Haruo Hayashi has been on the Lucia Mar school board and the county grand jury, and helped found the Arroyo Grande Growers basketball team.

In addition, the Hayashis were founding members of the Clark Center for the Performing Arts, and are long-time members of the San Luis Obispo Buddhist Temple and other community organizations.

Married for 57 years, the Hayashis have five sons: John, Howard, Robert, Alan and Edwin; and seven grandchildren: Allyson, Jana, Jordan, Lauren, Colin, Michael and Kobe.

Robin Ventura, the Arroyo Grande resident who manages the Chicago White Sox, joined his wife, Stephanie, in praising the Hayashis for receiving the honor.

“If you’re one of 15 or 500 they make you feel like part of the family,” the Venturas said.

Cattleman and woman Pete Tognazzini, 91, born and raised on a ranch near Cayucos, started out as a dairyman, and in the mid-1940s moved to cattle.

He was one of the first cattlemen in the area to use Limousin bulls, and the association described him as “always on the cutting edge.” Several of his steers won awards at local fairs.

In the 1950s, Tognazzini diversified by planting avocado trees.

A 50-year member and former president of the county Cattlemen’s Association, he has also served on numerous committees. In addition, he is a member of both the California and National Cattlemen’s associations.

Tognazzini and his wife of 61 years, Amelia, have three sons, who are running the cattle operation.

Carla Young was born in Templeton to a longtime agricultural family and was raised there, joining 4-H and showing market lambs at the Mid-State Fair.

After graduating from high school, Young attended St. Luke’s School of Nursing and became a registered nurse.

Young and her late husband ran a Hereford/angus cow/calf operation in Yolo County and raised and showed cutting horses.

She returned to Templeton in 2004 and joined the Cattlewomen’s Association, becoming active in virtually all the group’s endeavors. She has attended numerous state and national meetings as a voting delegate. She still raises and shows cutting horses.

Young is a volunteer with Twin Cities Community Hospital, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association, Cal Poly Rodeo Boosters and Miss Rodeo California.

She has two sons, Cary and Joel Beck, four stepchildren, and nine grandchildren.