By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Agribusiness honors go to Zipser, Marchy
• Chamber resumes luncheon
Zipser Marchy and Moncrief
The Ceres Chamber presented Lori Marchy with the “Agribusiness Woman of the Year” award; Ken Moncrief with the 2022 Grant and Mildred Lucas Memorial Award; and Wayne Zipser as “Agribusiness Man of the Year” award.

Their staunch support of agriculture prompted the Ceres Chamber of Commerce to honor Wayne Zipser as “Agribusiness Man of the Year” and Lori Marchy as “Agribusiness Woman of the Year” at Thursday’s annual luncheon.

Ken Moncrief, who is retiring as a Ceres teacher after 34 years, was presented the 2022 Grant and Mildred Lucas Memorial Award.

The Agribusiness of the Year award went to Helena Chemical.

During the annual 35th Agribusiness Luncheon held at Shane Parson’s Diamond Bar Arena south of Ceres, Michelle Reimers, general manager of Turlock Irrigation District, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about ways TID is looking to ensure the delivery of water to local farms.

The event resumed after last being held in 2019 and skipped two years because of the COVID pandemic.

Zipser was presented the “Ag Man of the Year” award after a short biography was read by 2019 recipient Greg VanVooren.

A Ceres resident, Zipser is the executive manager of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau in Modesto. He has been involved with Farm Bureau for over 35 years as a director, officer, president and now executive director. He oversees all operations of SCFB and also is an integral part of the management of the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition.

Wayne was born and raised in Ceres and graduated from Ceres High School in 1972. While at Ceres High School, he was elected as the treasurer of the California State FFA organization. He served the California delegation members and was also awarded the highest honor in FFA – the American Farmer Degree in 1974. He attended Modesto Junior College and Fresno State.

In 1977, Zipser came home to farm with his father and has grown almonds, grapes, peaches and walnuts. In 1981, he formed Zipser Farms, Inc. – a farm management business.

His extensive involvement in agriculture includes serving as Vice President of the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition Board of Directors;  board member and past chairman of the Stanislaus County Agriculture Advisory Board where he helped write the county’s Ag Element; chairing the Stanislaus County Water Committee; serving on the California State FFA Foundation Board of Directors; serving as a Stanislaus County Planning Commissioner; serving as president of the Kiwanis of Greater Turlock and the Modesto Junior College Ag Advisory Board. 

His accomplishments included prevailing in a lawsuit with Stanislaus County vs Building Industry Association regarding farmland mitigation. Zipser also chaired the Stanislaus Water Advisory Committee which helped develop the very first local groundwater ordinance. 

He and wife Sheri have two grown children, Andrea and Vince and grandchildren.

Agribusiness Woman of the Year

Lori Marchy was recognized for being a staunch supporter of agriculture, having spent nearly three decades as an instructor or counselor in ag education, first at Turlock High School and now at Modesto Junior College. She holds a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Education.

“She considers her most personal achievement has been passing the passion of 4-H, FFA and the agriculture industry down to her three sons,” said Brandy Meyer who presented the “Agribusiness Woman of the Year” award. “This passion extends beyond her own children as she encourages her students and young adults to become active in the field of agriculture. Today, she enjoys helping 4-H and FFA members with their animals and working at our local fair to ensure the livestock shows continue and members receive a premium for their livestock.”

Marchy has said that one of her greatest feelings of professional achievement occurs when students return years later to let her know that she made a difference in their lives.

“Knowing that she can make a difference in their life-long careers by helping them get a job or choosing their next college is a great reward for her,” said Meyer of Marchy.

The three sons of Lori and Bob (her husband of 24 years) are all active in agriculture, having graduated or still attending school in the Midwest.

Grant and Mildred Lucas Memorial Award

Ken Moncrief, who is retiring as a Ceres teacher after 34 years, was presented the 2022 Grant and Mildred Lucas Memorial Award.

“During this time, he has shared his love of agriculture with thousands of students, many of which have gone on to careers in agriculture in our community,” said presenter Brandy Meyer. “Ken’s passion and commitment to the community are evident in everything he does, but it was especially apparent in the development of the Hidahl site school farm. Ken campaigned tirelessly to upgrade the old school farm on Blaker Road and when he was asked if he wanted to help build the new school farm in 2010, he jumped into the project with both feet.”

The state-of-the-art school farm was completed in 2020, made possible with his guidance and leadership. The Ken Moncrief Agricultural Center was named in his honor at a recent ribbon cutting event.

This Ag Center not only grows the vegetables served in Ceres schools, it teaches students how to raise and care for animals, and how to grow and maintain trees, vines and various produce.

“This all started with Ken and his vision for Ceres,” said Meyer.

Ken Moncrief offered an update on the Ken Moncrief Agricultural Center, the Ceres Unified School District’s student farm.

Agribusiness of the Year

Renee Ledbetter, executive director of the Chamber, introduced Helena Chemical as the Chamber’s 2022 Agribusiness of the Year. Headquartered in Collierville, Tenn., the company has close to 6,000 employees who work in over 500 branches and division offices, including one in Ceres at 312 W. Service Road.

Helena Agri-Enterprises deals in fertilizer, seed, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and other products that enhance plant production, soil and water used in spraying operations. Helena also offers a wide variety of services for agricultural and non-crop specialty markets that include custom seed treating service, product delivery services, custom application, fertilizer services, plant tissue testing and soil testing services, field mapping, financial services, range and pasture services, crop insurance and  agronomic consultation and advice.


A feature of the banquet is presenting $500 scholarship awards to local high school students. The following recipients were unable to attend the event because they were on their Senior Disneyland trip: Guillermo Garibay and Jose Granados of Central Valley High School; and Ignacio Jimenez-Raya and Ian Wilson of Ceres High School.

Sponsors for the event were Diamond Bar Arena’s Shane and Kim Parson, American Ag Credit, Assemblyman Adam Gray, Ron Baram, Bill Berryhill, Blaker Brewing, Ceres Unified School District, Children’s Crisis Center, City of Ceres, Cost Less Foods, Flawless Salon, InsureCal Insurance, the Marchy family, Meyer CPR & First Aid, Senator Ana Caballero, Stanislaus Farm Bureau, Steel Ventures, the Stokman family, Turlock Irrigation District, Vilas Farms, Yosemite Farm Credit and the Zipser family.

Reimers speaks
Michelle Reimers of Turlock Irrigation District speaks at the Chamber's Agribusiness Luncheon at Diamond Bar Arena southwest of Ceres.