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Chamber to recognize ag standouts
Bronco Winery is being honored by the Chamber on Thursday. The Ceres winery sold drinks at the Ceres Street Faire recently where Paul Huckaba handed a wine slushie to Renee Ledbetter. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier file photo

Four students from Central Valley High School and three local businesses will be among those honored during the Ceres Chamber of Commerce Annual Agribusiness Awards Luncheon set for Thursday, May 29, at the Ceres Community Center. The Chamber will also recognize the Agribusiness Man and Woman of the Year.

Each year, the Chamber's ag scholarship committee reviews many applications and selects high school recipients based on grades, contributions to ag-related activities in and after school, and aspirations of upper education and career direction. This year, Marian Diaz, Hallie Magarite Donart, Ernest Cuevas and Esteban Villafan each will receive a $500 agriculture scholarship from the Ceres Chamber.

Students are recognized for their work in all areas of agricultural studies, some including their help in maintaining the 6.5-acre Ceres Agriculture Center, donated by the Ceres Unified School District. Students working at the Ag Center are in charge of planting, tending and harvesting row crops, fruits and vegetables for the district's Child Nutrition school lunch program.

Three local businesses - Bronco Wine Company, Diamond Bar Arena and Stanislaus Farm Supply - each were nominated for the Chamber's first annual "Agribusiness of the Year" award. The winner will be announced at the event.

Bronco Wine Company, based in Ceres and in business for over 120 years, offers a diverse family of brands sold in over 65 countries worldwide in addition to being distributed throughout the United States. Bronco Wine has become a major varietal wine source to the California wine industry and is currently recognized as the fourth largest winery in the U.S. Bronco is also a major custom bottler for several national wineries. Bronco Wine Company is a contributor to many local events and is one of this year's Ceres Concerts in the Park corporate sponsors.

Diamond Bar Arena is host to many events throughout the year and draws crowds from all over for championship horseshows, riding clinics, barrel races and other riding competitions. Each year Diamond Bar Arena hosts the Imperial Knights Renaissance Festival which benefits the Ceres Unified School District High School athletics programs. Diamond Bar also supports the City of Ceres Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Parade, among other events and local activities throughout the year.

For over 65 years, Stanislaus Farm Supply has been providing products and services to area farmers, helping the Central Valley become the food basket of the world. Through its business, Stanislaus Farm Supply works to improve the financial well-being and quality of life for farmers and ranchers. Stanislaus Farm Supply has established three $1,000 scholarships to benefit students' interest in pursuing a career in agriculture or related fields to make sure the industry of farming continues for generations to come.

Past recipients of the "Agribusiness Man of the Year" and "Agribusiness Woman of the Year" award have selected the recipients of this honor. Those individuals will be publicly announced during the annual event.

The annual luncheon serves as the main fundraiser for the Chamber's ag-related scholarships given to Ceres High School and Central Valley High School students each year. This year's keynote speaker is Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, who will discuss the impact of California's continuing drought and its impact on the state's future economy.

Tickets for the event are $20 and $25 after May 25. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Sponsorship opportunities are still available and information can be found on the Chamber's website at
For more information call the Chamber at 537-2601.