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Zipser given ag honors
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Wayne Zipser, a Ceres native who has for decades championed the cause of agriculture in Stanislaus County and the state, was honored as the "Agribusinessman of the Year" at least week's 26th annual Ceres Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Luncheon.

The event was held Tuesday, May 24 in Harvest Hall of the Stanislaus County Agriucultural Center at the corner of Service and Crowslanding roads.

"What a great honor," said Zipser. "I'm almost speechless."

He went on to express his enthusiasm for the future of agriculture, buoyed by the presence of older farmers and the Central Valley High School FFA team headed up by next year's president, Katy Gaede.

"We get inspired when we see a 9-year-old 4-H student take her first lamb or first pig or first goat into the show ring and be able to go through that process. I'm inspired by the folks sitting here, the FFA kids. Katy, you have a great job ahead of you. You're going to represent 600 young men and women in your organization and lead them through their leadership process ... and to the ag teachers ... your industry that teach our young people the leadership skills that lead our industry into the future."

He also said he was inspired by Ceres farmer Grant Lucas, who is turning 89 is "looking forward to his next harvest."

Ceres born and raised, Zipser attended Ceres High School and was elected treasurer of the California State FFA organization. After graduating from Ceres High School in 1972, Zipser was given the prestigious American Farmer degree within the FFA organization. He went on to study at Modesto Junior College and earned a degree in agriculturibusiness from Fresno State University. In 1977 Zipser returned home to farm with his father, growing almonds, peaches and walnuts.

In 1981 he formed a farm management business which manages over 1,000 acres of almonds in Stanislaus and Merced counties. He then became involved with the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau in 1989, becoming a director and then serving as president from 1998 to 2000. In 2003 Zipser came back to the Farm Bureau as an executive manager. He now serves as vice president of the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition Board of Directors, and is a board member of the Stanislaus County Agricultural Advisory Board where he spearheaded the county's Ag Element through the political process.

Zipser also serves as a board member on the California State FFA Foundation Board of Directors. A member of the Turlock Kiwanis Club, Zipser finds time to serve on the MJC Ag Advisory Board.

The event also included a short summary of the activities of the Ceres Unified School District agriculture program.

Special guests at the program were Ken Moncrief and Jessica Bishop, ag teachers at Central Valley High School. They took turns explaining that the ag program at CVHS is thriving.

Moncrief explained that about 50 percent of the school's 600 students are touched by the ag program in one form or another. He noted that Ceres High School is rebuilding its ag program through the efforts of teacher Mike Patterson who oversees mechanical engineers and ag welding shops.

Outgoing FFA president Cherise Azevedo said her chapter has been involved in many community activities throughout the year, including canned food drives and helping a family during the holidays.

Katy Gaede spoke about all the conferences offered to FFA members throughout the year which "expand their horizons."

Gaede was elected to office in the FFA Region which covers the area between Merced and Sacramento.

Three FFA students were presented with $500 scholarships - Allysen Wood, Cherise Azevedo and Cheyenne Adney.