The California Poultry Federation 2017 Annual Conference, attended by industry leaders, decision makers and affiliates, honored industry members and supporters at their recent meeting September 21 and 22 in Monterey, California. The 2017 Conference and Meeting was held at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and enjoyed the greatest number of attendees over the past two decades.
Each year, the Modesto-based trade association presents awards to the industry’s most outstanding member or supporter, The Golden Rooster Award; the top allied member, The Allied Member of the Year award; and honors an industry pioneer, The Pioneer Award.
The Golden Rooster Award is the California poultry industry’s highest honor. It is meant for an individual–one who has made major contributions to the industry and is an inspiration for all to admire. This year, the CPF Awards Committee unanimously voted to award this coveted distinction to the Honorable Jim Costa, U.S. Representative for California’s 16th congressional district. Congressman Costa is a lifelong resident of the Central Valley and third-generation family farmer. He has been a friend of the California poultry industry almost 30 years, applying his farming background to fighting for Valley water, agriculture and the economy. Costa’s committee assignments allow him to effectively advocate for the industry. He sits on the Natural Resources Committee and the Agriculture Committee, where he fights for the Valley’s fair share of water and works to increase federal support for Valley agriculture through the Farm Bill and other programs. Before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Costa served for 24 years in the California State Legislature.
Golden Rooster Award: (from left) Bill Mattos, President California Poultry Federation, Congressman Jim Costa; David Pitman, Pitman Family Farms and CPF Board Chairman.
The Pioneer Award honors a man, woman and/or company in “recognition of their outstanding contributions and dedication to California’s dynamic poultry industry.” This year, CPF honored one of the United States’ and California’s largest duck companies, Maple Leaf Farms. Maple Leaf Farms was founded by Donald Wentzel in 1958 in northern Indiana, and produced products with “quality you can count on.” Under family leadership, the company made several strategic moves to grow the business and become more vertically integrated, emerging as a market leader. Maple Leaf Farms expanded into California with the acquisition of Woodland Farms, one of the largest California duck producers with live production and processing facilities in southern California. A state-of-the-art duck hatchery was completed in 2001 in the Central Valley, which lead to the expansion of its California hatching and breeding operations. Today, Maple Leaf Farms-West primary mission is to support international and domestic sales of duck breeding stock with customers in California, Europe and Asia.
Pioneer Award: (from left) Brian Lee, Maple Leaf Farms-West, Division Manager; Georgia Beres, Maple Leaf Farms; Dave Beres, Maple Leaf Farms; Dr. Dan Shafer, Maple Leaf Farms; David Pitman, Pitman Family Farms and CPF Chairman
The Allied Member of the Year award is meant for a person for their exceptional service and outstanding contributions to the poultry industry. Allied members help sustain the industry by contributing at meetings and poultry events; their contributions go directly to the promotion and improvement of the poultry industry in the Golden State. This years’ honoree, Todd Weaver, vice president of corporate sales at Shepard Bros.Corp. Todd started his career in the dairy sector at Carnation, Knudson and Foster Farms Dairy, and has since focused heavily on the poultry market. Weaver has been dedicated to working with the board and the industry over the years, and his company has served many poultry companies when times were good and when they have been challenging. His positive upbeat spirit and enthusiasm is also contagious among his colleagues and his clients. Todd is a member of the National Turkey Federation, Institute of Food Technologies, Northwest Chicken Council and the California Dairy Association.
Allied Person of the Year Award: (from left) Todd Weaver, Vice President Corporate Sales Shepard Bros.Corp. and wife Kellie Weaver; David Pitman, Pitman Family Farms and CPF Chairman