Joe Del Bosque, the west-side farmer who gave President Barack Obama a tour of his drought-stricken land last year, will be honored Wednesday, Oct. 28 as the 2015 Agriculturist of the Year by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce.
Hall Management Corp. of Kerman was named recipient of Baker Peterson Franklin’s Ag Business Award.
The awards were announced Oct. 9 during The Big Fresno Fair. The annual Agricultural Awards Luncheon is Wednesday at DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Fresno.
The awards recognize leadership, integrity, service and entrepreneurship in the region’s agriculture business community.
Founded in 1985, Empresas Del Bosque Inc. began as a small operation led by Del Bosque and his wife, Maria. Today, the Firebaugh-area grower has built a company that farms cantaloupes – conventional and organic – along with organic honeydew, asparagus and almonds.
Del Bosque has become one of California agriculture’s leading spokesmen and advocates. He has served on the California Water Commission since 2010 and is a supporter of the Latino Water Coalition.
Last year, Del Bosque hosted a visit to his farm by Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown to give the leaders a closer look at how the drought was affecting the state.
Del Bosque also routinely hosts visitors to his farm to help educate them about farming.
“We live and work in the greatest agriculture area of the world, and to be named as agriculturist of the year is truly quite an honor,” Del Bosque said.
Also honored Friday was Hall Management Corp. The Kerman-based farm labor contractor was founded in 1964 by Earl Hall.
The company has become one of the largest of its kind in the state, operating in 26 counties and employing up to 25,000 workers at peak harvest.
Hall said the key to creating a successful company is to surround yourself with talented people, from the field workers to his managers.
“I can only do so much with my two hands,” Hall said. “But when you have thousands of pairs of hands, you can do so much more. And that is what this company has done.”