Don Cameron accepts his award from the Fresno Chamber of Commerce Wednesday after being named the agriculturalist of the year. To his left is Jim Marderosian, president and founder of Fowler-based Bee Sweet Citrus, which was named agricultural business of the year. Photo by David Castellon
Written by David Castellon
Although he was named agriculturalist of the year Wednesday by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, Don Cameron started his acceptance speech giving credit to the people who work for him.
“When it comes down to it, it comes down to the people who make your operation run, that make you look good,” said Cameron, vice president of Terra Nova Ranch, a standard-practice and organic farming operation based about 25 miles southwest of Fresno.
The operation grows more than 25 crop varieties, including canning tomatoes, peppers and onions.
Cameron told the crowd gathered for the annual Agricultural Awards Luncheon at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District that he looked a the list of people who received the award in the past, and “I feel very, very privileged to be included with them.
He also noted in his speech that the major constant in the ag industry these days is change.
As such, he said he warns his people to be ready, whether that involves altering irrigation methods or the ways they use pesticides.
A lot of those changes are being driven by lawmakers, many of whom have no idea how farming is done but still are regulating how farmers do their jobs, Cameron warned.
“Regulations are going to continue. It’s not going to get any easier.”
Also during the luncheon, Fresno accounting and consulting firm Baker, Peterson Franklin announced its agricultural business of the year, Fowler-based packinghouse and grower Bee Sweet Citrus.
“It’s hard for me to believe Bee Sweet would be honored like this,” said Jim Marderosian, the company’s president and founder.
The company operates a 400,000-square-foot, state of the art packinghouse that packs about 10 million cartons of fruit annually. Bee Sweet also grows 20 varieties of citrus.
“You know, when we started out, we never had the vision that we would grow as large as we’d grow,” Marderosian said.
He shared Cameron’s analysis about the industry constantly changing, and added that at a certain point of life, you have to give back.
At that point, he also gave credit for the award to the people working for him.
“Bee Sweet was built by the employees, and one thing I’ve tried to do is surround myself with the best people that I could,” Marderosian said. “And I have to take my hat off to all the employees who have been a part of it.”