Since 1854, the California State Fair has showcased the progress and advancement of the State’s agricultural industry. In celebration of those individuals who have substantially contributed to California’s Agriculture success, the California State Fair is seeking nominations for the 2020 Agriculturalist of the Year. 

The Agriculturalist of the Year award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated leadership and contributed extensively to the agricultural industry in a professional manner. Individuals nominated must have clearly represented the industry over a number of years in one or more of the following areas: finance, government, production agriculture, education, labor, research, communications, trade and public service, regardless of contributions to the California State Fair. 

The California State Fair first began presenting this award in 1980. Most recent awardees include . Secretary Karen Ross (2019), Paul Wenger (2018), Tom Nassif (2017), Sarbjit “Sarb” Johl (2016), Charles D. “Chuck” Ahlem (2015), Craig McNamara (2014), Edward H. Nishio (2013), A.G. Kawamura (2012), Robert “Bob” Gilbert (2011), Bill Lyons, Jr. (2010). 

The 2020 Agriculturalist of the Year nomination form can be found on the California State Fair website under Agricultural Advisory Council ( Nominations can be made from within the industry and the general public. Nomination forms must be emailed, faxed, postmarked or hand delivered by Friday, Jan. 17, to: 

Jay Carlson, Ag Program manager, California Exposition & State Fair, P.O. Box 15649, Sacramento, CA 95852.

People can call 916-263-3109, fax 916-263-7903 or email

The winner of the 2020 Agriculturalist of the Year will be presented at the Friends of the California State Fair Gala on June 25.

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