Cache County dairyman Jeff Gittins, Smithfield, was named top young farmer of the year Friday at the 46th annual State Young Farmer Convention at the Holiday Inn, Provo.
Gittins, a member of the Cache County Young Farmer Chapter, started milking cows for a dairy farmer when he was a boy and bought the farm soon after graduating from high school.He and his wife, Linda, have turned the farm into a prize operation by leveling formerly unusable washes and ravines and building a sprinkler irrigation system.
Two who were named runners-up for the award are Brian Allred, a sheep rancher from Fountain Green, Sanpete County, and a member of the North Sanpete Young Farmer Chapter; and Jarvis Sorenson, Gunnison, Sanpete County, a vegetable farmer and a member of the South Sanpete Chapter.
Allred has 2,500 breeding ewes and is noted for producing high-quality wool. Sorenson raises alfalfa hay and small grains and markets cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, sweet corn and melons to many Wasatch Front grocery stores.
Winner of the state home and farm beautification award was Mel Forsberg, Fielding, Box Elder County, a member of the Bear River Chapter and the owner and operator of Mel's Greenhouses.
Runner-up for the beautification award was Lori Beck, Centerfield, Sanpete County, a member of the South Sanpete Chapter. She and her husband, David, own and operate Beck Family Farms and the Sterling Blond Beef Cattle Co.
South Sanpete Chapter adviser Richard Kjar, Gunnison, and chapter president Danny Bore, Antell, accepted the Chapter of the Year award for their club. Second place went to the Bear River Chapter, with adviser Fred Christensen, Tremonton, and chapter president Tom Munns, Garland, accepting the award.
Clara Stevens, Holden, Millard County, a member of the East Millard County Young Farmers Chapter, won the annual public speaking prize. She and her husband, Bryant, who is president of the State Young Farmer organization, own and operate a dairy farm and beef cattle operation.
Runner-up for the public speaking award was Bruce Christensen, Gunnison, Sanpete County, a cattle rancher and a member of the South Sanpete Young Farmer Chapter.
Paul Peterson, adviser and agriculture specialist for the State Office of Education, sponsor of the young farmer organization, said newly elected state officers for the group include the president, Craig Hawkes, Howell, Box Elder County, a beef rancher and a member of the Bear River Chapter; president elect, Ken Tuttle, Holden, Millard County, an alfalfa hay and small grains farmer and a member of the East Millard Young Farmer Chapter; reporter, Craig Gardener, Honeyville, Box Elder County, a cattleman and member of the Box Elder Chapter; and past president and treasurer, Bryant Stevens, Holden.
Winner of the second annual Merrill C. Fox leadership award was Bill Steele, Lehi, a member of the Timpanogos Chapter and a small-grains and alfalfa hay farmer.