A salute to everyone in agriculture and food production
100 Years and Growing: 100 Years and Innovating | 100 Years and Giving | 100 Years and Evolving
Wilbur-Ellis is celebrating National Ag Day (March 23) and National Ag Week (March 21-27) by asking our communities and families to salute those in ag and food production through our 100th Anniversary Giving Program. View shout-outs from our adults’ and kids’ submissions and check our social media feeds below.
Adults’ Giving Program
Please join us in honoring the people who put food on all our tables by posting your message to them.
I want to give a shoutout and salute all US Farmers and their families for the hard work and dedication they have put in day in and day out to supply the US and the world safe, economical produce that meets the US and the world’s ever-changing demand for food supply. Although technological advancements in the agriculture industry have greatly changed the size and scope of operations, family farms and local growers are still the backbone of the agriculture industry!
Growing up on a 5th generation corn & soybean farm in Central Illinois, I was able to experience firsthand the level of hard work and dedication that goes into growing US produce for all to enjoy. To be honest, I didn’t “love” waking up at sunrise and working late into the spring and fall nights with my Dad during planting and harvest, but in that time, I witnessed and learned the core values of farming that have stuck with me to this day: hard work, honesty, family, honoring your commitments and always doing the right thing regardless of the consequences.
Coming from this background, it was a no-brainer for me to head to the University of Illinois in pursuit of an education & potential career in Agriculture. 15 years later, I’ve been able to be a part of some of the world’s leading Agriculture companies and I can’t help but to thank my Dad/family for instilling in me the values that have propelled me through my career path.
Thank you to the indigenous people who are still in the farming and agricultural plantation. I never knew how big cinnamon sticks were until I saw some in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Cinnamon is a very useful spice. Through history, we learn that people travelled from the west to the east to trade spices.
John Thacher, Executive Chairman, Wilbur-Ellis Board of Directors
I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for farmers. The work ethic and values of farmers have been foundational for our country. I was very fortunate to spend over two decades in the wine industry, and I saw firsthand the commitment and innovation from so many growers. Thank you for all of your contributions to our society!
Nicole Wolkenhauer Larson, United States
I am proud to be a born and raised farm kid who is now raising our kids the same way! Thank you to all the farmers big and small, especially those family farms that are dear to my heart.
Karen Carter, United States (Nachurs Alpine Solutions)
I would like to thank all the farmers who work so hard, every day, to keep the people of the world fed. My grandparents were farmers, and my mom inherited their green thumb, but not me. Therefore, I really appreciate all their hard work and amazing talents. God bless all the family farms that continue to pass their skills, love, and gifts to the next generation to keep the process going.
I have always lived in the city, so I when I go back to my parent’s or parent-in-law’s hometown or leisure vacation where I see rural areas where there are plantations or farms, I will get so thrilled. My husband will say I am like a city girl who never seen such places before. I don’t deny it.
I would like to give a shout out to the rice planters in Malaysia for planting rice fields and hill rice. For most Asians, rice is our staple food. Thank you to all the rice planters in Sabah and Sarawak who plant hill rice and rice planters in Kedah, Perlis, Perak, Penang, Kelantan and Terengganu who plant paddy rice.
As my mother often told me from a young age, every grain of rice came with the sweat and hard work of farmers under the sun and rain so I better finish my rice every time.
I wish to recognize and express my thanks to those in the agriculture industry, especially during this last year of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we all know, the impact has been felt by everyone. Despite the many challenges we all faced, those in the agriculture industry kept working to provide for the world. By doing so, that work enabled me to keep my job and have the opportunity to work from home, thus provide for my family! Unlike many displaced workers in other industries, we kept on going and I am ever so grateful!
I grew up in a small city in northern Oklahoma surrounded by wheat fields. I have always been impressed by the self-reliance, no-nonsense problem solving, and entrepreneurship demonstrated by families involved in agriculture.
As a city dweller, my salute to those in agriculture is a simple “wave.” This is a simple gesture practiced in Oklahoma and elsewhere (see note below). It consists of making a slight wave (without lifting the hand from the steering wheel) to an oncoming vehicle on secondary highways and county roads. The most basic purpose is to acknowledge eye contact with an oncoming vehicle. But the wave also provides a shared greeting, acknowledgement of shared purpose and the availability of mutual assistance (if needed).
So today, my wave is also a thank you to all the agricultural producers and processors that provide the products we consume.
In agricultural communities, the wave is a friendly gesture that acknowledges friends and strangers alike. But more and more, I see drivers giving the wave to pedestrians. I walk a lot and I always try to wave back … it would be rude not to. The wave is also pretty common among motorcycle riders. It says ‘I see you, and have a good day.’ So, a big wave to everyone in agriculture and food production. We appreciate what you do!
Jeanne Forbis, United States (Corporate)
Growing up, every summer I’d spend a few weeks at my extended family’s Texas ranch. Wherever you went, you’d see the wave. It reflected the friendliness and mutual support of the people in those farming and ranching communities. They work very hard to put food on our tables, and I thank them.
Our first calf heifer Marley and her bull calf Ziggy. The beauty of spring, the signs of God’s work and the pleasures of farm life.
Curtis Cabezut, United States
Thank you to our great American farmers. I’m in the Ag Community. I thank you for your service to the world.
Mark Ripato, President, Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness
I’d like to give a big shout-out to our grower partners. Wilbur-Ellis wants you to know how much you’re appreciated, both as customers and for the essential work you do to provide food for the rest of us. According to the American Farm Bureau, one U.S. farm feeds 166 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. Growers work long hours and face tremendous uncertainties – especially in a year like 2020, when the pandemic created many new challenges. Since the pandemic began, the accomplishments of the agriculture and food production industries have been truly astounding.
Anne Cleary, Global VP, Human Resources (Corporate)
I grew up in Nebraska, where agriculture and food production are very important industries. They’re so important that back in 1902, when the University of Nebraska was looking for a name for its football team, the “Cornhuskers” was chosen. The name recognizes the strong agricultural roots in the state. In fact, corn is Nebraska’s No. 1 crop, with a lot of it going to feed cattle and hogs. So, to all the growers in Nebraska and around the world, thank you for keeping people and animals fed. As we celebrate National Ag Day and Week in March, we’re really celebrating the hard work you do every day!
Robert O'Shaughnessy, United States
I want to recognize my late grandfather, who was a large animal veterinarian in County Limerick, Ireland. Through the stories I’ve been told, I learned that he played a vital role in the community, helping farmers keep their livestock healthy. This was rural Ireland, where agriculture was, and still is, the main industry. So thank you to all the veterinarians who work with livestock, your hard work and dedication is appreciated.
Heather Lang is someone who is important to me as a friend and keeping me grounded in ag. She is important to food production as her family raises pigs and beef for food sales. She is important to ag as a representative of NDFB and AFBF. She has come out of her shell in the past 6 years and really jumped into fighting for ag and showing its reality and positivity. Shout out to her amazing talents and abilities!
There are so many hardworking people that grow and prepare the food and products we use and enjoy daily! That is a huge job and often times a thankless one as well.
So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to everyone in the agriculture industries that work so hard to grow and prepare the products that feed America.
And, although not a food product, one of my favorite agricultural products to enjoy in my neck of the woods are tulips. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, Oregon, is a place I have visited many times and I am always in awe of the beauty and scale of agriculture on this farm. I want to say a special thank you to this farm for creating a wonderful experience for people to enjoy.
Peggy Saling, United States (Nutrition)
I want to put a big thank you out to all the dairy farmers in America. I grew up on a Grade A Dairy farm and I know how much hard work goes into it. The long days and short nights.
John Buckley, Wilbur-Ellis President and CEO
I’d like to thank agriculture and food production workers worldwide. The global population of nearly 8 billion people is expected to increase by 2 billion by 2050. That means growers will need to produce substantially more food to meet the increasing demand. Feeding the world is a global challenge, and at Wilbur-Ellis we’re proud to support our customers, who put food on all our tables.
Azita Owlia, President and CEO, Connell, a Wilbur-Ellis division
This month, as we express our gratitude for those who work in agriculture and food production, I would like to recognize the people from all over the world who provide essential nutrition for us to thrive. To those who are part of any aspect of the food production infrastructure, we thank you for all that you do and recognize the essential role you play in society.
My 93-year-old uncle just finished his memoirs (he spent 60+ years in Bolivia as a missionary priest and has some amazing photos and stories) that began in the tiny town of Merna, Illinois, outside Bloomington. In the memoirs, he (pictured center) recounts his early life on the farm with my dad, their 8 siblings and my grandparents (top right). We spent many happy times over the years on that farm and in the farm house (see other images), and so I’m honoring my grandparents for maintaining the farm, even during the Depression and during WWII, and my uncle for sharing these photos!
Shoutout to Kim and Ann Sealey, who own and run Milky Way Farms, a fourth-generation family farm in Troy, PA. A job with no rest nor time off is always challenging, but they do it with humor and class – a true testament to their dedication.
Nick Braden, United States (Nutrition)
Thank you to the farmers, those who support farmers, food production teams, pet food production teams and those supporting the ag supply chain as they help feed our families and our fur babies. It’s not always easy or glamorous but it is always necessary to sustain life. We appreciate you.
Kristy Roy, United States (Agribusiness)
I’d like to salute and thank women in agriculture.
43% of U.S. farmland—nearly 388 million acres— is now farmed or co-farmed by women.
To founding farmer Sarah Frey of Frey Farms, who says in her book The Growing Season, “When I started my business at age sixteen, most days I wore jeans, work boots, and a baseball cap. People said, ‘How can she be a businesswoman dressed like that?’ Now when I wear heels and a skirt, people say, ‘How can she be a farmer?’”
To Women in Agribusiness at womeninag.com who holds summits, now in its tenth year, to “nurture a recognized agribusiness community where the sharing of business knowledge and industry innovations is at the forefront of helping women excel in the sector.”
To Rebecca Wilson and Lizzie McLaughlin, who spearhead the ‘Boots and Heels – In Our Shoes’ podcast.
To the agricultural organizations in the United States that exist for women and are run by women: American Agri-Women, American National CattleWomen, Annie’s Project, California Women for Agriculture, Country Women’s Council, National Women in Ag’s Association, Women, Food and Agriculture Network.
To Wilbur-Ellis Company, who supports and promotes the Women of Wilbur-Ellis employee resource group.
Lastly, to the Women of Wilbur-Ellis. Thank you for your support, education, and fun. Thank you for hosting events developed to further careers. Thank you for the free webinars covering subjects such as leadership, diversity, mentorship, and life skills. Mostly, and finally, thank you for the Core Team leaders, the Chapters, and the Members who make it great.
I’m giving a shoutout to all of the essential workers at Bolthouse Farms who have been working hard throughout the pandemic to keep delivering healthy food to tables across the country.
Michael Hunter, Wilbur-Ellis Chief Financial Officer
For nearly a century, Wilbur-Ellis has partnered with customers and suppliers who work in agriculture and food production. Not only are these people vital to our business, they’re also vital to providing food for the world. It seems that everybody in these essential industries has been working extra hard since the start of COVID-19. We see the many hours they are devoting to their work, and we thank them for feeding our families and our communities.
Jeff Barnes, President and CEO, Nachurs Alpine Solutions, a Wilbur-Ellis subsidiary
In honor of National Ag Day (March 23) and National Ag Week (March 21-27), Wilbur-Ellis and Nachurs Alpine Solutions are celebrating our customers, who put food on the table every day. Nachurs Alpine Solutions and our distribution partners work closely with growers, and we thank them for their business and their continued contributions to the food supply.
Andrew Loder, President, Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition
Thank you to all the milk, meat, egg and pet food producers who keep people and animals nourished. Today, the agriculture and food production industries are extremely efficient and productive thanks to the many innovations and nutritional advances in the industry. From livestock producers to those who produce aquaculture to the people who manufacture pet food, these are Wilbur-Ellis customers, and we’re proud to work with them to ensure we have a safe, reliable food supply and animals that thrive.
I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the farmers who grow fruit and vegetables. Thank you farmers for pushing through the hard times and making it possible. Without you we would have a hard time eating natural foods. Thank you once again.
I want to say a special thank you to all the Australian farmers since they’ve been working really hard to provide us with food. I can’t imagine how much time and effort they must put into supplying everyone with fresh food. Without any of their time and commitment I wouldn’t be able to eat anything that I love. The farmers have been working very hard through the droughts, bush fires and COVID-19. I just wanted to say a very big thank you to all of them for their unending sacrifices.
Every year I go strawberry picking with my family, but last year because of Covid I wasn’t able to. But the farmers kept on going, they kept on supplying fruits, vegetables and meats to the local supermarkets throughout the whole of Australia.
Sophie and Sienna made a diorama of a farm, adding their favorite farm animals and pictures of their favorite foods!
“Farms are good for our environment and good for us to have food to eat. I would ask at the farm about the animals and how they grow the food and tell them thank you. I grew vegetables inside (using a root-view kids kit), but they died. My favorite foods are carrots, strawberries, apples, and bananas. I love black beans and corn! I really like strawberries with whipped cream!! My favorite animals are pigs, horses, foals, baby pigs, ducks and that’s it.” — Sophie Marrugo, age 6
“I really like the cat on the farm and eating pancakes. I don’t like corn.” — Sienna Marrugo, age 4
No foods no growth, no energy and no fun day for me. Really thank you for being a farmer to provide foods to our community. I enjoy eating my favorite foods grown by you without wasting the foods & it tastes so fresh too. At the same time, I also want to thank my grandparents & parents who cook delicious meals every day to keep me growing healthy & happily.
Farmers, thank you for taking good care of your vegetables and fruits. Because you have worked hard at the farm, I get to enjoy yummy papayas, mangoes, apples and oranges. But, I have to eat my broccolis too. You can plant less of that next time.
I would like to thank the food scientists and people who have worked hard to research and develop new ways to grow crops productively, create healthier and more nutritious food, while making them affordable for all to enjoy. I think it is important to continue to innovate in food production as the world population keeps growing and land becomes scarce.
My family is in a class where we’re learning about growing food. We have some onions and strawberries growing, and a couple of beans too. I also have a little Venus fly trap I’m growing, but that’s not actually food you can eat. I know that keeping my plants alive is a very difficult job. But you do it perfectly using hard work! I am grateful for your determination. Thanks to you I have apples to eat, and broccoli to love. I really like broccoli, and I go pick around in the fridge for some leftovers. As you know, food is very important. So, thank you for providing it for me.
I want to thank the farmers in our country because most people don’t really appreciate just how much work they put into it and just how much food we get from farms. When people think about farm food they usually think about things like carrots and potatoes and sometimes tomatoes. But the truth is, most of the food that you eat came from a farm. For example, a burger, you probably think that the tomato slices and onion rings are the only things that came from a farm. Actually, everything on your burger and in your burger, came from a farm. The beef for the patty came from a farm, the wheat for the bun came from a farm, the lettuce came from a farm, cheese comes from dairy farms. The mayonnaise also comes from farms because the eggs and the vegetable oil used to make mayonnaise comes from farms. Even some of what’s in the ketchup comes from farms – tomatoes! Last, but certainly not least, all of your mustard is made from mustard seeds, which farms grow! If farmers didn’t do what they do, I wouldn’t be able to eat a delicious burger. So, I thank all of them for all their hard work and dedication.
– Jay Hansen
I’m very grateful for people who run orchards and grow fruit. I love to eat apples and cherries which are both grown locally in the Tri-Cities where I live. My dad sometimes does professional photography and takes beautiful pictures of huge orchards of cherry or apple trees, as well as vineyards and other fields that are grown around here. In the fall, my family almost always visits one of the local farms where we get to pick our own fruit, and even make apple cider. Biting into fresh cherries is one of my favorite things, and I’m very grateful for the people who grow them.
My grandfather is a farmer. When we visit grandfather’s farm, I always step in and help. Experience the sweat and work under the sun makes me more appreciative of what we have. Thanks to my grandfather for planting a lot of organic fruit. We have mulberry, papaya, durian, guava, banana, grape and a mango tree at the farm. Among all of this, mulberry is my favorite fruit. I love mulberry so much!
Thanks to the people who make our food and catch it. I like tri-tip and that is what we are having tonight with my cousin Micah and his mom. I don’t know what animal it comes from though. Thank you to the people that hunt whatever animal it is.
I love you, everyone. And thank you for getting us some grocery. I love to have some. By the way, I was hoping I was doing the Wilbur-Ellis question from here so I could help and give you a thank you note. We should spend time together and have a great day. So, keep doing your jobs and earning money! Soon you could buy a kindle and groceries! I like how you have been growing stuff, so I really wanted to show this message to you. This is the only one that I could help you with and I’m about to end this sentence and I’m going to say buh-bye and spell my name. And also, sometimes I think you could play at our house with me. And I really wanted you to have this message. Thank you for growing food and groceries!! Buh-Bye
So, fishing people, I love you and I hope you can keep doing your job and sell a lot of fish. Keep selling fish! Goodbye!
Thank you to people who grow onions because I love it. And thank you to people who grow watermelons because it’s really cool making watermelon. Thank you to people who grow carrots because I LOVE carrots and I want to pick carrots up and eat them. I want to cook them and make chicken noodle soup. I also feed carrots to our bunnies. Growing food is important. I’m coloring a picture of fish and people catching them. I love fishing and it’s special that people catch meat to sell in the store.
This is a picture of my mommy holding cake and pizza because we love to eat cake and pizza, but we only get to eat it on pizza movie night. Thank you to mommy, daddy, and my grandparents (especially grandpa because he is a farmer) for making food.
This picture is of me making mashed potatoes and the other person is my mommy making hot soup. Thank you to: chefs, bakers, mommies and daddies (and myself!) for making food because it is so yummy. My favorite food is spaghetti because it’s yummy and I like it.
I would like to thank all the food producers for producing food for us. I think growing food is important so that the world does not starve and we can get nutrition from the foods. I always help my parents prepare and cook the food. I help my parents to wash and cut the vegetables. I also help to cook some simple dishes such as fried eggs and vegetables. Every Saturday, my parents will go to the morning market and buy food to support farmers. We do not waste the food, we always finish it.