PORTLAND -- Dale Buck, a retired dairy farmer from Cloverdale, and Marie Bowers, a Harrisburg grass seed farmer, are this year's Agri-Business Council of Oregon's top award winners.

The two will be honored at the council's Denim and Diamonds banquet, held annually in November.

Buck is the council's 2012 Agriculturist of the Year. Bowers, who is president of Oregon Women for Agriculture, will receive the council's 2012 Ag Connection award.

The agriculturist award honors an individual for work advocating the importance of agriculture to the economic, environmental and social well-being of Oregon.

The connection award recognizes outstanding leadership in connecting the public with agriculture.

Past agriculturist winners include Greg Satrum of Willamette Egg Farms, Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba, dairy farmer Bernie Faber and former Capital Press Editor and Publisher Mike Forrester.

Past recipients of the connection award include Ag in the Classroom, Farmers Ending Hunger and ranchers Doc and Connie Hatfield.

-- Mitch Lies

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