SPOKANE — The Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum has honored two farmers and an FFA chapter for their work in agriculture.
The Excellence in Agriculture Legacy award went to Mead, Wash., farmer Dixie Riddle, honoring his long career as a farmer and his work traveling the globe for Agricultural Cooperative Development International, now a part of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.
The organization works with Third World countries to improve their agriculture. Farmers volunteer to help improve crops and marketing, he said.
“So they’d be in a better spot to buy our products,” Riddle said. “There’s a lot of products they don’t raise but we do, so they need them for their own consumption.”
He also spoke to legislators in Washington, D.C., and Olympia.
“It just made me feel good to be able to do something to help improve the farm economy and get people in the cities to know what we’re doing out on the farm, where their food comes from,” Riddle said. “I think that’s very important.”
Riddle, 84, lives on the farm managed by his son and grandson.
“It meant an awful lot,” Riddle said of the award.
The Excellence in Agriculture Individual Award went to Paul Dashiell of Fairfield, Wash. Dashiell helped develope the “straw bullet,” which can be dropped from the air to reseed areas affected by wildfire.
During his acceptance speech, Dashiell said he thought about his grandfather homesteading in Mt. Hope, Wash., in 1888, land his family still farms. His father was born there in 1919, and will be 99 years old in June. He also thought about his wife, children, brother and sister — and “everybody along the way.”
“It’s been 130 years our family’s been on that farm,” Dashiell said. “All of those people doing what they did all of the years. ... I see the young people up here. It’s nice to see the young faces involved. So thank you very much.”
The Excellence in Agriculture Youth award went to the Goldendale FFA chapter for its community service. The club volunteers in soup kitchens, works at information stations at community events to provide agriculture information, hosts a Women in Welding event, volunteers at the community pool, sponsors food drives, plants flowers and raises and releases salmon.
“(The award) means we’re actually accomplishing something and makes it feel like our chapter can actually get out there, because Goldendale’s kind of a small town, so it doesn’t get a lot of recognition,” said Shyann Richmond, secretary for the chapter and a ninth-grader. “When you are able to get recognized in this big city like this ... I feel like it helps us grow as an officer team.”