Trio honored with lifetime ag awards

POLK COUNTY -- Three Polk County residents have been honored for their lifetime of service to Oregon's agriculture and natural resources.

POLK COUNTY -- Three Polk County residents have been honored for their lifetime of service to Oregon's agriculture and natural resources.

Emmy Domes of Rickreall, Ken Brown of Dallas and Bernie Faber of West Salem were presented with Oregon State University's College of Agricultural Sciences Diamond Pioneer Agriculture Career Achievement awards in a presentation last month.

The award recognized achievements of people age 74 or older who were pioneers in an area of Oregon's agriculture or natural resources.

Domes was one of the founding members of Oregon Women for Agriculture and Polk County Women for Agriculture. She's been active in agriculture for decades, whether it be work on her farm, being a 4-H leader when her children were young, or working the Women for Agriculture booth at the Oregon State Fair.

"I was very happy," Domes said. "I felt very humble that they would honor me."

Domes was born in Polk County and has lived on her family's farm on Oak Grove Road with her husband, Bill, for 60 years.

Over the years, the Domes' family farm has raised sheep and grown wheat, grass seed and clover. Domes still works on the farm when she can.

"The combine is my favorite piece of equipment," she said. "I will drive it as long as I can crawl up the ladder."

Brown, who moved to Polk County in 1963, worked as the horticultural agent for OSU Extension in Polk and Marion counties, researching improvements in irrigation and berry, wine grape and Christmas tree farming.

"His boots-on-the-ground approach to Extension education has had measurable influence on the development of Willamette Valley wine grapes, berries, Christmas trees, tree fruits and farm forestry," read Brown's nomination, submitted by present and former Extension staff members John Burt, Roger Fletcher and Gene Pirelli.

In 1979, Brown planted the first Christmas trees at what would become Westwinds Farms on Fir Villa Road in Dallas. The farm specializes in Noble, Douglas and Nordman fir trees.

He has earned many awards for his research into Christmas trees, berries and service through Extension.

"It's a nice honor," Brown said of his latest recognition. "A nice occasion. I really appreciate being recognized."

Faber, who operates Cal-Gon Dairy in West Salem, has been a dairy farmer in Oregon for more than four decades. Faber serves on the Oregon State Board of Agriculture and has been involved with many other organizations, including the Governor's Dairy Task Force, Oregon Dairy Products Commission and Oregon Dairy Farmers Association.

In addition, Faber works with PGE to operate a cow manure digester on his farm to convert methane gas into energy. It produces enough energy to power a 100-kilowatt generator.


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