By RACHAL PINKERTON
PASCO — Seven individuals are being inducted into the Ag Hall of Fame this year. The awards are the Mid-Columbia Ag Hall of Fame Pioneer Award, the Rising Star Award, the Agriculture Advisor Award and the Stewardship Award.
“This is the 20th year Hall of Fame honors have been awarded to Mid-Columbia farmers, families and agribusiness leaders in Franklin County and neighboring Mid-Columbia counties,” said a Pasco Chamber of Commerce press release . “The new inductees are being recognized for their outstanding contributions to agriculture and agribusiness.”
The Mid-Columbia Ag Hall of Fame Pioneer Award is being awarded to Jim and Cindy Lancaster and Orvalla Hafer. The Lancasters were raised in Idaho, meeting in Sun Valley after Jim’s return from the Korean War. They were married in 1953. As a veteran, Jim was eligible for the Columbia Basin veterans land draw. They converted Unit 234 Block 20 from a dryland wheat farm into irrigated land in 1961. While Jim farmed, Cindy taught in Othello. She was given the distinguished honor of being named Washington State Teacher of the Year in 1990.
Over the years, the Lancasters have been involved in Franklin County Cattleman’s Association, the Wahluke Water Association, 20-3 Grazing Association, Connell FFA Booster, and 4-H and Basin City Park/Arena. Jim also volunteered for over 30 years for Franklin County Fire District 4.
Hafer was active in the Othello and Adams County area for many years. The Oregon native married Raymond Hafer in 1956. The couple moved to the Columbia Basin with the arrival of water from the Bureau of Reclamation. In 1963, the Hafers sold their first piece of land and purchased 320 acres. That land grew into the Hafer Farms of today.
“Orvalla was a tireless volunteer over the years as a 4-H leader, Adams County Fair Board, Othello Jr. Livestock Sale Association as board member and secretary, founding member of Columbia Basin Jr. Livestock Show and Memorial Garden, Sandhill Crane Festival volunteer, and Cattlewomen’s Association member,” the press release stated.
According to her obituary, Hafer died in 2017. Her husband preceded her in death.
Greg and Shae Frichette are being awarded the Rising Star Award. The award “acknowledges a young individual in the agriculture industry who demonstrates a commitment to community involvement with a dedication to enhance agriculture,” according to the press release.
In 2013, the Frichettes started a winery on Red Mountain, converting an old, unfinished pole building situated on five acres into a tasting room. Since then, the couple has used Frichette Winery to help WSU Tri-Cities students learn about the industry by providing jobs.
The couple met and married in Southern California. They decided to relocate to Washington by the flip of a coin, according to their winery’s website.
“Shae has been active in the community by serving as a board member for the Red Mountain AVA, Visit Tri-Cities, Tri-Cities Chamber, and founder of Benton City Giving Garden,” the press release stated. “Shae has been recognized with the Port of Benton Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and the Athena Award. Shae is also a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities XX.”
This year’s Agriculture Advisor Award is being given to Dennis Munden. Munden was an agricultural education teacher in Kamiakin, Pasco, Riverview, Columbia and Warden high schools. In both 1994 and 1997, He was named the Washington Association of Agriculture Educators Teacher of the Year. He has also received the Crystal Apple Award and had received the National Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association State Winner for Ideas Unlimited and Outstanding Agriculture Program. He has also received other recognitions for his contributions to agricultural education.
Denny Hayden, of Pasco, is the 2020 Stewardship Award recipient.
Hayden grew up on a fruit ranch in Pasco. He attended Washington State University and was in the banking industry for five years before starting to farm on his own. He has been on the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission for more than 20 years and a member of the Cherry Institute Board of Directors for close to 30 years.
Hayden has been honored as the Good Fruit Grower of the Year and as the Cherry King for the Northwest Cherry Industry. He is active in his community and in the Knights of Columbus.
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at email@example.com.