On Apr. 11, Yolo County rancher Hank Stone was given the livestock man of the year award during Friday night’s performance of the Grand National Rodeo at the Cow Palace in Daly City, Calif.
“The livestock man of the year award is one of the most prestigious awards that only one person gets each year,” said executive vice president of the California Cattlemen’s Association, Matt Byrne.
Stone, who has been a rancher for 60 years, has owned and worked on his family ranch, Yolo Land & Cattle Co. for the past 20 years. He is a 30-year member of the California Cattlemen’s Association and has served on the board of directors for the California Beef Cattle Improvement Association for 20 years. Additionally, he has served on the livestock development board at UC Davis and currently is serving on the animal science committee at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
All of the aforementioned accomplishments are contributing factors to why he was named livestock man of the year, Byrne said.
“Hank’s commitment to working with young people, his work at Cal Poly and his devotion to the California Beef Cattle Association really separated him from other ranchers,” Byrne said.
To determine who receives the livestock man of the year award, past recipients meet once a year to nominate and vote on members of the industry.
“It’s a great honor because you are picked by your peers,” Stone said. “As far as it goes in the livestock business, it’s the greatest honor you can get.”
According to Jim Van Maren, a planner of the Grand National Rodeo and Stock show, the decision isn’t taken lightly; there is an extensive 3-page list of requirements that the winner of the award must fulfill on both state and local levels.
“The individuals who get the award are deeply involved in their local home community, not just the livestock industry,” Van Maren said. “Hank certainly did that.”
Stone and his family have done work around the state in additional to local work, Byrne said.
“Hank and his family have been great examples of the things that ranchers around the state do every day in terms of environmental stewardship and care and protection of land and cattle,” Byrne said. “Hank has contributed greatly to the improvement of cattle breeds he works with.”
According to Yolo Land & Cattle Co.’s website, the ranch features a tour that not only allows visitors to see the ranch cowboys work, but it also teaches the guests about what they have done to improve the ranch ecosystem while still maintaining economic viability. The tour ends with an authentic Western beef barbeque with “all the home-cooked trimmings.” For more information about the ranch and tours, visit yololandandcattle.com.
ALEX BULLER can be reached at email@example.com. XXX.