December 5, 2016, Fort Collins, Colorado – It is tradition for the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers (CAWG), Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC), and the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation (CWRF) to present Colorado Wheat awards when someone has provided exceptional service to Colorado wheat producers. At the Colorado Wheat awards banquet on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at the Longmeadow Event Center in Wiggins, Colorado, three awards were given.
2016 CAWG Friend of Wheat – Randy Traxler
Randy Traxler was born and raised in Otis, Colorado. Growing up on his family’s diversified crop farm, his passion and commitment to agriculture runs deep. He graduated from Colorado State University in 1981, with a Bachelor’s degree in what was then Vocational Agriculture Education. His degree took him to Fowler, Kansas, where he was an agriculture instructor and FFA advisor from 1981-1985. For the next three years, he worked at Steamboat Springs Ski Corporation before returning to Otis to farm with his father in 1988. In the mid-2000s, Traxler was asked to step into leadership roles within the Colorado Wheat organizations. Mentored by Larry Paulser, Traxler began his service as the Washington County Colorado Association of Wheat Growers (CAWG) representative. He quickly made his way through the officer slate, and served as CAWG president first in 2011-2012, and then 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and is currently serving CAWG as Past President. Under Traxler’s leadership, CAWG grew into an effective lobbying organization. Now a respected voice and driving force on Colorado’s Capitol Hill, CAWG has helped to draft, lobby for, and pass crucial legislation to agriculture. When asked what one of his proudest accomplishments for CAWG is, Traxler said being a part of passing the state sales and use tax exemption for agricultural production, passed in 2011, is number one on his list. While CAWG has come a long way in its mission of making Colorado wheat farmers’ voices heard, Traxler says that becoming complacent in CAWG’s position is not an option. Going forward, Traxler is focused on ensuring that CAWG continues to be an active presence in local, state, and federal policymaking efforts, and especially broadcasting agriculture’s message far and wide. “Everyone eats – our job is to no longer just to provide food, but to provide the knowledge and security of safety, environmental stewardship, and true passion for what we do for our customers by sharing our agriculture stories, and help them enjoy what they eat.” Randy Traxler is a true friend of Colorado wheat growers.
2016 CWAC Wheat Industry Person of the Year – Darrell Hanavan
Darrell Hanavan served as the Colorado Wheat organizations’ Executive Director for 34 years upon his retirement on February 11, 2016. Accomplishments under Hanavan’s leadership include successful campaigns for the passage of farmer referendums to double the wheat assessment in 1988 and 2007. He played a role in the organization of CWRF in 1989 and subsequent agreements with Colorado State University (CSU) giving ownership of CSU-developed wheat varieties and novel traits to CWRF, and increasing Colorado market share of CSU-developed varieties owned by CWRF to over 71 percent in 2015. Hanavan led early adoption efforts for Clearfield® wheat through a public-private partnership with CSU and BASF. He negotiated a partnership with Ardent Mills for the Ultragrain® premium program for an identity-preserved hard white wheat and helped bring Ardent Mills’ company headquarters to Denver.
2016 CWRF Wheat Innovator of the Year – Tom Holtzer
During Tom Holtzer’s nearly thirty-year career at Colorado State University (CSU) he fostered a legacy that spanned two departments, the Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension. In those capacities, he brought innovation and outside-the-box thinking to the Colorado wheat industry. A champion of collaboration in industry research, Holtzer worked directly with wheat growers and was instrumental in raising the profile of CSU’s wheat breeding program. Whether it was recruiting innovative wheat researchers to join faculty or writing and obtaining grants to directly support the wheat breeding program, Holtzer was instrumental. His solid belief in the Colorado wheat farmer paved the way for helping groundbreaking wheat varieties to capture a foothold in the plains region, where the physical evidence of his support and drive turns the land gold every summer.
“I am proud to represent the Colorado wheat industry in recognizing the leaders in our industry,” said Kim Warner, Colorado Wheat Executive Director. “Each of these award winners have given tirelessly to our Colorado wheat producers to aid in solving the pressing issues of today. On behalf of the farmers and our industry I would like to thank each of them once again.”