January 14, 2022

WG Member News

By Ann Donahue

John D’Arrigo Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Arizona

CEO and Chairman of the Board for D’Arrigo California John D’Arrigo recently received the prestigious Eugene G. Sander Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Arizona for his leadership and service to the agricultural community and U of A’s Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture (YCEDA).

In 2013, D’Arrigo was one of the founding members of YCEDA, an innovative public-private partnership that connects top scientists with the agricultural industry. Among the issues tackled by the center are increasing production efficiencies through disease and water management, food safety, crop yield maximization and advanced agtech.

“I am honored and humbled to have received the Eugene G. Sander Lifetime Achievement Award,” D’Arrigo said. “My experience working with University of Arizona and YCEDA has been one of the most productive and rewarding public-private partnerships to date. YCEDA is an excellent example of effective and efficient public-private partnership bringing scientific research and the produce industry together to solve real-time agricultural issues experienced in the desert growing regions.”

The award was established in 2011 and is presented to an individual who demonstrates superior performance in activities reflected in the mission of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at U of A.

“We are honored to present John D’Arrigo the Eugene G. Sander Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Shane C. Burgess, Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension for the University of Arizona. “John is one of the true leaders of agriculture in the United States and an invaluable partner to the Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture.”

Gary Pasquinelli Named Arizona Farm Bureau Farmer of the Year

Longtime Pasquinelli Produce Company Owner and CEO Gary Pasquinelli was named the 2021 Arizona Farm Bureau Farmer of the Year, an honor that recognizes his standout achievements as a farmer, leader, innovator and advocate for the vegetable industry.

The award from the Arizona Farm Bureau comes in tandem with the news that Pasquinelli will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Arizona.

Pasquinelli Produce Company, which has been a grower-shipper for more than 70 years, farms 9,000 acres of winter vegetables, seedless watermelons and rotational crops in Yuma County.

Pasquinelli was the longest-serving member of the Western Growers Board of Directors when he stepped down in 2019 after 45 years; he received the Award of Honor, WG’s highest tribute, in 2014. His son-in-law, Alex Muller, now serves on the board and is Pasquinelli Produce Company’s President.

“I believe that the strongest part of my company is the folks out there working in the fields,” Pasquinelli, who was ordained a deacon in the Diocese of Tucson in 1991, said on his company’s website. “Without them, we couldn’t do what we do. They are entrusted to me to take care of. They are God’s children just like I am. They are brothers and sisters, so I have a duty to take care of those folks. My motto has always been: ‘On the face of a dollar bill, you have the image of Washington. On the face of a farm worker, you have God’s image.’”

*pictured above: Gary Pasquinelli was honored for his 45 years of service on Western Growers’ Board of Directors several years ago.