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January/February 2019 California Bountiful magazine

Picture-perfect days—and nights—on the farm



This year, California Farm Bureau members were asked to "Get the Picture" for the organization's 37th annual photo contest. From winegrape harvest in Napa County to fall roundup in Alpine County, prizewinners provided a clear picture of what it means to be a farmer or rancher in the state today.

First-generation farms are represented, as well as operations handed down through the family. The adults took home prizes of as much as $1,000; the up-and-coming generation (13 and younger) is represented in the Budding Artists category, presented by the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.

Along with cash, everyone received an additional prize: their work in print.

Grand Prize: Andrew Lincoln, Napa County

Lincoln, a winery employee and son of a vineyard manager, is always out with a camera during harvest, in no small part because of the people who make it happen. "Napa Valley would not be what it is without them," he said. He found Armando Reyes harvesting merlot grapes in a Carneros vineyard. "When you're photographing harvest, there are certain people that you're just drawn to, because of their charisma," Lincoln said. "This gentleman was one of those people."

First Place: Andrea Traphagan, Lassen County

Traphagan's husband and son were preparing a field near Ravendale for alfalfa when she caught this sunset shot of Tom, her husband, aboard his tractor. "It's always fun for me to show the beauty of living in the middle of nowhere," Traphagan said. "It's a lot of hard work to put in that kind of a field. They worked into the night."

Second Place: Mindy Rasmussen, Calaveras County

Every summer, Rasmussen's family moves cattle from Angels Camp to Alpine County. Come fall, it's time to round up the herd and head down the mountain. Her husband and his brother, fifth-generation ranchers, are in charge of the ranch. "They're trying to keep the grandfather's legacy going," said Rasmussen, who serves as president of the Calaveras County Farm Bureau.

Third Place: Andrew Lincoln, Napa County

The Carneros region of Napa County is famous for two things, Lincoln said: ideal conditions for growing pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, and the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area. These snowy egrets were found just half a mile down the road from where Lincoln took the grand-prize photo. "For me, it symbolized that nature and agriculture can coexist," he said.

Honorable Mentions

Andrea Traphagan, Lassen County: The entire Traphagan family was hard at work at 3 a.m. baling hay. Here, Traphagan's husband, Tom, checks moisture levels in each bale. "There's an exhilaration in getting up that early and watching all your hard work, everything you've done to this field, all of a sudden come together," she said.

Celeste Alonzo, Riverside County: Alonzo and her brother were fetching equipment for a tractor driver when she spied this view on one of her father's fields near Thermal. "It looked really pretty from the truck, and I just got off and took a picture," Alonzo said.

Chelsea Davis, Fresno County: Davis, the 2016 Budding Artists winner, and her brother Colin, 4, were wandering around the dairy looking for photo opportunities. "Colin wanted to see a calf," Davis said. "He just hopped up to the fence, and he just sat there looking at that. I'm like, 'Oh, my word. Mom, this is a great picture.' So I grabbed my camera and I took a couple of shots."

James Durst, Yolo County: Durst grows organic tomatoes near Esparto; in his fields are rows of flowers and other plants meant to attract beneficial insects. He managed to capture this photo of a bee visiting a phacelia plant using a smartphone. "This guy was on the flower, and just as he started to take off, I was able to snap his picture," Durst said.

Nicole Andreini, Glenn County: It's never too early to help on the farm. Andreini's son, Joey, and her father, Mike Landini, were putting out minerals for the cows in preparation for calving season one day. "Joey was helping open bags and Grandpa was dumping them in seed buckets," Andreini said.

Wendy Sylvester, San Luis Obispo County: No, this isn't staged. Sylvester was moving goat fencing when Opal, her German shorthair pointer and goat herder, hopped up on a recently made bale of oat hay. "I turn around, and all by herself she had jumped up on the top of this bale and was just kind of surveying everything around us," Sylvester said. "I just grabbed my phone and took a picture really fast."

Budding Artists

First Place: Dottie Davis, 10 years old, Glenn County

Dottie was walking around the family hay farm near Orland one evening thinking about contest entries. "I saw that sight, and I ran to get my mom's phone to take the picture," she said. How does she feel about winning for the first time? "Excited," Dottie said. "Really, really excited." She'll be the sixth generation of farmers. "We come from a long line of agriculture," said her mom, Rachel Davis, whose mother and aunts raise cattle.

Second Place: Kyle Radich, 13 years old, Mendocino County

"You know those close-up pictures of dogs, with their noses in the camera?" Kyle said. "That's what I was inspired by." This eager goat was at the trough, where the animals eat apples and hay. The family—Kyle's parents are first-generation farmers—raises ducks, lambs, rabbits and a variety of crops in addition to goats in Point Arena.


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