The Agriculture Department recognized the best farmers of the year, one from each of the agency’s eight regions, during a ceremony marking the 60th celebration of “Puerto Rican Earth Week.”
“You have been selected to meet the most self-sacrificing job. What you have accomplished has taken you many years. Good and difficult,” Agriculture Secretary Carlos Flores said.
“You went through Puerto Rico’s most disastrous situation. You are the same or about to be better than before the hurricane,” he said. “Through your tenacity, you decided to push forward. It takes more than two hurricanes to pull you out of agriculture.”
“Farmer of the Year” honors went to: Héctor Torres, owner of the Finca Buen Cosecho in the Naranjito region; in the Lares region, the award went to Carlos Enrique Paoli, owner of Paoli Products Corp.; the Ponce region recognized Ramón Santiago, a farmer with 20 years of experience; while the Arecibo region honored Samuel Rodríguez-Rosa, owner of Vaquería Bayaney Dairy.
The Utuado region recongnized farmer Manuel Omar Adames, while in San Germán recognized farmer Cecilio Vélez for his work in the region; the Caguas super-region celebrated the work of María Teresa Juan, while César Augusto Morales was chosen as farmer of the year in the Mayagüez region.
The farmers “have been selected being examples and models of persistent Puerto Ricans and their great work on our agriculture, which deserves to be highlighted,” Flores said.
The Agriculture Department will continue commemorating “Puerto Rican Earth Week,” with a farmer’s market at its Fernández Juncos Ave. headquarters.