Log in Subscribe

Farm City Week 2020 Like No Other!

MANATEE COUNTY – The 2020 Manatee County Farm City Week Celebration will be held in a Ômostly virtual’ environment. Like many other events that are part of the community’s history, local planners are adjusting the schedule and the manner in which program content is delivered while holding on to the traditions important to the celebration of Manatee County’s agricultural heritage and economic importance.

Naming the Agriculturalist of the Year has been a long-standing tradition during the annual Farm City Week Luncheon hosted by the Bradenton Kiwanis since the first was named in 1967. In 2020, there will be no Kiwanis Luncheon due to Covid-19, but the club will host a virtual Farm City Week Program on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from noon to 1:00 pm. During the program, several agriculture leaders will be recognized for their lifetime contributions to the industry and service to our community.

Typically, the name of the Manatee County Agriculturalist of the Year is kept secret until the recipient is surprised at the Bradenton Kiwanis Farm City Week Luncheon. In 2020, planners felt it necessary to share the good news a little early due to the Covid-19 safety procedures and protocols necessary to conduct the program.

Mr. Hansel "Cully“ Rowell will be named the 2020 Manatee County Agriculturalist of the Year. Rowell is a native of Manatee County, born near Tallevast, he attended Walker Junior High School and graduated from Manatee High School. He and his wife Donna live in Myakka City, they are parents to daughter Cynthia Chandler and son Timothy Rowell. Rowell retired from Florida Power and Light Company but has a deep, lifelong connection to Manatee County agriculture as a rancher, historian, and advocate for youth.

Rowell is frequently found volunteering behind a grill as part of the Lakewood Ranch Future Farmers of America (FFA) Grill Team which is well known in the area for fabulous BBQ dinners. The meals served provide donations that support the work of the FFA Chapter. Rowell has become the local agriculture historian. One of his projects has been protecting an old map that identifies ranch properties in the 1940s & 50s.

Rowell has researched many of the families and gathered stories on as many as possible. He has shared the map at the Manatee County Agricultural Museum and during the County Fair in hopes that descendants would be able to contribute to the history. Rowell is a past president of the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association, active in Manatee County Farm Bureau and volunteers with the Manatee River Fair Association.

The Bradenton Kiwanis Farm City Week Program will also recognize three Myakka City dairy farmers as they are inducted into the Manatee County Agricultural Hall of Fame. Brothers, Cameron, Jerry, and Farren (posthumously) Dakin. The Dakin brothers are similar in their support of the community. All focused on youth education while sharing their love of agriculture and are being inducted on their individual contributions. A separate Hall of Fame luncheon will not be held this year.

Cameron O. Dakin was born in Livermore Falls, Maine in 1952. He and his wife Sondra raised four sons Jason, Garrett, Grant and Ethan. Noteworthy contributions to agriculture include support of 4-H and FFA programs including providing dairy animals to local youth for use in their animal projects. Youth learn responsibility, budgeting, public speaking, presentation, and other life skills while caring for and showing dairy animals at local fairs and other events. He is an active member at Bayside Community Church and has received Partners in Education Awards for his support of FFA and agriculture education in local schools.

Jerry L. Dakin was born in Bradenton after the family moved to Florida. He is married to Karen Espinola and they are parents to daughter Alexandra. Jerry Dakin Dairy was established in 1988 on his father’s farm in Parrish and in 2001, he moved his farming operation to Myakka City. In 2005, Jerry and Karen began processing their milk and in 2009 started hosting farm tours. Now named Dakin Dairy Farms, they have educated thousands of Manatee County schoolchildren and numerous adults about the dairy industry, farm life, and the challenges of farming today. Jerry is an active member of Bayside Community Church, Manatee County Farm Bureau and is supportive of 4-H and FFA. The Dakins are also known for their generous contribution of milk given to food kitchens.

Farren R. Dakin was born in Livermore, Maine in 1954. He married Christina "Shelley“ Mizell and they had two children, a son Levi who predeceased Farren and a daughter Erin. Farren and Shelley have six grandchildren. From the start of his business, Farren was known for his strong support of local 4-H and FFA youth. His animals were also loaned as show animals so that youth could learn about agriculture.

Dakin was frequently found in the stands waving his arm at auctioneers as he purchased animals and plants exhibited by youth at local fairs. He was an active member at Bayside Community Church and a supporter of Wee Care Christian Academy. Farren is described as an innovator and early adopter of new best practices in the dairy industry such as the tunnel barn and incorporating misters and ceiling fans to cool cows before milking. Farren lost a lengthy battle with Covid-19 earlier this year, he will be inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame.

Join us as we celebrate the lives of four special individuals focused on their contributions to Manatee County Agriculture. The Farm City Week Program of the Bradenton Kiwanis will be held on Tuesday, November 17 at noon. All are welcome to attend the virtual presentation via this link https://vimeo.com/469797169. The program will be recorded and available to view on several websites including bradentonkiwanis.org or manateecountyagmuseum.com or sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/manatee/


No comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.