Ag Citizen of the Year, McKamey recognized during banquet
Worland – Each year in conjunction with WESTI Ag Days, the Big Horn Basin Ag Ambassadors honor one member of the agriculture industry at their evening banquet.
The Big Horn Basin Ag Ambassadors hold a yearly appreciation banquet to recognize producers in the area for their hard work and contributions to the community.
The banquet is catered by the Washakie County Cowbelles and provides the opportunity for producers to gather and enjoy a night of camaraderie and entertainment.
Ambassador Jim Gill says, “The event is free to producers, so we can honor them for their hard work over the past year. We also select and honor an Ag Citizen of the Year during the dinner.”
This year, Richard “Dick” McKamey was honored for his involvement in the sugarbeet industry and his work with Wyoming Sugar Company.
“Richard’s successful negotiations in the purchase of the sugar factory in 2002 and his ongoing efforts as chairman and CEO of Wyoming Sugar Growers to keep improving and moving the company forward in these challenging times makes Richard McKamey a standout for this year’s award,” said Ambassadors Chairman Jim Miller while presenting the award on Feb. 4.
McKamey’s family has a rich history in Worland, Miller noted during the event.
“Richard’s father Foxy came to Worland from Arkansas to work in the sugarbeet factory in 1927,” Miller noted. “His mom Ferne, originally from Missouri, said it was ‘love at first sight’ when she met Foxy.”
After adopting two children, Ferne and Foxy also had two boys, including Richard.
“After graduating from Worland High School, Richard spent a year at UW before transferring to Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore.,” continued Miller. “He graduated with a degree in finance and international business.”
McKamey was a financial analyst with Pacific Power in Portland, Ore. before moving to Los Angeles, Calif. with Hyster Co.
“After several years in southern California, he and his wife Lisa, whom he met in college, made the move to Worland where he joined his brother David in the farming operation known as McKamey Farms,” Miller said.
McKamey also became very involved in the community in a short time after moving back.
“Richard was elected president of the county Farm Bureau, and he served on the National Sugar Advisory Committee of the American Farm Bureau,” Miller continued. “This started his involvement in and dedication to the sugarbeet industry, which continues on in the present day.”
McKamey continues to be involved on the local and national level.
“As a director and legislative chairman of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association for many years, he has represented grower interest and participated in the development of several farm bills and international trade agreements,” said Miller.
Today, McKamey continues his position as president and CEO of Wyoming Sugar, the smallest grower-owned sugar cooperative in the nation.
Since the award’s inception in 1998, 17 producers in the area have been recognized.
Last year, Propp Farms received the coveted award, and LaVerne Lofink was honored as the 2011 Ag Citizen of the Year.
Phil Huber, Terrill Gibbons, Bill Glanz, Gary Rice, Ray Lowe, Kathy Bush, Dave Asay, Jim Gill, Elmer Nelson, Sam and Phyllis Hampton, the Brewster family, the Harold Miller family and Sharon Kelly have all been honored through the years.