News Release

California Bountiful Foundation honors farming couple

April 2, 2013

In recognition of their decades of service to agriculture education and the farming and ranching community, the California Bountiful Foundation honored John and Gail Kautz of Lodi at an event in San Simeon. An Evening at the Hearst Ranch, held March 23, included a dinner featuring Hearst Ranch wines and beef and a presentation about the impact the Kautz family has had on California agriculture and the importance of education.

John Kautz is chairman of Ironstone Winery and John Kautz Farms, which grows 20 varieties of winegrapes in the Lodi, Sloughhouse and Murphys regions. He is a former president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture who has served actively with numerous agricultural, civic and community organizations. Early in his farming career, Kautz was honored as a National Outstanding Young Farmer and Top Farm Manager USA. He later won awards at the national and state levels for his work in soil conservation and grape growing.

Gail Kautz has served as a 4-H project leader in San Joaquin County for more than four decades and is a former president of the California 4-H Foundation. She founded the Ironstone Concours Foundation to raise money for local and state agricultural youth education and was the first woman elected to the position of board chair for the California State Fair and Exposition. In 2006, she was named a Woman of the Year by the California State Legislature.

“Individually, John and Gail have made significant impacts to farming and ranching in California, but together, they are truly a force for progress in our state,” California Bountiful Foundation President Paul Wenger said. “Their commitment to agriculture is apparent in all that they do, and the fact that their children have chosen to follow in their footsteps as third-generation farmers speaks highly of the values John and Gail share.”

More than 180 people took part in the Hearst Ranch event. Sponsors included Rabobank; El Sur Ranch, James Hill III; the Beneto Foundation; Monsanto; the Hearst Corporation and Duarte Nursery.

The California Bountiful Foundation supports agricultural research, education and public outreach to cultivate a better understanding of the many benefits rural landscapes provide to all Californians. For more information, visit www.californiabountiful.org or call 916-561-5590.