In 1964, RCFC honored our first Master Agriculturist, and each year we have celebrated those who help keep us food secure and provide stewardship of the land.  This year our program MC will be Rural Urban Committee member Lynne Baker, and our featured speaker will be National Western President and CEO, Paul Andrews, introduced by former Rural-Urban Committee chair, Jim Harper.  
To start our awards, Jim Harper will introduce the 2016-17 Rotary Rural/Urban Scholar: Shelbylynne Enke. Rotary Rural Urban Scholarships of $1000 are presented to Larimer County students who seek careers and advanced education in agriculture or a closely related field.  Shelbylynne Enke is a freshman CSU majoring in Animal Sciences and Agriculture Business.  
Rural Urban Committee Chair Amy Brackenbury will then introduce our Master Agriculturist, Jim Roberts. Roberts, is the third generation associated with the Plantorium in LaPorte.  Jim’s parents, Dean and Merilyn purchased the business in 1971, and today it consists of the 12-acre nursery, 20 greenhouses and 17 cold frames.  Other family members involved today are Jim’s wife Cindy, daughters Melanie and Sara, son Curtis and brother Dan.   During the high season, the Plantorium expands from 15 to 65 full time employees, allowing them to supply plants, baskets, veggie starters, perennials, shrubs and landscaping material from Colorado Springs to Casper, and from Sterling to Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs.  The Plantorium is a member of the Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association and they are Certified Organic by the USDA.  They have also been active in the community, donating plants for community fundraisers.  
Our Service to Agriculture award this year goes to the National Western Stock Show, held each January in Denver.  Accepting the award for the National Western will be Paul Andrews, President and CEO of the National Western.  RCFC awards Paul Harris Fellows to the Master Agriculturist and Service to Agriculture honorees.  
The National Western Stock Show, established in 1906, is the premier livestock, rodeo, and horse show in the nation, serving agricultural producers and consumers throughout the world.  As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the National Western also provides over 80 scholarships each year for students majoring in agriculture, including college and graduate level scholarships in agriculture and veterinary medicine for practice in rural areas.
The National Western is held every January for 16 days, and attracts national attendance of 650,000 each year. The historic event strives to strengthen American agriculture through enrichment programs and youth education in livestock, equestrian, farming, ranching, animal awareness and appreciation. 
Our featured speaker, Paul Andrews, is a Colorado native that graduated from the University of Wyoming.  He assumed leadership of the Stock Show Association 5 years ago after working for Kroenke Sports where he was instrumental in building of the Pepsi Center.  Paul and the National Western Board have developed a Master Plan for new and expanded facilities for the National Western that includes a partnership with Colorado State, History Colorado and Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The new plans will include a year around educational facility, a South Platte Riverfront Water Resource Center, CSU Center and world class livestock and facilities.