The Kent County Farm Bureau announces the 2023 awardees for the Distinguished Service to Agriculture, Farm Family of the Year and Young Farm Family Achievement - Excellence In Agriculture awards.
Gary Rhodes awarded Distinguished Service to Agriculture. Mr. Rhodes has a lifetime of farming and related experiences under his belt. He was born and raised on the oldest purebred Guernsey dairy farm in the state of Virginia, according to Kent County Board President Jim Minner.
Mr. Rhodes graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech and started a career working at Southern States.
To this day, Mr. Rhodes has worked at six Southern States locations, including Christiansburg in Virginia and Sudlersville and Easton in Maryland. He moved to Delaware in 1980 and also worked at the Middletown, Bridgeville and Milford locations.
In 2009, Mr. Rhodes was named Manager of the Year for Southern States Cooperative, an achievement he claims to be his proudest moment.
He has been heard saying, “It gives me great pleasure to work in an industry that feeds the world.”
Paul Cartanza, Sr. was awarded Farm Family of the Year. Mr. Paul Cartanza is a second-generation farmer leading future generations as they work to conserve land and help feed Delawareans.
Mr. Paul Cartanza’s father, Phil Cartanza, came to Delaware in 1952 with a dream to farm in the First State. Phil Cartanza went out on his own after a couple of years and purchased land across the street; Shadybrook Farms was born.
Mr. Paul Cartanza and his brother Mark Cartanza were born into farming. At the age of eight, he was riding the back of the potato planter. He was a member of the FFA and Chestnut Grove 4H Club. As he got older and took on more responsibilities, his father started to expand. In 1976, a grain elevator was built which he went on to run for 29 years along with his other responsibilities on the farm. Mr. Paul Cartanza’s father passed away in 2001, but his dream of farming continued.
Lazy Day Farms became a reality for the Cartanza family when he inherited farmland from his Uncle Mike for whom they cared for several years.
Lazy Day Farms currently farms 1200 acres, growing corn, soybeans, wheat, and processing vegetables. In 2017, they added a grain elevator to the operation. Currently, they are working with third and fourth generation farmers of Shadybrook Farms, Paul, Jr and granddaughter Taylor, to dry and store grains.
Over the years, Mr. Paul Cartanza has served as the Chairman of the Delaware Potato Board. He currently serves on the Governor's Council for Agriculture, the Council of Farm Organizations, the Kent County Farm Bureau Board and as the 2nd Vice President of Delaware Farm Bureau. He also is working with the University of Delaware to help monitor sea level rise on their farms along the bay.
Mr. Paul Cartanza has two children, Paul, Jr, and Angela, and four grandchildren. He and his wife Jan were awarded the Supporters of the Year award in 2016 for supporting the Young Farmers and Ranchers.
Teddy and Rebecca Bobola were awarded the new Young Farm Family Achievement- Excellence In Agriculture. They have both had a long tenure in the agricultural field, including years of involvement with the Delaware Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee.
Over the course of their time with Delaware Farm Bureau, both Bobolas have served in leadership roles in the YF&R Committee and other areas. Both continue to work full-time jobs on and off the family farm while raising their family which includes two sons, seven-year-old Brant and four-year-old Theo. They are also active members of their church.
Their contributions to the family farm include working five chicken houses, raising and caring for sheep and pigs and tending to 1,500 acres of farmland which produces wheat, hay, barley, corn, soybeans, strawberries and pumpkins. They support the Bobola Farm & Florist shop located on the farm by assisting with festivals in the spring, like the YF&R’s annual Strawberry Festival.
They both value education and hold Bachelor of Science degrees from Delaware State University; Teddy has a degree in Agricultural Business and Rebecca holds a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. Teddy is employed full-time on the farm and Rebecca is employed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources as an Environmental Program Manager in the Wetlands and Waterways section.