Longtime Farm Bureau director will be honored by Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Domenic CarinalliDomenic Carinalli, 70, a lifelong dairy rancher and respected agricultural leader for a half century, is being honored by the Sonoma County Harvest Fair with the fair's "Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture" Award.

Carinalli and other agricultural award recipients, along with the big winners in the wine and food competition, will be recognized at the Harvest Fair's Sonoma County Wine Awards Dinner on Sept. 24 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The Wine Awards Dinner precedes the Harvest Fair, which is Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 at the fairgrounds.

The "Lifetime Contribution" award recognizes Carinalli's deep and enduring commitment to agriculture and his dedication to a way-of-life that he believes is worth preserving for generations to come in Sonoma County. That's why he has devoted so much of his time to Sonoma County Farm Bureau and Western United Dairymen - organizations that collectively represent the interests of agricultural producers. He said farmers can't tackle the issues alone and must work through strong and credible organizations to protect their interests whether it's burdensome regulations, land use, transportation, markets or the many other issues that threaten farmers' survival.

Carinalli has been a director of Sonoma County Farm Bureau since 1971 and is the longest serving director on the 19-member board. He served as Farm Bureau president in 1987-88. He is a director and past president of Western United Dairymen and a director of the California Milk Advisory Board.

Carinalli, a second generation dairy farmer. He milks 250 cows - Guernseys and Holsteins - on the Sebastopol ranch established by his parents, Domenico and Evelina Carinalli, in the 1920's.

Carinalli said he wouldn't be where he is today without the support and hard work of his wife of 42 years Lynda Carinalli, his true partner in life, farming and family. The Carinallis have three grown daughters - Ann, Gina and Diane - and seven grandchildren.

Carinalli credits his connections through Sonoma County Farm Bureau for his decision to establish a vineyard and, then, the expert guidance to properly develop it. He said longtime Dry Creek Valley grape grower Richard Mounts, past president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, advised him on the varietals to plant in his area and the right way to establish a vineyard.

When he arrived in Sonoma County in the early 1920's Domenico Carinalli Sr. and his wife Evelina established a family farm in Sebastopol where they milked cows, made homemade cheese, churned butter and produced wine for the family table.

Domenic and Lynda Carinalli are continuing the family farming tradition on their ranches in Sonoma County, establishing an agricultural legacy that will continue through the generations with their children and grandchildren.

Even at 70 years old, Carinalli has no intentions of retiring from farming or his active participation in the agricultural organizations that he believes are vital to protecting the interests of farmers and ranchers.

Carinalli said he is honored that he is being recognized for his lifetime on the land and his work in protecting the interests of other farmers and ranchers through his leadership in agricultural organizations.

"I am very appreciative of the award and feel proud that our community has an event like the Harvest Fair, which respects the achievements of those who produce, manage, process and market Sonoma County's agricultural products," said Carinalli.

In addition to Carinalli, the other Agricultural Award honorees are Brent Young of Sebastopol, winner of the of the Outstanding Young Person in Agribusiness Award; Ryan Petersen, winner of the Outstanding Young Farmer Award, and Oliver's Markets, winner of the Friend of Sonoma County Agriculture Award.