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The Mountain Mandarin Growers Association and Rogers Family Company received major awards at the 18th annual Placer County Economic Development Summit Breakfast recently.

The Public Sector Award was won by the association, which represents more than 20 mandarin growers in Placer County. The Private Sector Award went to the Rogers Family Company, a wholesale gourmet coffee roaster with operations in Lincoln.

The summit is an annual breakfast meeting sponsored by the county’s Economic Development Board. During the summit each year, the board honors outstanding public-sector and private-sector contributions to the county’s economic well-being.

County Supervisor Robert M. Weygandt, the Economic Development Board’s chairman, presented both awards during the March 19 summit, saluting the growers association for its contributions to the county’s agricultural economy.

‘These are small businesses that embody the new face of agriculture in Placer County,’ he explained. ‘The fruit is sold locally, regionally and nationally, but also yields many value-added products. We’re just beginning to scratch the surface on the potential of this industry.’

The Private Sector Award was awarded to the Rogers Family Company, which established operations last year in an industrial park near the Lincoln Airport. The company started with about 20 employees in Lincoln, but expects the total to grow to more than 100 after moving its headquarters from San Leandro to Lincoln.

‘They use green technology, including solar energy,’ Supervisor Weygandt said, noting that the company’s customers include large chains such as Costco and Raley’s.


THE MOUNTAIN MANDARIN GROWERS ASSOCIATION


The association was nominated for its award by Dr. Lyndell Grey, an educator and rancher who is agriculture’s representative on the Economic Development Board.

THE MOUNTAIN MANDARIN GROWERS ASSOCIATION
The association was nominated for its award by Dr. Lyndell Grey, an educator and rancher who is agriculture’s representative on the Economic Development Board.

She noted that mandarins and value-added products are sold nationally, promote agriculture-related tourism in Placer County and are responsible for preserving family ranches that otherwise probably would have been sold.

‘All of this adds up to a significant factor of quality of life for all residents and visitors to Placer County that enhances our economic viability,’ she said.

The annual Mountain Mandarin Festival attracts between 30,000 and 60,000 people each fall.

Grey reported the direct value of the county’s annual mandarin crop exceeds $1 million, emphasizing that the association’s members are growers, wholesalers and retailers. ‘They have learned innovative ways of how to market this tasty product, i.e. the latest media coverage of the health advantages of eating mandarins,’ she said.

Association President Scott Jordan and board member Tom Aguilar were on hand to accept the award.


ROGERS FAMILY COMPANY
The company was nominated for its award by Mark Nava, an account executive for Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and Steve Art, the city of Lincoln’s economic development manager.

‘The coffee roaster will become one of the city’s five largest manufacturers- and one of its largest employers,’ they said in a nomination form.
The company also has a roasting operation in Wales and farms in Mexico and Central America, including several that are organic.

Nava and Art emphasized the company’s impact on the area’s economy will include increases in Lincoln’s property tax base, local jobs the company will create, the products it will purchase from area companies and money spent by employees who live in the area.

Nava and Art also noted the company is environmentally oriented, pointing out that it has installed photovoltaic solar panels on its Lincoln plant and has created an ecological audit program to protect wildlife and plants on coffee farms it partners with in Mexico, Central America, South America, Indonesia and Africa.

The company also has a carbon footprint that is environmentally beneficial. It had an auditing company analyze how much carbon is emitted by the company’s operations and how much carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere through its farming operations. The audit concluded the company has a beneficial net effect because its operations absorb more carbon than they emit.

The company also is socially responsible, operating a nonprofit arm that, with help from customers and business partners, has built medical clinics, schools, day-care centers and more than 1,000 houses for farm workers. The company also plans to raise money for a Lincoln school each year.

Jim Rogers, a vice president of sales and marketing, accepted the award for the company. ‘We feel very welcome here,’ he said. ‘I would like to thank you all for that.’

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