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Pedro Ilic Awards


The Pedro Ilic awards are named for the Fresno County small-scale farm advisor whose untimely death in 1994 prompted the decision to annually honor those who carry out his legacy of personal commitment to small-scale and family farming.

Ilic was one of the first UC farm advisors to work with small-scale, Spanish-speaking vegetable growers and later also worked with Southeast Asian farmers. The awards were established in recognition and memory of Ilic's dedication and innovation.

Each year, the Pedro Ilic Awards are presented at the California Small Farm Conference.


Anyone can nominate a farmer and/or an educator, though a successful nomination must have a minimum or two nominators. Nominations are accepted year-round for the Pedro Ilic awards.

Nominations can be made:

Award Criteria

The Pedro Ilic award is given annually to a farmer and to an educator. Each honoree:

  • envisions what can be done and has the imagination, energy, and intellect to translate that vision into a successful activity;
  • is part of the solution, not of the problem; critical in thinking, but constructive in approach;
  • is an advocate and risk taker;
  • is an effective teacher, instills self-esteem in others and constantly encourages others;
  • is a dedicated professional who believes in his or her work;
  • has determination, exuberance, high energy, and genuine friendliness for all people, with the conviction that the smallest is as important as the biggest;
  • has high personal and family values.



  • Paul Vossen, Outstanding Educator
    UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Sonoma and Marin counties. Vossen has helped create many niche opportunities for small-scale farmers, including being an early adopter of "local" marketing and helping to develop the California olive oil industry. Read more...


  • Allan and Mineca Griggs, Outstanding Farmers
    Small-scale farmers and vintners in Shasta County.
  • Holly George, Outstanding Educator
    Director for UC Cooperative Extension in Plumas-Sierra counties and leader in agritourism. Read more...


  • Jay Ruskey, Outstanding Farmer
    Sustainable producer of exotic fruits in Santa Barbara county. Read more...
  • Eric Mussen, Outstanding Educator
    UC Cooperative Extension Apiculturist and worldwide authority on honey bees. Read more...


  • Dan Macon, Outstanding Farmer
    Innovative Placer County farmer, rancher and community organizer.
  • Jim Leap, Outstanding Educator
    Farm manager for UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Read more...


  • Darren Schmall, Outstanding Farmer
    Fourth-generation grower in Madera and an agritourism entreprenuer.
  • Aziz Baameur, Outstanding Educator
    Small Farm Program advisor in Santa Clara County who has worked with ethnic Chinese farmers.Read more...


  • Tchieng Fong, Outstanding Farmer
    Progressive Hmong farmer in Fresno County.
  • Mark Gaskell, Outstanding Educator
    Small Farm Program advisor in Santa Barbara County, and a leader in the development of niche cropping opportunities. Read more...


  • Desmond Jolly, Outstanding Educator
    Long-time director of the Small Farm Program, retired in 2006. Read more...


  • Joe Santellano, Outstanding Farmer
    Farmer and farm manager who assists with research and outreach. Read more...
  • Richard Molinar & Michael Yang, Outstanding Educator
    Small Farm Program advisor and program representative in Fresno County, who work extensively with refugee farmers. Read more...


  • Paul Muller & Dru Rivers, Outstanding Farmers
    Leaders in sustainable agriculture and owners of Full Belly Farm in Northern California. Read more...
  • Manuel Jimenez, Outstanding Educator
    Small Farm Program advisor in Tulare County, and community leader in "Woodlake Pride" projects.Read more...


  • Donna Sherrill, Outstanding Farmer
    Farmer and farmer advocate, served on an advisory committee to CDFA.
  • Ron Voss, Outstanding Educator
    Former director of the Small Farm Program and vegetable crops specialist at UC Davis.


  • Leonard Diggs, Outstanding Farmer
    Innovative and knowledgeable organic farm manager.
  • Richard Smith, Outstanding Educator
    Cooperative Extension farm advisor who has worked with small-scale vegetable growers.