The California Cotton Ginners Association named John Toscano, manager of Farmers Firebaugh Ginning Co., Firebaugh, Calif., its ginner of the year and gave its Distinguished Service Award to Jerry Ward, retired area director of the USDA/AMS Visalia cotton classing office at the association’s annual meeting.

Toscano is current chairman of the board of the association. A native of Los Banos, he is a graduate of Merced Junior College and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After graduation, Toscano joined Simon Newman Co. in Newman, Calif. In 1980, he transferred to Murrietta Farms in Mendota as a foreman.

In 1986, he took a job with Anderson Clayton at their Butte Gin near Huron as assistant gin manager. Within a short time he became manager of their Silver Creek Gins where he stayed until 1993. From 1993 through 2002, he was general manager of Cantua Cooperative in Cantua Creek. In 2002, he took his current position.

He is a founding member of the board of the Ag Energy Consumer’s Association and serves as a ginner delegate to the National Cotton Council.

Ward graduated from Arkansas State College with a bachelor’s degree in vocational agriculture in 1960. He went to work for USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Cotton Division, in 1961 in Little Rock, Ark., as a cotton marketing specialist. He then moved to Memphis, Tenn., in 1978 as a member of the board of supervisors and then onto Altus, Okla., in February of 1989 as the area director. In July of 1995 he was selected for the position of area director of the Visalia Classing Office where he retired this past January after 42 years of service with the USDA/AMS Cotton Division.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com