Farmers, ranchers honored on Texas Ag Memorial Day

The fourth annual Texas Agriculture Memorial Day recognized Texas farmers and ranchers who dedicated their lives to agriculture.

The event, held Nov. 21 at the State Capitol in Austin, honored the men and women who lost their lives or were seriously injured while engaged in agricultural-related pursuits. Additional honorees who passed away due to other causes were recognized for their lifelong contributions to agriculture.

A memorial wreath was delivered to the steps of the Texas Capitol by state 4-H and FFA youth leaders.

Among the individuals being recognized, eight individuals who lost their lives in an agricultural-related accident were remembered, and seven were posthumously honored for dedicating their life to agriculture.

Memorial honorees include William Ray Pankonien of College Station; Travis William Herring of Lometa; Marvin Schiel of Magnolia; James Loran of Seymour; Cole Easton Gordon of Friendswood; Booker Franklin Foster of Kress; Clint Riddle of Italy; and Sue Boyd of Whitney.

Life of service honorees include Walter Browning “Buddy” Banks of Waxahachie; Jessica Lynn Chance of Azle; Randy Justiss of Lancaster; Felipe G. Avila of Robstown; Marcus “Mark” Hardinburg Brown of Sherman; Meagan Hooker of Italy; and William Raymond Gorman of Italy.

John Paul and Heather Dineen organized the annual event. The Waxahachie family lost their son about 10 years ago in a farm accident.

“Sometimes in agriculture there is more than just an economic cost to producing food and fiber to feed the world,” Dineen said. “We are here today to honor these individuals and their families that have lost a father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, in producing the most affordable and safest food in the world. We want these families to know their loved one has not been forgotten.”

In addition to recognizing and honoring those lost, Dineen hopes the event promotes farm safety awareness and education.