Lee Mora named agriculturalist of the year

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Lifelong Humboldt County resident Lee Mora was named Agriculturalist of the Year at the 2013 annual meeting of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau. He said he was "very humbled" by the recognition and accepted the award on behalf of his wife Eileen, whom he called "the rock of my life," and his family.

Mora and family own and operate Humboldt Grassfed Beef, and the Humboldt Auction Yard in Fortuna.

The Mora family has been long-time members of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau according to Executive Director Katherine Ziemer.

"Lee and Eileen have touched the lives of so many of us in a very positive way," Ziemer said. "I think Lee exhibits the qualities of a real leader -- not only in the agricultural world, but in life itself."

The Mora family came to Humboldt County in the 1940s and became sellers of Humboldt County livestock in 1968, when Lee's father Rudy Mora became a partner at Humboldt Auction yard. About ten years later, Lee started working alongside his dad, after graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and today continues his work there with his wife, sons Lou and Joe, daughter Sarah, and nephew Justin.

Mora said he was "truly grateful" for being able to work with family and earn a living. He is an active community leader, having served on many boards over the years including Humboldt County Cattlemen's Association (president, 1986-1987), California Cattlemen's Association, Fortuna Union High School (president, 1999), Humboldt County Fair Jr. Livestock Auction Committee (1990-1991), and currently serves on the North Coast Regional Land Trust Board.

The lifetime achievement award was presented to Mora at the dinner, which was held at the Scotia Inn.

"What the Farm Bureau represents to me," Mora said to the audience, "is the value of what we produce and what it means to our economy. Every dollar we produce is spun through the (local) economy seven times."

He said that fact is not truly understood by many and expressed a need to "tell our story better."

"What is the source of wealth for our economy?" Mora asked and then answered, "Our economy starts right here in this room."

Lee has also been honored by the District Two High School Rodeo for both sponsoring participants and providing cattle for different competitions over the years. He has also served as auctioneer and ringman for both the Jr. Livestock Auction and Replacement Heifer Sale at the Humboldt County Fair.

Humboldt County Farm Bureau President Greg Dale described Mora as "an inspiration to all of us."

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Lee Mora (left) receives the 2013 Agriculturalist of the Year award from Humboldt County Farm Bureau President Greg Dale at the Scotia Inn. To the right of Dale is Mora's wife Eileen.