2009 Distinguished Service Award

Abbigail Roy-Jacobson

Abigail Roy-Jacobson is a six-generation owner of the family farm. It is the oldest farm in Macomb County and the third oldest farm in Michigan. While growing up on the farm, Abby and her sister, Katrina, worked with their mother, uncle and grandfather. At that time, the farm included livestock, an orchard and a farm market.

After graduating from Romeo High School, Abby went on to pursue a college career at Oakland University, graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. She then began working on her Master’s Degree and teaching undergrad Chemistry labs. In 1981, her Uncle Armand died suddenly of a heart attack. This brought Abby back to Westview Orchards which she continues to operate with her sister Katrina. They sold the cattle in order to concentrate on managing their 200-acre farm which is comprised mainly of orchards. A CA storage unit was built in 1984 which fulfilled her Uncle Armand’s vision. They have cooperated with MSU Extension to provide research plots for studying Insect Mating Disruption.

Westview Orchards Farm Market has become an increasingly important part of the business. In the 90’s they moved and restored a one-room schoolhouse which was built in 1869. They also remodeled their 1850 dairy barn to add a state-of-the-art J-belt cider press into it’s own glass-enclosed sanitary room. She fulfilled her mother, Katherine’s, dream (who died December 2008 at age 95) by remodeling the Schoolhouse into an Ice Cream and Sweet Shoppe. The Farm Market has become a major business in Agri-Tourism hosting many tours.

Abby has been very involved off the farm serving on the Michigan Apple Committee, the Michigan Apple Research Committee, the Michigan State Horticultural Society Board, and has lobbied for MSU Extension in Washington D.C. She has also been appointed by the Governor to serve on the State of Michigan Task Force and the Agri-Tourism Commission.

Abby and her husband, Bill, have two children and are very involved in the local community.

The Michigan State Horticultural Society is pleased to present the Distinguished Service Award to Abigail Roy-Jacobson for her many years of service to the Fruit Industry.

Ronald Prentice

Ronald Prentice graduated from Bangor High School in 1951. During High School he lived and worked on various farms and was a member of the FFA. One of these farms was the Norris and Evelyn Mackinder farm in Grand Junction, MI. The Mackinder family welcomed him as one of their own and later supported him to attend Michigan State University.

Ronald graduated from MSU in 1957 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture. He was also certified to teach Agriculture. After a short military career, Ron began working at Michigan Fruit Canners in Fennville in the Ag Department as a Fieldman and in 1961 he became Head Fieldman. During his career Curtis Burns, Inc. bought Michigan Fruit Canners. He held many positions in the company including Plant Manager, Industrial Relations and VP of Production and Warehousing. Ron became President in 1980 and took early retirement from the company in 1988. He then went to work in 1989 for Cherry Ke, Inc. and Shoreline Fruit, Inc. until April of 2007. He currently manages Cherry Growers, Inc. Ron serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of CherrCo, Inc.

Ron also has served in a number of organizations. These include the Douglas Community Hospital Board; Fennville High School Board of Education as the President; Michigan Food Processors Association, Life Member and past President; National Food Processors Association; PA 344 Ag Marketing and Bargaining Board; Chairman of the Pacesetters-Blossomland United Way Campaign and Member of the Twin Cities area Chamber of Commerce.

Ronald has received several awards throughout his career. He received the first “Fieldman of the Year” Award in 1960 from Michigan Fruit Canners. In 2008 he received the Cherry Industry Man of the Year award.

Ron has two adult sons, David and Danny, from his first marriage. His second wife, Shirley, who had five children, passed away in 2001. In 2004, Ron married Barbara Johnson.

The Michigan State Horticultural Society is pleased to present the Distinguished Service Award to Ronald Prentice for his many years of service to the Fruit Industry.