Six people were inducted into the San Joaquin County Agricultural Hall of Fame at a ceremony held recently in Stockton.

The Agricultural Hall of Fame honors mentors and leaders who have contributed to agriculture and their communities in significant ways, according to the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the Oct. 20 event at the Robert Cabral Agriculture Center.

The inductees included Bruce Fry, Rudy Maggio, Diana Muller, Jim Tanaka, Sam Tanaka and the late Benjamin Beam.

“The agricultural community is a wonderful example of people working together and continuing a tradition that has been handed down throughout the years from people who had to sacrifice a great deal, both personally and physically, to nurture our land and our community,” according to an announcement from the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce.

Beam, who died in 2015, dove into the agriculture world when he started to milk goats at a neighbor’s farm.

With the money he earned from the job, he helped his family take his younger brother who was battling brain cancer to Disneyland.

Beam went on to earn a college degree in agriculture education from Fresno State and built competitive livestock programs at Denair High School, Lassen Community College and San Joaquin Delta College.

“The agricultural community is a wonderful example of people working together and continuing a tradition that has been handed down throughout the years from people who had to sacrifice a great deal, both personally and physically, to nurture our land and our community.”

Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce

The second hall of famer, Fry, is a fifth-generation farmer from Lodi who grew up working on his family’s ranches while attending school.

Fry received his degree in agricultural business management with a focus on farm and ranch management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and joined two of his family’s businesses full-time.

He is currently the vice president of operations at Mohr-Fry Ranches, a diversified farming operation since 1855.

Another inductee, Maggio, started his farming journey at 12 years old after his father became paralyzed from polio.

At 20 years old, Maggio and his father formed “Roy Maggio and Son,” where he was a partner.

The business leased property, farmed grapes and did custom farm work.

Workers pick zinfandel grapes at the Oak Ridge Winery in Lodi in September 2021. Rudy Maggio, who was instrumental in the winery’s founding, was inducted into the San Joaquin County Agricultural Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge Winery/Facebook)

Maggio alongside Don and Rocky Reynolds purchased the East Side Winery in August 2002 that later became known as Oak Ridge Winery.

Maggio was the general manager and ran Oak Ridge Winery from 2002-20, according to the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce announcement.

Muller, who was born in Stockton and raised on Union Island, is the co-owner of Muller Ranch, which is a diversified farming operation that raises asparagus, alfalfa, tomatoes, sugar beets, and cereal grains.

Her roles have been at the San Joaquin County Fair, the Ag festival, the Sacramento County Fair, and the California Fairs and Expositions Rules Committee.

The final two people welcomed into the Hall of Fame were Jim and Sam Tanaka, who are partners with their siblings in Tanaka Farms Inc.

Their farm was one of the first growers to use precision apply pre-plant fertilizer, transplant cannery tomatoes, operate their own laser leveling machinery, and adopt an integrated pest management program for cannery tomatoes, said the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce.

They have been members of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau, California Tomato Growers Association and the California Beet Growers Association.

Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.