Sanpete Farm Bureau gives
Distinguished Service Award
to Sunderlands of Chester
By Robert Stevens
Mar. 22, 2018
EPHRAIM—It isn’t hard to see why the Sanpete County Farm Bureau chose this year’s recipients of the organization’s Distinguished Service Award at their annual banquet last week.
The honorees are a couple who have been on the cutting edge of farming technology and making a positive impact on Sanpete’s farming community since they moved here in the 1980s.
Edwin Sunderland of Chester and his wife, Radene, were presented the award in front of a full room of onlookers during the Farm Bureau banquet that was held at the Ephraim Co-op on Thursday, March 15.
The Sunderlands have both been involved in the Farm Bureau since they were married.
Edwin served for nearly 45 years on the bureau’s county board of directors—with a stint as president—and more than 10 years on the state board of directors.
Radene has been active alongside him in support and has made many friends with other Farm Bureau wives.
“I have given this honor to a number of other people here,” Edwin said after being honored with the award. “To receive it myself, it’s a real honor, and it means a lot. We have friends that go back so many years from our involvement. The Farm Bureau has basically been a family for a long, long time. Thank you so much for this.”
Edwin added, pointing to his wife, “This young gal standing next to me is the backbone I never had. She encourages me, and she is my strength, and I love her dearly.”
When the whole Sunderland family uprooted from their former home in Lehi in 1980, they brought with them forward-thinking farming. They have six children and 17 grandchildren, many of whom have worked alongside Edwin on the farm.
Computer-aided recordkeeping of the entire Sunderland Dairy operation—which Edwin ran alongside his brother Scott for many years, proactive conservation techniques and heavy involvement with the local agriculture community cemented Edwin’s place in the forefront of Sanpete’s ag pack.
Edwin has served as chairman of the Sanpete County Water Conservancy Board for 21 years and is currently making a bid for county commissioner.
Sunderland Dairy, which was one of Sanpete’s largest farming operations for many years, became the first farm in Utah to sign with the Conservation Security Progam (CSP), which was administered by the Natural Resource Conservation Service in 2005.
The then-brand-new program rewarded farming operations that maintained good stewardship of soil, water, air, energy and animal and plant life on their farms.
Sunderland Dairy not only qualified for the CSP but qualified under its strictest and most rewarding guidelines: Tier 3, which required active and proactive conservation efforts in nearly every aspect of the operation.
The Sunderlands have also played an active role in sharing their farming techniques with other Central Utah farming operations. That fact, and years of business in Central Utah’s farming community, have earned them plenty of friends.
Brent Johnson of United Soil Science, a Salina-based fertilizer and soil-testing company, said from working with Edwin over the years, he considered the Sunderlands “really good people” and said the Farm Bureau made a good call on choosing him for the award.
John Eliason, longtime Farm Bureau Financial Services agent, agrees with Johnson, saying he too thought they made a good pick with their choice of recipient this year.
As the meeting came to a close, Sterling Brown, vice president of public policy for the Utah Farm Bureau, said, “Congratulations, Edwin and Radene. … We appreciate your service over so many years.”