tanakaThe Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame event, scheduled for Feb. 14 at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver, will recognize Dick D. Tanaka among others who have dedicated a lifetime of efforts toward the advancement of agriculture in Colorado and beyond.

The event will begin with a cocktail reception followed by dinner. Each honoree will be highlighted through a multimedia presentation, and the ceremony will install Tanaka into the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Tanaka’s daughter, Debra Williams, says, “My father was born one of nine children to Frank and Kimiko Tanaka, immigrants from Japan who settled in Erie, Colo. Both of his parents passed away before he was ten and he and his siblings were separated among family and friends.”

“He and three of his brothers started farming together and created a great produce business. He has helped several farmers along the way with consulting advice, never asking a penny.”

She continues, “He is 80 years old and is still farming!”

The Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet is held annually to honor those who have made significant contributions to the state of Colorado and the nation’s agricultural industry. Proceeds from the banquet support the Colorado FFA Foundation. For more information, visit www.coloradoffafoundation.org.

About Dick D. Tanaka
Dick D. Tanaka was born in Littleton, Colo. His family immigrated to the U.S. in 1915 with their first stop in Brighton, Colo. While there were no other Asian faces in the area, Tanaka said it was not difficult growing up in Erie. “I was not subjected to discrimination,” he said. “I grew up with friends who were white, and I felt like one of them because we did everything together.”

Tanaka learned how to farm from the examples of his father and older brothers. “It was trial and error in deciding what vegetables to raise. It just fell into place as far as starting a produce business. The more we raised, the need to expand followed.”

When it comes to his greatest challenge, he believes that for any farmer it is the weather. Tanaka was certainly not excluded from many years of devastating hail storms he said. On the other hand, he views his greatest accomplishment to be growing the best vegetables that he could and making it financially possible to continue year after year. “Overcoming health problems to continue has been both a challenge and accomplishment for me,” he said.

His family includes his wife Charlotte Tanaka, who has been his biggest support; his son Wayne Tanaka who lives in Los Angeles, Calif.; his daughter and son-in-law Debbie and Rory Williams; and their children Robert and Grace Williams who live in Erie, Colo.
“It is a great honor to be recognized as a Hall of Fame farmer,” Tanaka said. “It was a total surprise and a very good feeling.”

“It makes me feel proud that I am being honored for something I have always loved doing. The hard work and long hours have been eased by pride that I was selected.”

When asked if he could do anything over in his life, Tanaka said,”I would not do anything over because I love the life that I have lived and it has brought me to a good place.”

Andrew