Jake and Sara Harward of Mapleton, Utah, were winners of the Utah State Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award.
The prize was presented during the UFB annual convention in Layton, Utah, in November, and is considered the top honor for young producers in the state.
The Achievement Award is a competition recognizing those young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their operations and honed their leadership skills.
Contestants are evaluated on a combination of farm operation growth and financial progress of the business, and leadership in the Bureau and outside of the organization.
Judges look for excellence in management, growth and scope of the enterprise, and self-initiative that are displayed throughout the operation.
Jake and Sara own Harward Farms Sweet Corn and Jaker's Jack-O-Lanterns and farm in Springville, Utah. He has been farming since a boy on his family's operation. The couple began managing the family's 10 roadside stands in 2001, expanding that to a 31-stand chain today. They expanded also into tomato watermelon and cantaloupe production.
In 2005, they began growing pumpkins to sell to grocery outlets throughout the West, and recognized an opportunity to expand into a U-Pick pumpkin patch business, which has grown with a petting zoo, corn pile, straw maze and hay rides to attract families in the Springville region.
Sara is active in the Utah State University Ag in the Classroom program, providing agricultural resource materials to teachers and students.
Jake has been an exponent of the Future Farmers of America in Springville, and received the Utah FFA Leader of the Year award at the annual meeting of the Bureau.
The Harwood family, representing the UFB, competed with seven contestants from around the state for the award, which includes a plaque, $500 check from General Motors, a 2012 Polaris Ranger ATV, an insurance policy for the ATV from the Bureau, and an expense-paid trip in January to the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., where they will compete for the national Achievement Award, which includes a Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra truck, courtesy of General Motors.