Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ranch family honored

The Frost family, Duane and Shelly Frost, and their sons Dal and Rankin, from Claunch, N.M., and formerly of Grant County, was named the 2009 New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau Family of the Year at the organization's 92nd annual meeting in Albuquerque.

The Frosts manage the Surratt Ranch, a cow/calf operation that covers portions of Lincoln and Torrance counties. They have been active in Farm Bureau for more than four decades.

Farm Bureau President Michael White, of Dexter, said the Frost family represents "the gold standard" in the areas of leadership and volunteerism.

"Duane and Shelly were raised with the strong values taught by their parents who were ranching and mining pioneers in our state," he said. "They, in turn, have passed these ethics on to their two children who are also pursing careers in agriculture."

The couple grew up on opposite sides of the Continental Divide in Grant County and met at a sheriff's posse dance where Shelly played fiddle in the band "Girl Country." Duane graduated from Cobre High School in 1975 and Shelly from Cliff High School in 1976. They were married in 1976 and Duane went to work for the Flying A Ranch. Shelly then began her college career at Western New Mexico University. She graduated from WNMU in 1979 with a minor in music and a major in accounting.

They began their Farm Bureau career in their county and statewide Young Farmers and Ranchers Committees. Duane was later elected to the Cliff/Gila/Grant County Farm and Livestock Bureau Board of Directors and Shelly served on the Farm Bureau Women's Committee and was one of the founders of the Frisco Cowbelles in Catron County in 1981. After Shelly graduated from college, the couple moved back to her family ranch at Big Dry Creek to help run that operation, which covered portions of Catron and Grant counties.

In 1989, the family moved the ranching operation to Ramon, N.M., and got involved with the Lincoln County Farm and Livestock Bureau, where Duane served on the board of directors and later was elected president of the organization. He currently serves on the state board of directors for the N.M. Farm and Livestock Bureau. Shelly is active in the Crown Cowbelles and is a volunteer at Corona High School. She also runs the post office at Claunch. Duane serves on the board of directors of the Central New Mexico Telephone Cooperative and the Lincoln County Natural Resources Advisory Committee. In addition, he was a New Mexico Beef Council director in 2003-2004.

For more than 50 years the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau has recognized a family each year that epitomizes the goals and ideals of the state's largest private agricultural organization.

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