“Jeff Rottkamp, not just a farmer, a friend, a neighbor, a person that you can rely on,” said Councilman Frank Beyrodt, a fellow farmer. “His family. His product. Sweet corn, are you kidding me? Sweet corn, the best, the best. Melts in your mouth.”
“Pat Wiles. Always a friend of the farmer,” Beyrodt said. “Always a guy who’s there for the farm community. Hey, how can I help you? How can I help you to get this done? We could not, in the Town of Riverhead, have two better honorees tonight than my two friends, Jeff Rottkamp and Pat Wiles.”
“Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for all that dedication that you’ve given to the agricultural community for all these years, for inspiring the next generation,” said Vanessa Lockel, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s executive director. “At Cornell Cooperative Extension, our motto is about giving accessibility of education to everyone. Thank you for giving your resources to everyone, for all Long Islanders to be able to enjoy.”
Along with farm bureau honors, both Rottkamp and Wiles were honored with a proclamations from Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and Town Board members, Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, Suffolk County Legislators Al Krupski and Bridget Fleming, Assembly Member Fred Thiele, State Senator Anthony Palumbo and a certificate of special congressional appreciation by Rep. Lee Zeldin’s district manager Mark Woolley. They also received a certificate of appreciation from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.
The Amherst Davis Memorial Farmer Citizen Award was given to Rottkamp, who runs the family’s 220 acre farm on Sound Avenue. In addition to serving as a volunteer on the Riverhead Town Agricultural Advisory Committee, the Riverhead Transfer of Development Rights Committee, the Suffolk County Farmland Preservation Committee, the board of directors of the Hallockville Museum Farm, and the Long Island Antique Power Association, Rottkamp has held positions with the Long Island Farm Bureau as a board member, treasurer, secretary, and voting delegate. He was raised close by and went to Mercy High School in Riverhead and St. John the Evangelist School before graduating and taking a job as a full-time farmer.
Wiles, who has been with Farm Credit East for 37 years, and 35 years at the lender’s Riverhead branch, was honored with the Long Island Farm Bureau Citizen Award. Wiles, a Cutchogue resident, has assisted with farm bureau fundraisers and is active in many farm, horticulture and wine-related organizations. He is a longtime member of the Riverhead Rotary Club, where he has served as chairman of the “Rotary Uncorked” event, and is a board member of Camp Pa-qua-tuck in East Moriches. Wiles is a Cornell University graduate with a degree in Agricultural Economics and comes from a family of part-time farmers.