Town board members presented Jeff Rottkamp and Pat Wiles with a proclamation. From left: Council Member Frank Beyrodt,Jeff Rottkamp and Pat Wiles, Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and Council Member Bob Kern. Photo: Alek Lewis

The Long Island Farm Bureau honored Jeff Rottkamp of Rottkamp’s Fox Hollow Farm in Calverton and Patrick Wiles, Farm Credit East’s Riverhead branch manager, with awards for their contributions to Long Island’s agriculture industry during the organization’s 101st Awards Gala Friday night at the Riverhead Polish Hall.

Rottkamp, the owner and operator of his family’s 220-acre farm on Sound Avenue, was honored with the Amherst Davis Memorial Farmer Citizen Award. Rottkamp has served as a board member, treasurer, secretary and voting delegate for the Long Island Farm Bureau and has served locally as a volunteer on the Riverhead Town Agricultural Advisory Committee, Riverhead Transfer of Development Rights Committee, Suffolk County Farmland Preservation Committee, as well as on the board of directors of the Hallockville Museum Farm and the Long Island Antique Power Association. He grew up locally and attended St. John the Evangelist School and Mercy High School in Riverhead, before graduating and working full-time on his family’s farm.

“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.” 

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.

“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.”

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. 

“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.”

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]