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In memoriam: Aaron Nelson

Aaron Nelson
Aaron Nelson, UCCE livestock advisor emeritus, passed away on Oct. 14, 2019, in Clovis. He was 85.

Nelson grew up on a small farm in Texas until the age 7, when his family moved to the San Diego area. At age 11, his father gave him a newborn calf to raise, which sparked his interest in livestock. While he was in high school, he enrolled in the agriculture classes through the FFA program, raising a Reserve Grand Champion steer he showed at the Del Mar Fair in his senior year.

After he graduated from high school in 1952, Nelson joined the Naval Reserves and served 2 years of active duty. He earned a degree in animal husbandry at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1959 and a master's degree in animal nutrition at UC Davis in 1961.

In 1961, Nelson was hired by UC Cooperative Extension as a 4-H advisor in Ventura County. A year later, he accepted the position of UCCE livestock and range management advisor in Fresno County. He spent almost 35 years working with cattle ranchers, sheep, swine producers, horses and occasionally filled in as a dairy cattle advisor. 

Nelson served as an advisory board member of numerous professional associations including California Beef Cattle Improvement Association, Fresno-Kings Cattlemen's Association, San Joaquin Valley Woolgrowers Association and Sierra Resource Conservation District. He served as co-chair of the California Livestock Symposium Sheep Section, 1975-1983, and co-director of the Western Livestock Forum, 1984-85. Nelson was named Cattleman of the Year in 1981 by the Fresno-Kings Cattlemen's Association and in 1995 was awarded the Golden Fleece Award by the California Woolgrowers Association. He retired from UC Cooperative Extension in 1995.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years Darlene Nelson, daughter Leanne Nelson, granddaughter Danielle Nelson, daughter-in-law Doreen Nelson, son-in-law Dana Reynolds, brother-in-law Robert Becker and his wife Sandy.

Donations may be made in Nelson's name to Peoples Church Missions, 7172 N. Cedar Ave., Fresno, CA 93720; Break the Barriers, 8555 N. Cedar Ave., Fresno, CA 93720 or Hoover High School Special Olympics 5550 N. First St., Fresno, CA 93710


Read more about Nelson's life at


Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 3:53 PM
Tags: Aaron Nelson (1), November 2019 (14)

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