California Agricultural Leadership Program Class 47 Fellows Inaugurated

SALINAS, October 26, 2016 – Twenty-four individuals have been selected for Class 47 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, an advanced leadership development experience for emerging agricultural leaders. The new fellows were recently inaugurated at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

Class 47 fellows are Kevin Antongiovanni, Bakersfield; Tom Barrios, Woodland; Jared Britschgi
Bakersfield; Casey Creamer, Fresno; Christopher Drew, Castroville; Ted Grether, Somis; Randi Gwilliam, Tulare; John Hay, Bakersfield; Hans Herkert, Yuba City; Stuart Hoetger, Chico; Nadav Ichaki, Santa Monica; Tucker Knutz, Lemoore; Brad Koehn, Turlock; Hunter Lindemann, Gustine; John McKeon, Santa Cruz; Jason Miller, Newcastle; Jenny Lester Moffitt, Davis; Darrin Monteiro, Hanford; Matt Patton, Elk Grove; Brad Reinhart, Hanford; Jill Scofield, Granite Bay; Matt Stornetta, Sonoma; Doug Thomas, Red Bluff; and Kiran Toor, Yuba City. (Bios on following pages)

“Class 47 is another outstanding example of individuals eager to further their leadership development so they can make a positive difference for California agriculture,” said Barry Bedwell, president of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, which operates the program. “With the valuable skills they develop during the program, these men and women will be better prepared to deal effectively and competently with issues affecting agriculture, businesses, organizations and communities.”

Through dynamic seminars during an intensive 17-month program, fellows will study leadership theory, effective communication, motivation, critical and strategic thinking, change management, emotional intelligence, and complex social and cultural issues.

Seminars are delivered by four partner universities – Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State and UC Davis. Fellows will participate in 56 seminar days, including an 8-day national travel seminar and a 15-day international travel seminar.

Ag Leadership is considered to be one of the premier leadership development programs in the United States. Since it was first delivered in 1970, more than 1,300 men and women have participated in Ag Leadership and have become influential leaders and active volunteers in the agriculture industry and other areas.


BIOS

Kevin Antongiovanni
Bakersfield

Kevin is a fourth generation family farmer and president of Ten Star Farming, a 2,800-acre operation that produces alfalfa, beets, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, onions, potatoes, turnips, watermelons and almonds. He is responsible for all aspects of running the farm. Kevin and his brother navigate the growing, packing and shipping of crops produced for the benefit of 10 family owners.

Tom Barrios
Woodland

Tom is a fourth generation Yolo County farmer and the almond manager at Barrios Farms Inc., where he works with his father and uncle growing mainly tomatoes, almonds, sunflowers and wheat. He is responsible for managing 1,500 acres of almonds. Tom also owns Valley Nut Management LLC, which provides almond management for growers and custom harvest for almonds and walnuts.

Jared Britschgi
Bakersfield

Jared is a grower representative for Pearl Crop, Inc., a family-owned almond and walnut processor that ships product to more than 40 countries. He services and provides production agriculture insight to growers from Bakersfield to Modesto. Jared is the third generation to be involved in agriculture; he grew up on his family’s diversified row crop and custom farming operation in the Imperial Valley.

Casey D. Creamer
Fresno

Casey is the coordinator of the Kings River Water Quality Coalition, an organization that assists farmers with implementing the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. The coalition represents 5,000 members and covers 800,000 irrigated acres in the Kings and Tulare Lake subbasins. He is responsible for day-to-day operations and represents members in regulatory proceedings at regional and state water agencies.
Christopher Drew
Castroville

Chris is the vice president of operations for Ocean Mist Farms, a family-owned grower of artichokes and other fresh vegetables. He oversees activities associated with the post-harvest of products: managing the cooling and shipping facilities; overseeing food safety and quality assurance, sustainability and value-added operations; and directing new product and service innovation.

Ted Grether
Somis

Ted is fifth generation California farmer and the operations manager at Grether Farming Company, which grows avocados, lemons and other specialty citrus varieties. Ted implements farming systems such as irrigation, fertilization, pest control and food safety; works with labor contractors and packing houses; and has administrative duties, from human resources to directorial review.

Randi Gwilliam
Tulare

Randi is the education specialist overseeing the agronomic education program at Tulare Ag Products, her family’s agronomic consulting and sales company. Her role includes the development and implementation of training goals in various areas of the company, including applied agronomy, business operations and management, internal software development, and adaptation to market and technological shifts.

John Hay
Bakersfield

John is one of the managing partners of Scribner Hay, a commercial cow/calf operation operating between San Luis Obispo and Inyo County. He is responsible for day-to-day operations, including genetic selection and breeding program development, marketing, budgeting/expense management and grazing management. He also works for Hay Brothers, his family’s operation that produces cotton, alfalfa, sheep and cattle.

Hans Herkert
Yuba City

Hans is a pest control advisor and certified crop advisor for Grower’s Ag Service, a division of The Tremont Group. Specializing in walnuts, rice and processing tomatoes, he advises growers in the Sacramento Valley on sustainable production solutions for various crops. Hans is also a first generation rice farmer in Colusa County; he began his operation in 2013 and manages all aspects of the farm.

Stuart Hoetger
Chico

Stuart is a managing partner and founder of The Stogan Group, an agricultural business engaged in commodity trading and analysis, real estate and business management. He manages the rough rice trading strategy and international business development for a local cooperative. He also writes a weekly report on the medium grain rice market, read by international governments, banks, mills and growers.

Nadav Ichaki
Santa Monica

Nadav is the managing director of Nut Farmers, LLC, which owns, invests and manages assets of pistachio farms in California. He is responsible for new farm acquisitions and daily asset management of the southern valley operation of the company. His role involves acquisitions, budgeting, reporting to shareholders and strategic planning with the different entities involved.

Tucker Knutz
Lemoore

Tucker is the commodity manager for Harris Feeding Company, the largest cattle feeder in California. He is responsible for procuring all feed commodities for its 120,000-head feed yard in Coalinga, purchasing feed for the Harris Thoroughbred Horse Division, and handling environmental regulations and sales of compost and manure. Tucker grew up on a commercial cow/calf operation in Central Oregon. 

Brad Koehn
Turlock

Brad is the civil engineering department manager for the Turlock Irrigation District, which provides water and power to farms, businesses and homes. He is responsible for irrigation capital improvements, irrigation SCADA, district surveying/right-of-way, irrigation automation, on-farm conversions and general project management. He is a registered professional engineer and land surveyor.

Hunter Lindemann
Gustine

Hunter is president of THL Ag, LLC, a custom farm services company that focuses primarily on orchard topping, hedging and skirting various tree crops in Central California. He is involved in all aspects of the business – marketing, safety, daily operations and capital expenditures. Hunter’s family has been involved in agriculture for 150 years in Central California.

John McKeon
Santa Cruz

John is the senior manager of agriculture supply at Earthbound Farm, a grower/shipper of organic fruits and vegetables. His work includes field food safety program management; compliance management; auditing of farming, processing and storage suppliers; baby leafy greens supply management for packaged salads, and fruit and vegetable supply management for commodity sales operations.

Jason Miller
Newcastle

Jason is a fifth-generation beekeeper and vice president of Miller Honey Farms, his family’s 122-year-old beekeeping operation. Miller Honey Farms runs approximately 15,000 beehives and specializes in the pollination of almonds, cherries and apples in California and Washington. The operation also produces over 1 million pounds of honey annually for sale and distribution throughout the United States.

Jenny Lester Moffitt
Davis

Jenny is the deputy secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Her portfolio includes water policy, climate policy, land use, organic policy, ag sustainability and environmental farming, beginning farmers, composting and healthy soils. A fifth generation California farmer, Jenny was raised on and worked for 10 years at her family’s 1,350-acre organic walnut farm and processing operation, Dixon Ridge Farms, in Winters.

Darrin Monteiro
Hanford

Darrin is the director of member relations for California Dairies, Inc. (CDI), the state’s largest dairy processing cooperative. He has direct contact with CDI members on various events and topics, arranges political functions, represents CDI and its members at industry meetings, and actively participates in political and regulatory activities. His family has been dairying in Fresno County for more than 30 years. 

Matt Patton
Elk Grove

Matt is an agriculture instructor at Elk Grove High School, a California Distinguished School with nearly 1,800 students. Matt also owns and operates Ranchview Livestock, which consists of a flock of wether dam type sheep. Lambs produced are marketed to 4-H and FFA members to be exhibited at livestock shows across California. 

Brad Reinhart
Hanford

Brad is the cotton marketing manager for the J.G. Boswell Company. Founded in 1925, the company produces Pima cotton, processing tomatoes, pistachios, safflower and alfalfa hay. He is responsible for selling Boswell’s Pima cotton to more than 20 countries in addition to working closely with the logistical and finance departments to ensure the cotton bales arrive safely.

Jill Scofield
Granite Bay

Jill is the director of producer relations for the California Beef Council, which serves as the promotion, research and education arm of the California beef industry. She oversees the organization’s producer outreach and education efforts, allowing her to work directly with those who produce safe, wholesome beef. Jill grew up on her family’s cow/calf ranch in Northern Nevada.

Matt Stornetta
Sonoma

Matt is a fifth generation Sonoma County farmer and operations manager for La Prenda Vineyards Management, a 1,000-acre vineyard management company working to implement the industry’s most efficient cultural practices. He is also the managing partner of Sonoma Collection Wines. The company, intertwined with the vineyard management company, works with growers to best control farming inputs.

Doug Thomas
Red Bluff

Doug is the assistant manager at Crown Nursery LLC, a commercial strawberry and raspberry nursery that sells more than 130 million plants annually to domestic and international customers. He is involved in regulatory compliance, accounting, human resources, contract growing management, lab and project management, sales and customer development. He served 12 years in the U.S. Army.

Kiran Toor
Yuba City

Kiran is a second generation grower and manager of Toor Farms, her family’s farm that produces walnuts and prunes. She works with her family to manage daily operations, processing, drying, integration of sustainable agriculture practices, and finance. She evaluates operating procedures and researches technologies to innovate and improve performance standards and policies.

Media Contact: Liza Teixeira Robertson   (559) 816-5979 | liza.teixeira@agleaders.org


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