Dennis Albiani (32) and Cannon Michael (39) were selected to receive the 2017
Profles in Leadership Award by the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation
(CALF) and the Ag Leadership Alumni Council. Te awards were presented at the
Class 48 Inauguration and Ag Leadership Award Reception and Dinner on Oct. 12 at
the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
Te Profles in Leadership Award recognizes alumni of the California Agricultural
Leadership Program for their leadership actions resulting in the betterment of industry,
community, business, government, education and/or the environment.
“Te foundation and its board of directors are thrilled that the Alumni Council made
the recommendation to recognize and honor Dennis and Cannon with this prestigious
award,” said CALF President Barry Bedwell (13). “Tere are simply no better examples
of alumni who work to beneft California agriculture than these two outstanding
individuals—they are truly leaders who make a diference.”

Photos by Vannesa Wright
COVER STORY

BY LIZA TEIXEIRA ROBERTSON

FALL 2017 HORIZONS MAGAZINE
7

Dennis Albiani
Class 32
Vice President, California Advocates
Dennis Albiani, of Elk Grove, is vice president of California Advocates
in Sacramento. He has been involved in CALF’s Agricultural and
Government Leaders Reception, class visits to Sacramento, and
the Washington, D.C. Educational Fellowship Program. Albiani is
chairman of the California FFA Foundation, a member of the Farm
Bureau Scholarship Foundation and an advisory board member for the
Elk Grove FFA Chapter. As a father of four, Albiani is also active in his
children’s 4-H, school and Science Olympiad activities.
“It’s a real honor to be recognized by such a prestigious group as the
California Ag Leadership Foundation,” said Albiani. “It’s a testament
to the program that they continue to promote lifelong learning and to
continue leadership growth afer graduation.”
Deanna van Klaveren, Albiani’s nominator and classmate, said he
is a servant leader who supports family, community, education and
agriculture.
“Afer Class 32’s commencement, Dennis didn’t slow down,” said van
Klaveren. “Even with all of his commitments, Dennis fnds time to
serve others and is always willing to be present at CALF functions and
activities.”
Albiani has been very involved in the California FFA Foundation. He
currently serves as chairman of the foundation’s board. While serving
as fundraising chair for a decade, the foundation’s annual fundraising
increased from $80,000 to $900,000.
“He’s been really active in promoting and expanding the alumni
activity with the California FFA Foundation,” said van Klaveren. “It’s
been a big

project and he’s created opportunities for alumni to be more engaged in
FFA activities and to help with fundraising for the organization.”
Van Klaveren notes that Albiani’s service stretches across all aspects of
his life.
“He supports our agricultural industry and our voice in California
government, but he takes it beyond that and is very active in
his community,” said van Klaveren. “He’s not just supporting us
because it’s part of his job, he’s supporting us because it’s a personal
life commitment that he’s made that refects through his family,
community, his activities and his support.”
Te Profles in Leadership Award creates opportunities to showcase
leaders who have succeeded in large part due to their Ag Leadership
experience and training.
“It’s important to recognize alumni like Cannon and Dennis because
it’s an opportunity to show people how they’re implementing what
they learned through the program and how they’re making a positive
change for agriculture, our communities and their families,” said van
Klaveren. “When we talk about our future vision of being a catalyst,
that’s what these Profles in Leadership awards do—they spotlight
individuals who have become catalysts in their communities, for
agriculture and for California overall. Both of these gentlemen refect
that directly through their support.”
Albiani said he relies on some of the tools he learned in Ag Leadership
in his personal life.
“Ag Leadership quickly stretched me out of my comfort zone, forcing
me to identify and prioritize my core values. I started to identify and
rearrange the values I wanted to pass down to our children. By focusing
on personal attributes, Ag Leadership provides customized tools for
each to utilize.”
As he continues his Ag Leadership journey as an alumnus, Albiani said
staying involved and connected is an important part of his life.
“Ag Leadership helped me build relationships,” said Albiani.
“Post graduation involvement is a large part of maintaining those
relationships that have endured since the time I graduated from Class
32. Continuing to stay engaged and involved is important for both
personal growth and professional growth.”

WE TAKE THESE OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE IN
THIS FELLOWSHIP AND FROM THAT WE TALK ABOUT
THIS HUGE IMPACT OF CHANGE THAT WE ALL HAVE
FROM GOING THROUGH THE PROGRAM. DENNIS IS A
GREAT EXAMPLE OF HOW THAT IMPACT INFLUENCES

OUR COMMUNITY.
-DEANNA VAN KLAVEREN

COVER STORY

HORIZONS MAGAZINE FALL 2017
8

Cannon Michael
Class 39
President, Bowles Farming Company
Cannon Michael, of Los Banos, is president of Bowles Farming
Company. Michael serves on the boards of the Water Education
Foundation, the San Luis Canal Company, the Henry Miller
Reclamation District, the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority, the
San Luis Resource Conservation District, Cotton Incorporated and the
California Cotton Growers Association.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be receiving this award,” said
Michael. “It is gratifying to be stopped momentarily and to be recognized
by one’s peers. Having a chance to acknowledge and appreciate those who
provide me great support—my wife, children, co-workers and others—is
also a real gif. I am grateful for the opportunity to share some of what I
have learned—successes and failures—with the hope that I can help others
with their journeys and the industry as a whole.”
Michael said Ag Leadership impacted him profoundly, both personally
and professionally.
“Te program helped instill the ideas of continuous learning, personal
growth and community and family responsibility,” said Michael.
“Te experience helped me to realize that California agriculture is
as important as I believe it to be. But without others understanding
and appreciating our industry, the outlook for the future is extremely
challenging.”
Michael’s nominator, Rachelle Antinetti (42), says his commitment to
California and U.S. agriculture, water and the environment is second to
none.
“Cannon’s ability to relate, interact and accomplish goals with a variety
of environmental groups and government agencies is miraculous,” said
Antinetti. “Class 39 and Region 4 are very proud to have this alumnus
joining the many recipients of the Profles in Leadership Award.”

Antinetti noted during the nomination process that Michael is looked
up to by many in the agriculture industry and his community.
“I nominated Cannon because of his empowering and selfess style of
leadership in California agriculture,” said Antinetti. “He was one of the
frst people I called when considering the Ag Leadership Program. He
has always been supportive and I appreciate all he has done to be a role
model for me and others in the industry.”
Michael’s involvement in his community and the agriculture industry
were also an important part of his nomination.
“Cannon and Bowles Farming are very infuential with the Merced
County Food Bank,” said Antinetti. “Cannon hosts dinners with
infuential leaders and decision makers across the state. He interacts with
folks who do not understand where their food comes from and invites
them to his farm.”
He is also very active in communicating about agricultural water issues
with elected ofcials and by contributing content to educational seminars.
“I am most recently inspired by his partnership with the Environmental
Defense Fund,” said Antinetti.
In 2012, Michael began the restoration of a 6-mile riparian corridor
that runs through a portion of the farm. He worked with the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, National Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy,
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Center for Land-Based
Learning, Point Blue Conservation Science and others to plan, survey,
initiate and manage the project.
Michael is now working with a number of non-governmental
organizations, including the Environmental Defense Fund, to create a
comprehensive habitat plan for the entire farm. Te goal is to further
improve the nexus between the farm and the surrounding habitat.
“My initiatives of building coalitions with diverse groups with difering
views to work on challenging issues, like water, stem from my experience
with Ag Leadership,” said Michael.
When it comes to his Ag Leadership involvement, Antinetti said
Michael has supported the foundation in countless ways—but the most
impactful to her was when he gave her the courage to begin her own Ag
Leadership journey.
“For me, it was taking my call and encouraging me to apply,” said
Antinetti. “He is always willing to give his time and serve others.”
Michael feels his experience in the program was life-changing and advises
others to apply.
“Troughout the two years, there are many highs, lows and challenges,”
said Michael. “Facing them all together with your classmates is a unique
experience that makes you grow together. Once you graduate, you realize
that you are part of an incredible network of professionals that span the
entire state.”