53rd Class Selected for California Agricultural Leadership Program

September 12, 2023

Twenty-four individuals have been selected for Class 53 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, an advanced leadership development experience for emerging, mid-career leaders in agriculture. The new fellows will be inaugurated into the program on Oct. 5 at Fresno State.

Through dynamic seminars during an intensive 17-month program, fellows are immersed in numerous topics, including leadership theory, effective communication, motivation, critical thinking, change management, emotional intelligence and other skills and tools that contribute to improved performance. Four partner universities – Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State and UC Davis – deliver integrated, comprehensive and diverse curriculum at the seminars. Fellows will participate in approximately 55 seminar days, including a 10-day national travel seminar and a 14-day international travel seminar.

“The California Ag Leadership Foundation (CALF) grows leaders who make a difference and go on to make a positive impact in their families, businesses, communities and ultimately, California agriculture,” said CALF President and CEO Dwight Ferguson. “Participating program alumni assemble a diverse and inclusive class of fellows who represent a broad cross section of our ag industry and the state’s population. We’re excited for the fellows to kick off their Ag Leadership journey next month.”

CALF invests more than $50,000 per fellow to participate in the program, which is underwritten by individual and industry donations. Ag Leadership is considered one of the premier leadership programs in the United States. Since 1970, more than 1,400 California Agricultural Leadership Program fellows have become lifelong leaders who individually and collectively act as a catalyst for a vibrant agricultural community. For more information about the program, visit agleaders.org.

Class 53 Fellows

  • Hillari Bynum, Safe Food Alliance, Sacramento
  • Jeana Cadby, Western Growers, Atascadero
  • Tomas Aguilar Campos, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Mecca
  • Kyle Collins, Allied Grape Growers, Lodi
  • Bob Donnelly, Central California Almond Growers Association, Fresno
  • Nick Edsall, Bullseye Farms, Woodland
  • Manny Gaitan, Rain for Rent, Indio
  • Miguel Gomez, Driscoll’s, Watsonville
  • Deissy Ibarra, Toor Farming / Custom Almonds, Earlimart
  • Krystal Jenkins, Nufarm Americas, Escondido
  • Ariana Joven, The Wonderful Company, Bakersfield
  • Scott McArthur, McArthur Ranches, Durham
  • Kurt Metheny, Limoneira Company, Santa Paula
  • Jack Norton, Terpene Belt Farms, Valley Springs
  • Daniel O’Connell, O’Connell Cattle Co., Sacramento
  • Katie Panici, Kern Machinery, Bakersfield
  • Michelle Paul, AgWest Farm Credit, Rocklin
  • Kristi Robinson, K. Robinson Farms, Clovis
  • Taj Samran, Hilltop Ranch, Inc., Turlock
  • Joe Sequenzia, Zenith Agribusiness Solutions, Roseville
  • Bryce Spycher, Almond Board of California, Turlock
  • Jodi Switzer, Farm Bureau of Ventura County, Ventura
  • Amanpreet Virk, Gallo Vineyards, Fresno
  • Trent Voss, Blue Diamond Growers, Denair

Media Contact:
Meredith Rehrman Ritchie (28)
CALF Marketing and Communications Manager