Betty Hurley Lindeman (Class 49)


Betty Hurley Lindeman (49) is a water specialist at Los Banos-based Water and Land Solutions, where she assists landowners in evaluating, developing, acquiring and managing their resources and water supplies. She previously worked for James J. Stevinson Corporation, Stevinson Water District and Panoche Drainage District. Betty was born and raised on a small family farm in Los Banos that produced alfalfa, cotton and tomatoes. She graduated from Fresno State with a degree in agricultural business in 2000. In the summer months between classes, she and her future husband started their own livestock fencing business. Betty graduated from a yearlong Water Leadership Program in 2016 through the Water Education Foundation and is involved with FFA Ag Boosters. She completed her Ag Leadership fellowship in February 2020.


How did Ag Leadership enable you to make a greater impact in agriculture, your business or organization, community and/or family?
I remember the first day in class when we all sat in a circle together. As we introduced ourselves, I was immediately intimidated. I was surrounded by farmers, attorneys, engineers, policymakers and highly successful business men and women. It took some time, but I truly began to realize that we were all there to learn and thrive through each other’s attributes and life experiences. We were all so good at what we individually tackled on a daily basis, and I quickly realized that agriculture is made up of so much more than the profession itself. I learned how to be kind and compassionate to myself. 

Ag Leadership gave me the confidence that I was lacking in every aspect of my life. I assist in managing small water districts/mutual water companies and attend a ton of meetings. Because of Ag Leadership, I’m able to stand up tall when I speak in front of a group, walk into a meeting with my shoulders held high with confidence and a smile as I reach my hand out to introduce myself in a room full of strangers.

Increased self-awareness is a hallmark of the Ag Leadership Program. What did you learn about yourself and your interactions with those around you?
I learned that we may be professionals, farmers, farmworkers, teachers, homeless at times, teenagers, mothers, fathers – but we are all humans as well. I learned that everyone has their own story and you have absolutely no idea what each story may consist of. I have learned to not judge, but instead be more curious and smile…a simple smile is so contagious!   

How did the program help you develop your leadership skills and abilities?
Ag Leadership taught me to not resist vulnerability. Do not be afraid of change or different pathways, and feel free to leap out of your comfort zone! Don’t be a leader to have someone follow you; be the leader who helps someone grow. Show them the way and then step back.

What impact did the personal coaching make on your leadership capacity?
It taught me that although I am an introvert, I can effectively deliver my thoughts and be heard. I approached Dr. Peggy Perry with a situation that I was having and we dug deep to find the real root of the issue at hand. Through a well-organized crucial conversation with my employer, the differences made in my home life and relationship with my son were life changing. This is Ag Leadership – internal growth! Growing not only in my profession, community and family, but most importantly with my teenage son. I finally found balance in my life.

How has your understanding of your specific role as a leader changed?
Being a leader does not always entail being the most boisterous voice in the room, having the highest degree, making the most money or sitting in the biggest office. With Ag Leadership, I learned that being a good leader means possessing empathy, giving encouragement, showing respect, having compassion and listening. Listening can be more powerful than speaking!

How has your view of the world around you changed and impacted your development as a leader?
I never truly knew the world was so abundant with different people, cultures, religions, beliefs and faiths until I was immersed in the Ag Leadership Program. I realized that there are leaders in everything we do – whether in an agricultural group, a small village, a sprawling urban city, a local city hall meeting or in your church. There is not one defined way to lead; each situation is unique. Lead from the heart and strive to be a servant leader! 

How will you continue to develop as a lifelong learner?
Ag Leadership has taught me that a true leader never stops learning. The program offers many resources that have guided – and will continue to guide – my path as a lifelong servant and learner. I jumped on First Fridays, was part of the first session of the Leaders are Readers Book Club and attend as many regional and social events as possible to stay connected with such a resourceful group. Most importantly, I need to continue to work on myself. I need to continue learning about what makes me happy, joyous and a caring and compassionate mom. I feel blessed that I work alongside one of the most humble leaders I know on a daily basis. I watch and listen as he speaks, interacts with others and deals with complicated issues. This happens in the office, out in the field, within the community and within our family.

Why would you recommend Ag Leadership to others in agriculture?
The Ag Leadership Program has brought me more inner peace than I ever possessed prior. It’s a program to learn about yourself, work on your weak points, build confidence, create lifelong friendships and become part of a network of truly exceptional people. It opens your eyes to the world outside of your small inner self. You’ll be given the tools to become a better leader, employee, manager, citizen, parent and more if you are willing to be uncomfortable and open to change.