California Ag Leadership Foundation Welcomes Two New Board Members

February 15, 2024

MONTEREY – The California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF) has named Nikki Cossio and Sal Parra Jr. to its board of directors 

Cossio is the founder and CEO of Measure to Improve LLC, which supports fresh produce industry producers and processors in measuring, improving and building credible sustainability programs that generate environmental, social and financial benefits. Part of a multigenerational California farming family, she has served on boards and committees for organizations such as International Fresh Produce Association, Specialty Crops Coordinating Council, the former Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Center for Global Produce Sustainability. Cossio founded the Monterey County Sustainability Working Group in 2011 and was recognized in the 2019 Packer 25, an annual tribute highlighting leaders in the fresh produce industry. 

“For years, I have admired the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation,” said Cossio. “Serving on the board allows me to directly participate in shaping the future of California agriculture. We can empower the next generation of farmers to thrive and ensure a vibrant agricultural legacy for our state.” 

Parra Jr. (46) is the director of farming for Burford Ranch, a multigenerational family operation that grows nuts, vegetables and row crops. He is also an owner and partner of Coyula Farms, a family-owned operation that grows almonds, pistachios, wheat, alfalfa, corn and Angus beef cattle. Parra serves on boards for the Fresno County Farm Bureau and James Groundwater Sustainability Agency. He is a member of Class VII of the Western Growers Future Volunteer Leaders Program. Parra Jr. earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business in 2008 and MBA in 2015, both from Fresno State. He is a member of Class 46 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program and previously served as a CALF Education Team liaison on the Ag Leadership Alumni Council. 

“I am truly honored to be selected and serve on the foundation board,” said Parra Jr. “The program and this foundation have impacted my life in profound ways and I look to paying that forward with my service.” 

Said CALF Board Chair Mike Young (35), “I am excited and honored that Nikki and Sal have graciously accepted our invitation to join the board of directors. Their rich background in production agriculture, coupled with their thought leadership and industry influence, will make them invaluable in supporting our vision of leaders united to strengthen California agriculture and sustainably supply the world. I look forward to their deep insights and strategic perspectives that they will bring to propel our foundation forward and steer us to creating greater impact in our industry and world.” 

Parra Jr. and Cossio join 11 CALF board members, including Mike Young, Wegis & Young, chair; Cameron Boswell, J.G. Boswell, vice chair; Emily Rooney, Agricultural Council of California, secretary/treasurer; Yissel Barajas, Reiter Affiliated Companies; Correen Davis, The Gorrill Ranch; Rob Goff, Wonderful Orchards; Fidela Irigoyen, Wells Fargo; Roger Isom, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association and Western Agricultural Processors Association; Dr. Joel Kimmelshue, Land IQ; Paul Parreira, Parreira Almond Processing Co., and Dr. Martin Sancho-Madriz, Cal Poly Pomona.