SALINAS, Sept. 4, 2019 – Twenty-four individuals have been selected for Class 50 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, an advanced leadership development experience for emerging agricultural leaders. The new fellows will be inaugurated into the program on Oct. 10 at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District. The program, which inaugurated its first class in 1970, will celebrate its 50th anniversary in Monterey in October 2020.

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 55 seminar days, including an eight-day national travel seminar and a 15-day international travel seminar.

“After an application and alumni-assisted interview process that witnessed a record number of applicants, we are very pleased to announce the 24 individuals making up Class 50,” said Barry Bedwell, president of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF). “This distinguished group, made up of 12 women and 12 men, will begin their 17-month formal leadership program shortly, but more importantly, this is the start of a lifelong leadership process that will not only make them better leaders but benefit California agriculture as well.”

CALF invests approximately $55,000 per fellow to participate in the program, which is underwritten by individual and industry donations. Ag Leadership is considered to be one of the premier leadership programs in the United States. Since it was first delivered in 1970, more than 1,300 men and women have participated in the program and have become influential leaders and active volunteers in the agriculture industry and other areas.

Class 50 Fellows:

Celeste Alonzo, Junior Enterprises LLC, Coachella
Leeann Bettencourt, Bonipak Produce, Santa Maria
Tyler Blackney, Wine Institute, Sacramento
Adrian Calixtro, Wonderful Orchards, Selma
Yezmin Carrasco Valle, Reiter Affiliated Companies, Oxnard
Mitch Coit, Marv Coit Inc., Firebaugh
Kris Costa, California Milk Advisory Board, Turlock
Natasha Crivelli, Chris and Natasha Crivelli Farms, Dos Palos
Rocco Cunningham, R.O. Shelling & Barlas Feeds, Petaluma
Brian Gill, Gill Cattle/Nielsen Insurance, Exeter
Erin Gorter, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Templeton
Megan Grima, Stephens Ranch Inc., Yuba City
Ted Kingsley, Vann Bros., Williams
Lindsey Liebig, Sacramento County Farm Bureau, Galt
Holly Little, Acadian Seaplants, Walnut Grove
Julian Lopez, Imperial County, Imperial
Megan Marques, California Farm Bureau Federation, San Luis Obispo
Jonathan Merrill, Merrill Farms LLC, Salinas
Michael Newton, Newton Farms, Stratford
Erin O’Donnell, The Sun Valley Rice Company, LLC, Arbuckle
Brian O’Neill, Huron Orchard Services, Fresno
Matt Peyret, First Northern Bank, Woodland
Priscilla Rodriguez, Western Ag Processors Association, Fresno
Trevor Tagg, West-Gro Farms Inc., El Centro