Letter to the Community: The State of Agriculture Leadership

Dear Community Friends,

Development of the next generation of agricultural leaders is as important to California agriculture as the crops we grow that feed and clothe the nation and world.

Today, like never before, the viability and relevancy of our industry is challenged by many issues including ever expanding regulations and a growing urban population that mostly does not understand what we do and why we do it even though they enjoy what we have done. Understanding our dilemma and seeking out pathways that reverse course is essential before more damage is done.

Therein lies our focus on the next generation. They must be better than we have ever been before. Certainly, their proficiency in production, processing and marketing practices must rise to the next level as must their sophistication in bridging between rural and urban mindsets; developing relationships and communication skills that facilitate dispute resolution; and embracing leadership traits of vision, compassion, involvement and critical thinking.

Knowledge is power and once empowered in this manner, our future will become more secure. That is why we are so pleased that West Hills College Lemoore has been awarded state funding to launch a valley-wide ag leadership initiative to foster the next generation of ag leaders. The course is scheduled to be launched on January 23, 2019 and is the initial offering of a broader Central Valley Community College Agricultural Leadership program initiative. The program will be available to all community college students in the region. Students will produce reports on significant issues affecting agriculture and meet weekly with agriculture leaders in a classroom setting and culminates with a visit to Sacramento where the students will interact with legislators, gubernatorial appointees, consultants and others.

We greatly appreciate the state funding in advancing this much needed program which will benefit students and agriculture for decades to come. Thankfully yours,

George H. Soares
Kahn, Soares and Conway, LLP

Joel Nelsen
California Citrus Mutual

George Radanovich
California Fresh Fruit Association

Ruthann Anderson
President and CEO
California Association of Pest Control Advisers

Dusty Ference
Executive Director
Kings County Farm Bureau

Darrin Monteiro
Member and Government Relations
California Dairies, Inc.

Ryan Jacobsen
Executive Director
Fresno County Farm Bureau

Todd Sanders
Executive Director
California Apple Commission
California Blueberry Commission
Olive Growers Council of California

Richard Matoian
Executive Director
American Pistachio Growers

Roger Isom
President and CEO
Cal. Cotton Ginners & Growers Assoc.
Western Agricultural Processors Assoc.

Karen Musson
Gar & Ester Tootelian Charitable Foundation

Greg Musson
Gar Tootelian, Inc.

Manuel Cunha
Nisei Farmers League

Tricia Stever Blattler
Executive Director
Tulare County Farm Bureau

Laura Brown
State Legislative Affairs

California Women for Agriculture

Will Scott
African American Farmers of California

Christina Beckstead
Executive Director
Madera County Farm Bureau

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