Leadership Farm Bureau announces class of 2014
March 18, 2014
Eleven agricultural leaders from across California have been selected to participate in a year-long training program that lays the foundation for future contributions to the farming and ranching community. The 2014 Leadership Farm Bureau class will receive more than 250 hours of instruction in subjects including political advocacy, public speaking, media relations, personal development and the Farm Bureau organization.
This year's class will participate in an advocacy trip to Washington, D.C., as well as a trip to Arkansas that will allow the group to compare and contrast what they have seen in California with the forces affecting farmers and ranchers in another region of the country.
Farm Bureau members selected for the 2014 Leadership Farm Bureau class include:
- Sarbdeep Atwal, Yuba-Sutter County, a criminal defense and immigration attorney who is a managing partner in his family’s farm of tree fruit and nut crops and a board member of the Yuba-Sutter County Farm Bureau;
- Tod Bartholomay, Ventura County, Southern California Edison agricultural representative whose family raises cattle and farms in North Dakota;
- Mary Diebert, Madera County, agricultural account manager at Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and a member of the utility’s Ag Task Force;
- Paul Gilbert, Yuba-Sutter County, president of his family’s walnut farm and second vice president of the Yuba-Sutter County Farm Bureau;
- Melissa Green, Solano County, who is responsible for new product research and development at Superior Farms in Dixon and is the current chair of the Solano County Young Farmers and Ranchers Program;
- Hans Herkert, Yuba-Sutter County, pest control advisor and certified crop advisor in Northern California who also farms rice on the family ranch in Colusa;
- Devon Jones, Mendocino County, executive director of the Mendocino County Farm Bureau and an active member of the American Quarter Horse Association;
- Aimee Meidinger, Ventura County, operations manager at Brokaw Nursery LLC and secretary of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County Young Farmers and Ranchers;
- Riana Mello, Tulare County, a commodity salesperson for J.D. Heiskell & Co., a grain and commodity sales and trading business, and an active member of the Tulare County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Program;
- Pierre Sleiman, San Diego County, CEO of Go Green Agriculture Inc., an organically certified hydroponic greenhouse operation, and a member of the San Diego County Farm Bureau board of directors;
- Brie Witt, San Joaquin County, a grower relations representative at Constellation Brands Inc. and chair of the San Joaquin Young Farmers and Ranchers.
The participants' training will culminate at a graduation ceremony during the California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting this December in Orange County.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 78,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.
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