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51st Class Selected for California Agricultural Leadership Program; Dwight Ferguson Discusses

51st Class Selected for California Agricultural Leadership Program; Dwight Ferguson Discusses



MONTEREY, CA - For those who enter the workforce, there is usually never a straight path to success. However, that doesn’t mean a helping hand is far away. The California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF) is helping ensure our industry’s future is set with leaders to take the wheel with the announcement of 24 new inductees to its California Agricultural Leadership Program.

Dwight Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer, California Agricultural Leadership Foundation“The California Ag Leadership Foundation (CALF) grows leaders who make a difference and go on to lead in agriculture, their businesses, communities, and families,” said CALF President and Chief Executive Officer Dwight Ferguson. “We recruit a diverse and inclusive set of fellows who represent a broad cross-section of the California ag industry and the state’s population.”

This year’s Class 51 will partake in the advanced leadership development experience, which helps emerging agricultural leaders take their place in our wide state’s varied agricultural sectors. The new fellows will be inaugurated into the program on October 14 at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

With over a potential $1.2 million invested this year, the new Class 51 Fellows include:

  1. Scott Berndt, RUSD Food Hub
  2. Jake Cecil, Sunsweet Growers
  3. Nick Escobar, G3 Enterprises
  4. John Gardiner, Gardiner Farms
  5. Matan Goldberg, Agriculture Capital
  6. Tom Gore, Constellation Brands
  7. Mylène Hermier, Duckhorn Portfolio
  8. Carrie Isaacson, Broadhead
  9. Betsy Karle, University of California Cooperative Extension
  10. Miguel Lizarraga, Naraghi Farms
  11. Victor Lopez, Lopez Yara North America
  12. Ahna Miller, Driscoll’s
  13. Kel Mitchel, Renewable Resources Group
  14. Charlotte Mitchell, California Farmland Trust
  15. Scott Petersen, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority
  16. Jessica Saltzman, Farm Credit West
  17. Kevin Souza, Harris Woolf Almonds
  18. Ryan Stapleton, Delicato Family Vineyards
  19. Donglan Tian, Bayer
  20. Marlene Velasquez, Rumiano Cheese
  21. Darcy Vlot, Vlot Calf Ranch, Cross Creek Farms
  22. Will Weiss, Bella Vista Farming Company
  23. Debbie Willmann, Index Fresh
  24. Jarett Zonneveld, Alta California

The California Agricultural Leadership Foundation recently announced this year’s 24 new fellows to take part in California Agricultural Leadership Program’s Class 51

According to the release, the new inductees will be immersed in a bevy of dynamic seminars during an intensive 17-month program. This year’s 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 approximately 55 seminar days, including a 10-day national travel seminar and a 14-day international travel seminar.

CALF invests more than $50,000 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 agriculture and other areas.

Cheers to the new fellows as they embark on their journey to leadership!

California Ag Leadership Foundation



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California Agricultural Leadership Foundation

The California Agricultural Leadership Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation committed to...