Jan 15, 2021
Organic farm pros dominate Western Growers’ leadership program
Young professionals from organic farm operations made a good showing this week as participants were announced for a leadership program though Western Growers.
Seven out of nine individuals to participate in Western Growers’ Future Volunteer Leaders Program (FVLP) come from farms with certified-organic operations.
The following individuals have been selected to represent the next generation of industry leaders:
- Phillip Adam, Innovative Produce.
- Mason Brady, Homegrown Organics Farms.
- Kristen Smith Eshaya, JVSmith Companies.
- Colby Pereira, Braga Fresh Family.
- Garret Powell, Peter Rabbit Farms.
- Amber Strohauer, Strohauer Farms.
- Grant Talley, Talley Farms.
The Western Growers group represents family farmers growing fresh produce in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Western Growers’ members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including half of America’s fresh organic produce, according to a news release from Western Growers.
Over the course of the next two years, the Future Volunteer Leaders will shadow current members of the Western Growers Board of Directors during board meetings, learning about federal, state and local issues affecting the Western fresh produce industry, according to the news release. Additionally, during the second year of the program, Class 6 will travel to Florida to tour a host of agricultural operations as part of an exchange program with the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association’s Emerging Leader Development Program. Future Volunteer Leaders will also participate in agtech initiatives through the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology, as well as engage in media relations and social media efforts.
“The increasing number of FVLP alumni serving on our board of directors is testament to the value of this leadership program,” said Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia.
Since the program’s inception in 2011, seven FVLP alumni have graduated into a seat on the WG Board of Directors, including six who are on the current 2021-2022 board:
- Alexander Muller, Pasquinelli Produce
- Brandon Grimm, Grimmway Farms
- Eric Reiter, Reiter Affiliated Companies
- J.P. LaBrucherie, LaBrucherie Produce
- Neill Callis, Turlock Fruit Company
- Stephen Martori, Martori Farms