Real California Milk Spotlights Foodservice Innovation With 2022 Events For Professional Chefs

4th Annual Pizza Competition, CADairy2Go and Cal-Mex Invitational Events Showcase On-Trend Recipes and Techniques Using Real California Cheese and Dairy Products

By California Milk Advisory Board

The Foodservice Division of the California Milk Advisory Board today announced the kickoff date for the 4th Annual Real California Pizza Contest, the return of the CADairy2Go competition and the rollout of a new culinary event focusing on Cal-Mex to round out its foodservice events for 2022.

The 4th annual Real California Pizza Contest, a search for the best pizza recipes using cow’s milk cheeses from California, gets underway on March 1st. Professional chefs and pizzaiolos from throughout the U.S, can enter their innovative recipes from March 1 through April 24, 2022, for a chance to make it to the bake-off final on June 22, 2022, in Napa, Calif. and compete for up to $25,000 in prize money.

The CADairy2Go Invitational is inspired by chefs and foodservice operators who made quick, creative pivots to adjust their menus for the takeout and delivery model during the disruption caused by the pandemic. Now in its 2nd year, the event will feature culinary professionals representing a variety of foodservice backgrounds, such as major restaurant chains, independent restaurants, ghost kitchens and food trucks who will gather in October to compete for a chance at up to $5,000 for their innovative To-Go recipes.

The inaugural Cal-Mex Invitational, scheduled for August, captures creations from chefs who specialize in the culinary and flavor fusion of California and Mexican cuisines.

“Cheese is at the heart of culinary innovation – from creative pizzas to flavorful to-go and fusion dishes. As the leading producer of Hispanic-style cheese and dairy products, we’re excited to add the Cal-Mex Invitational to our foodservice outreach program and to see what the chef’s develop,”

said Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant for the CMAB. “These competitions offer a tremendous opportunity to partner with culinary professionals to spotlight their creativity using our sustainably sourced Real California dairy products.” 

California is a reliable, consistent source of sustainable dairy products used by chefs throughout the world. As the nation’s largest dairy state, California boasts an impressive lineup of award-winning cheesemakers and dairy processors, that are helping to drive dining innovation.

California leads the nation in milk production and is responsible for producing more butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk than any other state. The state is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made with milk from the state’s dairy farm families.

2022-02-16T08:56:00-08:00February 16th, 2022|

Western Ag Processors Association’s Priscilla Rodriguez Completes Prestigious Ag Leadership Program

By Western Agricultural Processors Association

A journey began on October 10th, 2019 that lasted for more than 27 months, and finally came to a conclusion for the Association’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Priscilla Rodriguez, on February 5, 2022.

This journey covered a span of more than 27 months, and included meetings that covered more than 125 days, not including travel and study time. It included trips to Atlanta, GA, and Washington, DC, as well as Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Rodriguez was one of 24 members of the historic Class 50 of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation program who completed their program where it began at California State University – Fresno on February 5th.

Disrupted by the Covid Pandemic, but not deterred, Class 50 weathered the storm to complete their program this past month. Rodriguez had the distinct honor addressing the commencement for Class 50 by giving the opening speech. In her comments, she began by stating “We started this program as strangers, quickly became friends and ultimately family. The bonds and friendships created through the program will continue on for years to come. We may all have different stories, but one thing is true for all of us. This program made a lasting impact through the books we read, people we met and the unforgettable experiences we lived.” She ended her opening remarks by encouraging her classmates “As we move forward in our lives, I challenge us to continue to be open minded, inquisitive, empathetic, passionate, resilient, and grateful, and leave your impact on your families, communities, ag industry, and the world.”

Truly words to live by, not just for her colleagues, but for all of us.

Association President/CEO Roger Isom remarked after the event, “Priscilla was made for the CALF program and the CALF program was made for her. The Association is incredibly proud of her for this accomplishment and her speech is indicative of her growth, and just the type of leader she has started to become.  The Association and the agricultural industry are lucky to have her.”

2022-02-15T09:21:55-08:00February 15th, 2022|

Applications Available for California Ag Leadership Program’s Class 52

By California Agricultural Leadership Foundation 

Applications are now being accepted for Class 52 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP). Applicants should be mid-career growers, farmers, ranchers and/or individuals working in other areas of California’s diverse agriculture industry.

The Ag Leadership Program, operated by the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF), is considered to be one of the premier leadership development experiences in the United States. More than 1,300 men and women have participated in the program and are influential leaders and active volunteers in agriculture, communities, government, business and other areas.

“As we open the application process for Class 52, we are committed to selecting a group of fellows who represent California’s large and very diverse agriculture industry,” said CALF President and CEO Dwight Ferguson. “Our unique curriculum, personalized coaching and a dedicated focus on lifelong learning enables us to produce leaders who benefit their communities, their companies and California agriculture as a whole.”

The 17-month fellowship focuses on mid-career professionals who have a high capacity to lead, a passion for California agriculture and an interest in self-growth and seeing their communities thrive. The program includes approximately 55 days of formal program activities. Four partner universities—Fresno State, UC Davis, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona—deliver comprehensive, diverse and high-impact curriculum designed to improve leadership skills. As a valuable extension to the monthly seminars, fellows participate in national and international travel seminars and receive individualized leadership development coaching.

CALF invests more than $50,000 per fellow to participate in the Ag Leadership Program. The costs are underwritten by individual and industry donations. Candidates are strongly encouraged to talk with Ag Leadership alumni about the program and to attend an informational event. All events will adhere to state and local guidelines for safety and health. 

Detailed program information and the phase one application are available online at www.agleaders.org/apply. Phase one of the three-phrase application process is due no later than April 27, 2022. Individuals are encouraged to complete the application as soon as possible.

2022-02-14T15:30:22-08:00February 14th, 2022|

Special Education Students Cultivate Farm Skills at South Coast REC

Partnership with Esperanza Education Center provides blueprint for other adult transition programs

By UCANR

For students at Esperanza Education Center, an adult transition program serving students with disabilities in south Orange County, there was something deeply satisfying about handpicking 2,000 pounds of avocados.

“There’s a tangible, visual element where you’re like, ‘Wow, I did that – I did it, I can see it, I can feel it in my bones and my muscles,’” said Ray Bueche, principal of the school in Mission Viejo, within the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. “There’s a real sense of accomplishment that you’re seeing in some of these students.”

Ranging in age from 18 to 22, the students are in an adult education program that helps advance their independent living skills and prepare them for meaningful work and careers. They are able to experience the thrill of the harvest – and a variety of other farming activities – through the school’s innovative partnership with UC South Coast Research and Extension Center, a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources facility that supports researchers and delivers outreach and education programs.

Given UC ANR’s emphasis on workforce development, Jason Suppes, a community education specialist at South Coast REC, contacted Bueche in 2019 about a potential collaboration. While Esperanza has many partnerships with retail stores and nonprofits that give students invaluable work experiences, none of them offer the farm environment that South Coast REC could provide.

“Part of developing [our students] is getting a wide range of opportunities in a variety of vocational areas,” Bueche explained. “Agriculture is one that’s very hard for us to find.”

Program ‘wildly successful’ from beginning

Unlike other job sites that bring the students in less frequently, South Coast REC committed to hosting the young people every week for three hours (COVID-19 measures permitting), with Suppes and colleague Tammy Majcherek leading them in planting, weeding, maintenance, harvesting and more.

“We can provide opportunities for students to learn skills that could help them potentially find employment in a garden center, in a nursery, at landscapers,” Suppes said. “The program was wildly successful out of the gate.”

Mike Seyler, an Esperanza teacher who accompanies the students to South Coast REC, has seen firsthand the positive impacts of the partnership. He said one student – who at first balked at the idea of being outside, getting dirty and performing physical labor – eventually grew to like the work and took great pride in pulling carrots from the ground and sharing them with his family.

“To physically actually ‘see’ the work you did – they don’t always get to do that,” Seyler said. “It was cool to see someone, who didn’t necessarily like being outdoors, really enjoy it now.”

The change of pace – and place – was especially beneficial for one young woman at Esperanza. Bueche said the nature of the work and the setting helped the student grow socially, as she relished the teamwork and camaraderie needed to accomplish their goals on the farm.

“We really saw a different person come out through her experiences there – she felt more self-confident; she was more personable with people; she was talking more,” said Bueche, who added that she has leveraged the skills she gained into a paid work-based learning experience with a local retailer.

Students bring produce to school, community

All students benefit from Esperanza’s partnership with South Coast REC, as surplus produce from the center’s fields is donated to make healthy school lunches. In addition, students use REC-grown fruits and vegetables at their monthly pop-up restaurant, where they hone skills in preparing and serving a three-course meal.

Their peers, who harvested the produce, derive immense satisfaction from seeing the fruits of their labor go directly to the school.

“They’re able to enjoy eating the stuff that they’re working for,” Seyler said. “And then they see everyone else enjoying it, and I think that really translates well for these guys.”

The students also played a prominent role in an avocado sale last summer, for which they picked 2,000 pounds of produce, bagged the fruit in 10-pound bags and then distributed preorders to the public from a stand at South Coast REC. Proceeds from the event were used to purchase farm tools, shirts and other gear.

“It was an incredible success – everyone loved the avocados,” Bueche said. “The students loved it; the parents came out; community members supported it.”

Those successes illustrate the power of a strong partnership; the South Coast REC team, in fact, received the school’s “Community Partner of the Year” Award for 2020-21, for persevering through the pandemic to deliver the beneficial programs for students.

Over the last two years, Suppes and Bueche – through a lot of creativity and some trial and error – have sketched a roadmap for growing productive relationships between similar organizations and adult transition programs. And after presenting those results to colleagues, other local school districts and nonprofits such as Goodwill and My Day Counts have contacted South Coast REC to provide similar experiences for community members.

2022-02-08T08:40:05-08:00February 8th, 2022|

COVID-19 Sick Pay

By Manuel Cunha, Jr., Nisei Farmers League.

On January 25, 2022, the Governor’s office announced that Governor Newsom and legislative leaders, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon reached a framework on extending supplemental paid sick leave through September 30, 2022. Many of our legislative representatives are not informed as to what is in the framework.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the framework includes up to 40 hours of paid leave for those that are sick or caring for an ill loved one and an additional 40 hours if proof of a positive test is provided. Up to 3 days of sick leave can be used to attend a vaccination appointment for themselves or a family member and to recover from any symptoms. In total, this would be 80 hours of COVID sick pay that is retroactive from January 1, 2022.

We understand that the Omicron variant has spread quickly among our communities. It has caused hospitals to approach capacity, placing our heroic health care workers under further stress. We must be doing everything we can to slow the spread of COVID to prevent further deaths.

If businesses are going to use this to help slow the spread of COVID then meaningful tax credits need to be provided to assist business in paying the supplemental paid sick leave. Businesses will pay at minimum $1,200 per employee who is eligible and needs to use the full 80 hours of COVID sick leave. From the prior supplemental COVID sick leave, we have seen that if available, employees will exercise their right to use it.

For example, a small farmer who has about 250 acres of tree fruit employs about 45 seasonal workers. They provide PPE to their workers, including providing extra to take home and did not question anyone when they claimed 80 hours of COVID sick pay under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in 2020 and again in 2021. They were able to absorb the COVID sick pay costs because the federal government provided a payroll tax credit that allowed them to get a credit for the full amount of COVID sick pay that was provided to their workers. The business credits proposed in the Governor’s office announcement would do nothing to offset the cost of the proposed COVID sick pay. This small grower would be solely responsible for paying $54,000 in sick pay wages. That amount does not even include the payroll taxes.

If the Governor and legislature are going to use businesses to help slow the spread of COVID and get people vaccinated, then use some of that $31 billion surplus to assist business, such as the small farmer, in providing COVID sick pay. With the supply chain and logistic issues, many farmers took a loss last year. Adding COVID sick pay without a credit is a financial burden that is unsustainable.

2022-02-01T08:38:54-08:00February 1st, 2022|

California Farmland Trust Protects 253 Acres of Almonds in East Merced County

By California Farmland Trust

California Farmland Trust is proud to announce the recent permanent protection of 253 acres of almonds in Merced County, owned by The Myers Irrevocable Flying M Ranch Trust.

Established in the 1950s, Flying M Ranch began farming and ranching in the area of Merced, plentiful with rich agricultural soils and riparian areas. As generations of the Myers family have taken over the operation, they have remained focused on their farming roots and ways to be leaders in facing agriculture’s most persistent challenges, including the preservation of vital natural resources.

This 253-acre property placed in an agricultural conservation easement (ACE) with CFT is one of the many conservation easements protecting the working landscapes of Flying M Ranch. Approximately 5,900 acres of grazing land on their farm has been preserved through other conservation organizations, and the Myers are actively pursuing another ACE with CFT.

“The idea of putting a conservation easement on the property was to keep the ranch in a perpetual state, and we like the idea of keeping it continuous,” said Wes Myers, Flying M Ranch Trust co-trustee. “CFT understands farming and ranching, which is why we chose to work with them on this project.”

Funding for this conservation project was provided through the Agricultural Land Mitigation Program (ALMP), which is administered by Department of Conservation (DOC) on behalf of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

“The growth pressure from the City of Merced and even surrounding communities like Planada, in combination with the Myers desire to be stewards of the land, are all contributing factors that make this farm a quality project for permanent protection,” said Chelsea Slaton, conservation director at CFT. “Given the resources and geographical features of this farm, protecting this property will help sustain long-term production of agricultural commodities for years to come, and we commend the Myers for their stewardship.”

CFT’s portfolio of protected farmland is most prevalent in Merced County and Flying M Ranch adds to these efforts. CFT has now protected 11,669 acres of farmland on 36 farms in Merced County.

2022-01-31T08:48:38-08:00January 31st, 2022|

USDA Announces Plenary Speakers for 2022 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Glenda Humiston to speak on market opportunities for climate smart agriculture

By Pamela Kan-Rice, UCANR

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plenary speakers for the 2022 Agricultural Outlook Forum, themed “New Paths to Sustainability and Productivity Growth” to be held virtually Feb. 24–25, 2022.

The opening plenary session will feature a fireside chat between Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Elizabeth Economy, senior advisor to the Secretary of Commerce. Secretary Vilsack and Economy will discuss U.S.-China agricultural trade relations and prospects for the Chinese agriculture market.

The Secretary’s discussion will be followed by a panel titled “Growing Market Opportunities for Climate Smart, Sustainable Agriculture Systems,” which will bring together sector leaders to discuss how climate smart, sustainable production practices can generate both environmental and economic returns, while still meeting the needs of consumers.

Speakers at the plenary panel include:

  • David Allen, VP of Sustainability at PepsiCo Foods;
  • Glenda Humiston, Vice President, Agriculture & Natural Resources at University of California;
  • Mike McCloskey, Co-Founder and CEO of Select Milk Producers;
  • Elena Rice, Chief Scientific Officer of Genus, PLC; and
  • Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy

“The Outlook Forum is USDA’s largest event of the year. Being asked by Secretary Vilsack to serve on the opening plenary panel is a significant honor,” said Humiston.

Also, during the Thursday morning session, USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer will unveil the Department’s 2022 outlook for U.S. commodity markets and trade and discuss the U.S. farm income situation.

Along with the plenary session, Forum attendees can choose from 30 sessions with more than 90 speakers. The concurrent track sessions and topics supporting this year’s theme are: climate mitigation and adaptation, supply chain resilience, commodity outlooks, frontiers in agricultural production and technology and U.S. trade and global markets.

Visit the Agricultural Outlook Forum website to register and read the program at a glance. Follow the conversation at #AgOutlook on USDA’s TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

Registration to the 2022 Outlook Forum is free but required. Register at https://www.labroots.com/ms/virtual-event/usda-aof-2022.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

2022-01-27T10:59:05-08:00January 27th, 2022|

EPA Looking At Pesticide AIs on Effect on ESA

EPA Announces Endangered Species Act Protection Policy for New Pesticides

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to further the Agency’s compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when evaluating and registering new pesticide active ingredients (AIs).

Before EPA registers any new conventional AI, the Agency will evaluate the potential effects of the AI on federally threatened or endangered (listed) species, and their designated critical habitats, and initiate ESA consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services).

Prior to this action, there was a litany of resource-intensive litigation against EPA for registering new AIs prior to assessing potential effects on listed species. EPA’s new policy should reduce these types of cases against the Agency and improve the legal defensibility of new AIs, which often have lower human health and ecological risks than older pesticides.

Under this new approach, if EPA finds through its analyses that a new conventional pesticide AI is likely to adversely affect listed species or their designated critical habitats, EPA will initiate formal consultation with the Services before granting a new AI registration. As part of its analysis and under its existing authorities, EPA will consider the likelihood that the registration action may jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or adversely modify their designated critical habitat and provide its findings to the Services.

To determine or predict the potential effects of a pesticide on these species and habitats, EPA will use appropriate ecological assessment principles and apply what it has learned from past effects determinations and the Services’ biological opinions.

If EPA determines that jeopardy or adverse modification is likely, the Agency will only make a registration decision on the new AI after requiring registrants to implement mitigation measures that EPA determines would likely prevent jeopardy or adverse modification.

If EPA finds that a new AI is likely to adversely affect listed species or their critical habitat, but that jeopardy/adverse modification is not likely, it may nonetheless require registrants to include mitigation measures on their registration and product labeling to minimize the effects of incidental take to listed species that could result from use of a pesticide.

2022-01-27T10:51:53-08:00January 27th, 2022|

UC Scientists Receive Big Climate-Smart Grant

UC ANR Scientists Receive $1.5M NIFA Grant For Climate-Smart Agriculture

By Pam Kan-Rice, UCANR Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach

To help California farmers and ranchers adjust to uncertain weather and climate events, the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture has awarded $1.5 million to a team of scientists led by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. The project is one of six projects funded by USDA NIFA’s $9 million investment to expand adoption of climate-smart practices.

“The Cooperative Extension system and the USDA Climate Hubs have unmatched capacity to reach agricultural, Tribal and underserved communities, as well as educators and students, and our nation’s farmers directly,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement announcing the grant recipients. “This partnership will strengthen climate research efforts and accelerate the development, adoption and application of science-based, climate-smart practices that benefit everyone.”

California has the largest and the most diverse agricultural economy in the nation, with revenue exceeding $50 billion, which is larger than the revenues of the other 10 Western states combined. Despite its size, the state is highly vulnerable to climate change.

“California farmers and ranchers need locally relevant climate information and adaptation resources,” said Tapan Pathak, UC Cooperative Extension specialist based at UC Merced and principal investigator for the grant. “Similarly, technical service providers are often ill-equipped to assist farmers and ranchers when asked questions about climate change, weather variability and local implications to implement those decisions.”

To train the next generation of workers to be climate-ready, colleges expose students to climate science and agricultural science separately, but often lack opportunities for the students to learn about the nexus of climate and agriculture.

Pathak plans to provide classes – along with opportunities for practical learning experiences – to farmers, ranchers, agricultural service providers and students.

“An overarching goal of this project is to develop robust multifaceted pathways to climate-smart agriculture by integrating Extension and participatory education program development and delivery to enhance agricultural resilience to climate change,” he said.

“To tackle this ambitious goal, we have a large team of multidisciplinary leading scientists and experts from local, state and federal agencies, the California Climate Hub and the University of California ready to work with diverse stakeholder groups.”

UC Cooperative Extension specialists Leslie Roche, Vikram Koundinya and Daniele Zaccaria at UC Davis; Mark Cooper, UC Davis professor; and Steven Ostoja of the USDA California Climate Hub, are co-principal investigators with Pathak.

They will begin with a needs assessment for all of their stakeholders, including socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Through three components, the project team will work to understand growers’ perception of climate change-related threats, build capacity for technical assistance providers to advance climate-smart agriculture research and delivery of science-based information, and educate community college and undergraduate university students.

Engaging with farmers and ranchers

With the help of community partners including the Community Alliance of Family Farmers and the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, the team will reach out to socially disadvantaged and limited-resource producers, including beginning and first-generation farmers and ranchers to attend regional workshops, led by instructors who are fluent in Spanish and Hmong.

Workshop content will address a broad range of topics including climate change trends and local impacts, drought planning strategies, optimization of agricultural productivity with limited resources and farm and ranch economic sustainability.

“California has so much diversity in terms of scale, crops, geography, micro-climates, market conditions and natural resource considerations that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work,” wrote Renata Brillinger, CalCAN executive director, in her letter supporting the project. “We support your plans to address the needs of producers though region-specific workshops.”

Five county-based UC Cooperative Extension academics will serve as regional leads for the farming workshops across broad geographic regions:

  • Andre Biscaro, UCCE irrigation and water resources advisor serving Ventura County
  • Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UCCE small farms advisor for Fresno and Tulare counties
  • Surendra Dara, UCCE entomology and biologicals advisor serving San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties
  • Jairo Diaz, director of the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Southern California
  • Jhalendra Rijal, UCCE integrated pest management advisor serving San Joaquin and Merced counties

Workshops for ranchers and rangeland managers will be coordinated by UCCE rangeland and livestock advisors in their respective regions:

  • Dan Macon, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor for Plumas, Nevada, Sutter and Yuba counties, will organize workshops for the Sierra Nevada mountains and foothill region
  • Grace Woodmansee, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor for Siskiyou County, will organize workshops in Northern California
  • Rebecca Ozeran, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor for Fresno and Madera counties, will organize workshops in Central California
  • Devii Rao, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor for Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, will organize workshops in the coastal region
  • Brooke Latack, UCCE livestock advisor for Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, will organize workshops in Southern California

Training technical service providers

The team will offer climate-smart agriculture trainings for technical service providers on how to prepare for key stressors in California agriculture such as floods, droughts, wildfires and heatwaves; effective climate communications; invasive pests and disease management under future climate; and weather and climate resources and decision support tools for managing risks.

One of the aims of this component is to encourage more coordinated efforts among different agencies to deliver climate change resources to their respective stakeholders, Pathak said.

California Cattlemen’s Association has expressed its support for the project.

“Given ranchers’ strong relationships with and reliance upon technical services providers – particularly those housed within the USDA and University of California – CCA also sees great value in the project’s goal of building capacity within those organizations to assist ranchers in addressing the challenges of climate change,” wrote Kirk Wilbur, CCA vice president of government affairs.

Nurturing future generations

For college students, there will be the UC Merced Summer Institute on Climate and Agriculture certificate course organized by Karina Diaz Rios, UC Cooperative Extension specialist based at UC Merced; the UC Davis credit-based course “Science and Society: Climate Change and Agriculture;” and a certificate course for community college students, which will be overseen by the Bay Area Community College Consortium of 28 colleges.

“We will join you in this exciting work and shared vision towards inclusive education in climate resilient agriculture,” wrote Nancy Gutierrez, statewide director of the Agriculture, Water, Environmental Tech sector of the California Community College System.

Students from the three courses will be selected for paid summer internships to engage in Cooperative Extension projects.

“Through climate-smart agriculture education, the workforce will be prepared to advance climate science and research efforts for future generations,” Pathak said.

2022-01-18T08:08:21-08:00January 18th, 2022|

Harris Farms, Inc. Announces New Chief Executive Officer

Mr. John C. Harris, Chairman of Harris Farms, Inc. Appoints Darren Filkins as CEO

By Suzanne Devereaux, Harris Farms

Harris Farms, Inc., a diversified farming and hospitality company founded in 1937, based near Coalinga, CA, announced that Darren Filkins has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. He will report directly to John C. Harris, the Chairman of Harris Farms, Inc. and the Harris Farms, Inc. Board of Directors. As CEO, Filkins, a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, will oversee all of Harris’ operations, including the company’s farming, hospitality, and thoroughbred horse division.

“I am very pleased and excited that Darren is joining our team as CEO,” said John C. Harris, “Darren is a proven and enthusiastic leader who will inspire our wonderful employees and enable Harris Farms to capitalize on its many strategic opportunities.” As Chairman, Harris will be focused on oversight and strategic planning.

“I am deeply honored to be joining Harris Farms. Mr. Harris and his management team have created a very special company that prides itself on quality, respect for people, and the thoughtful stewardship of natural resources. Harris Farms will always provide the highest quality products, exemplary customer service, and a steadfast commitment to our employees and community. Each of our existing business divisions has compelling opportunities to capitalize upon and I look forward to pursuing exciting new ventures that will further accelerate our growth and utilize our diverse resources,” said Filkins.

Harris Farms, Inc. was founded in 1937 by John Harris’ parents, Jack and Teresa Harris, on the westside of the San Joaquin Valley. Over the decades, the company has dramatically expanded its agricultural operations which now encompasses several thousand acres spanning over three farming locations. The company has also grown to include the Inn at Harris Ranch, three dine-in restaurants, Express BBQ, FastTrack convenience store, and airport. The Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant is a landmark that enables Harris’ agricultural businesses to interface with the traveling public, as well as a devoted local clientele. Opened in 1977, Harris Ranch Restaurant serves about 500,000 people per year and has won numerous culinary awards. Harris Farm’s thoroughbred horse division has been a leading training and breeding farm for decades and raised amongst others, Horses of the Year, California Chrome and Tiznow.

2022-01-13T15:59:16-08:00January 13th, 2022|
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