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Pat Bailey is a writer handling media relations in agriculture, nutrition and veterinary medicine for UC Davis' News Service. A UC Davis alumna, she worked as a newspaper reporter in San Joaquin County before returning to join the campus staff.
One Shields Road
Davis, CA 95616
Brean Bettencourt is from Turlock, California. She is a descendant of immigrants from Italy and the Azores Islands who came to the US to farm and establish a dairy in the Central Valley of California.
In the first year of college, Brean focused on becoming an English major, hoping to become a teacher and eventually a principal. That all changed when, just by chance, she took her first agriculture class while simultaneously working at farmers' markets, selling fruits and vegetables for a family friend.
With that perfect storm, her love for agriculture began to emerge. She knew, "Wow, this is where I belong! Everything I have, I owe to agriculture. It only makes sense to serve this wonderful industry!"
Her experience with selling produce at bay area farmers' markets has helped her understand the tremendous disconnect between the general public and the individuals who produce our foods and fibers. She believes that today, more than ever, there is a need for individuals involved in agriculture to spread their message - to reach out to the public about what it is that we do.
Upon attaining her BS degree in Fruit Science with a minor in Agricultural Communications, Brean hopes to contribute to society by communicating the message of agriculture and producing high-quality, wholesome and nutritious food.
Megan Brownell graduated Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2009 with a degree in Agricultural Science and minors in Ag Business, Ag Communications and Spanish. She operates the Marketing Department for Omni Agri Resources, LLC in the Arroyo Grande office.
Having grown up in east Santa Maria, Megan has always been surrounded by row crops, vineyards, horses and cattle. She participated in La Graciosa 4-H from mini-member through high school and joined Righetti FFA as a freshman, ultimately becoming the 2003-2004 California State FFA Reporter. Today she is involved with the Young Farmers and Ranchers program, a Director of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, and has future plans to apply for the California Agriculture Leadership Program.
Omni Agri Resources, LLC
Mindy Burris is from Denair, CA. She has a strong passion for the agricultural industry and has literally grown up in it. Aside from showing livestock (specifically market hogs) across the nation, she comes from a very strong agricultural based family. Her mother is an agricultural teacher in Modesto and her father farms almonds in the central valley. Throughout both high school and college, Mindy was active in extracurricular clubs such as FFA, 4-H and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow.
Mindy received her B.S. in Agricultural Science emphasizing Communications (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) because SHE LOVES telling the story of agriculture. While at Cal Poly, she worked as the Ag Circle Editor-in-Chief at the Brock Center for Agricultural Communication and as an intern with the I Love Farmers...They Feed My Soul Program at the Aggressive Media Group.
Currently, she is working on her Master’s degree in Agribusiness while working in the Marketing Department for Omni Agri Resources, LLC in the Arroyo Grande office. After graduate school, Mindy plans to continue telling the story of agriculture. For Mindy, agriculture is the source of everything American and that story fails to be mentioned far too often – she intends to change that. She loves farmers because they provide for our world’s well being. Mindy notes that they provide her with food three times a day, fresh fruits and veggies in the fridge, ice cream and many other foods. More importantly, she thinks that they are excellent representatives of how more Americans should act. Farmers deserve more recognition for their daily efforts to feed our families, friends, neighbors and our world.
Omni Agri Trade Group, LLC
PO Box 1027
Arroyo Grande, CA 93421
Ria de Grassi earned her B.S., cum laude, in Agricultural Science and Management in 1983 and her M.S. in Animal Science in 1987, both from the University of California, Davis. She joined the Farm Bureau’s staff in 1987 and is presently the Director of Livestock, Animal Health and Welfare in the National Affairs & Research Division of the California Farm Bureau Federation in Sacramento, California. She administers five statewide Farm Bureau committees, including the Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Committee. Additionally, she chaired the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s Task Force on the Emergency Euthanasia of Livestock and Poultry and recently completed eight years as the Vice Chair of the U.S. Animal Health Association’s Committee on Animal Welfare.
From 2001 through 2003, Ria served as the agricultural industry representative on the Governor’s State Strategic Committee on Terrorism, Food and Agriculture Security Subcommittee. From September 2005 through 2006, she was a member of a special U.S. Department of Homeland Security team for California agriculture. Since 2006, she has been a member of the Sacramento Chapter of InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and the private sector to prevent hostile acts against the U.S. She is an industry representative to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s International Animal Welfare Training Institute, the past chair of the UC Davis Department of Animal Science Development Board, a graduate of Class XXI of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, past president of Capital Agri-Women, life member of the Agricultural Leadership Alumni and the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, past director of the UC Davis Cal Aggie Alumni Association board and emerita trustee of the UC Davis Foundation.
Ria was the 1993 young alumnus recipient of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Award of Distinction and received the California State Beekeepers Association 1997 Distinguished Service Award.
Luke DeGroot grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Fresno, CA. His grandfather started dairying over 30 years ago, and the business has grown into a successful family operation run by his father and brothers. Their success and contribution to American family farming sparked a passion in Luke for farmers and the mission of I Love Farmers... They Feed My Soul.
Luke’s experiences working with his family around the cows and the crops taught him the value of hard work but also revealed the hardships that come with working in a volatile and easily scrutinized industry. To learn more and become involved, Luke interned at the Fresno County Farm Bureau. There, he met farmers from every aspect of agriculture and learned about the problems they face. Also, he spent time learning about government’s involvement in the lives of farmers and its treatment of farmers’ issues.
Luke notes that his involvement in I Love Farmers is the perfect opportunity to cultivate his enthusiasm and revive the respect and love that American family farmers deserve. “There are so many opportunities out there for young people to do what they love. I love farmers because they work hard to provide us with a huge range of food choices so we have the time to follow our passions. My passion happens to be farming, so I’m excited to be part of I Love Farmers.”
I Love Farmers... They Feed My Soul
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Matthew Fidelibus is an Associate Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, located at the Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier. He conducts applied research to develop or refine cultural practices that improve the yield and quality of raisins, table and wine grapes, and extends those findings, along with general viticulture information, in a variety of ways via Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/viticulture) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/grapetweets).
He earned a B.S. in Biology from San Diego State University, an M.S. in Plant Biology from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in Horticultural Sciences from the University of Florida.
Associate Cooperative Extension Specialist
Department of Viticulture and Enology
Kearney Agricultural Center
9240 S. Riverbend Ave.
Parlier, CA 93648
Jeff Fowle is a family farmer and rancher from Etna, California. He and his wife, Erin, and son, Kyle, raise registered Angus cattle, Percheron draft horses, warmbloods, alfalfa and alfalfa-grass hay and grain as a rotation. They also start and train horses for riding, jumping and driving. Their family run ranch has incorporated many environmentally beneficial and water efficient technologies and management strategies.
Jeff attended college at Colorado State University for two years studying mechanical engineering and military science, then he attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for four years, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and judged on their Livestock Judging Team. At Cal Poly he worked as a student manager for the school feed mill. Following college, he worked in Washington State for a year as the herdsman for BB Cattle Company and then returned to Etna, California in 1995 to operate the KK Bar Ranch and manage Siskiyou Percherons. Both operations are now owned and operated by Jeff and his family.
Jeff is currently the President of the AgChat Foundation, Chair of the Siskiyou County Planning Commission, 2nd Vice President of the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau, the Chair of the California Farm Bureau Beef Commodity Advisory Committee, representative on the California Farm Bureau Commodity Policy Review Committee, the beef representative on the Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Committee and the president of the North Fork Ditch Company.
Additionally, he has been actively engaged in water and endangered species issues since 1992. Jeff served on the California Coastal Salmonid Restoration Committee, the Scott River CRMP and Scott River Watershed Council, of which he is currently a member of the water committee. His passion for protecting the family farmer and rancher from unnecessary and burdensome federal and state regulations has led to his involvement in several state initiated regulatory processes, including the Klamath, Shasta and Scott Total Maximum Daily Load plans and the Shasta and Scott Incidental Take Permits.
KK Bar Ranch & AgChat Foundation
Etna, CA 96027
Bob Gray earned a double-major degree in English and Philosophy from the University of Arizona in Tucson. He received a British Marshall Scholarship to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland where he furthered his studies in literature with an Honors Master of Arts in English Language and Literature.
Ultimately, Mr. Gray decided to pursue a professional path in agriculture where he worked at Couture Farms and several other farms in Arizona and California in the 1970s before joining Gene Jackson Farms, which was a Duda subsidiary, in 1980. After a variety of positions, he became CEO of the renamed Duda subsidiary, and was named an executive vice president of the parent corporation. He served as both a director and for three years as chairman of the Hartnell College Foundation Board (1995-2001). He was the industry Chairman of the Board of Western Growers Association in 2008. Mr. Gray now serves as the President and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. He still harbors a desire to teach once he retires. “Though rather than literature, I might be better suited teaching business classes, based on my experiences in produce,” he noted recently.
President & CEO
California Agricultural Leadership Foundation
P.O. Box 479
Salinas, CA 93902
425 W. Blanco Road
Salinas, CA 93908
Pam Kan-Rice is assistant director of News and Information Outreach for the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Before taking the media relations post in 2001, Pam was managing editor of California Agriculture, the division’s research journal, for seven years. She was managing editor of agricultural trade publications based in Fresno before joining UC. She served on a team of land-grant university communicators that developed a media-relations training curriculum and has presented the training for communicators from other universities.
Pam holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Saint Mary’s College.
Annie J. King is a Professor in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis. Her research, teaching and outreach concentrate on the nutritional quality of poultry meat, eggs and their products and use of agricultural by-products, containing antioxidants, in poultry feed.
She served as the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for nearly 11 years (1994 -2005) and returned to Animal Science to continue her research program and as an instructor of avian and animal sciences courses in 2005. Presently, she serves as a faculty advisor for undergraduate students in the Department and as faculty advisor/instructor for the Contemporary Leadership Minor, part of the Science and Society Program and affiliated with the Center for Leadership Learning at UC Davis.
Annie was a member of Class 30 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program and presently serves as the campus coordinator for the Program at Davis. As campus coordinator, she works with coordinators at three other California college campuses and the Director of Education at the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation to organize several leadership seminars per year for mid-career agriculturalists and others in closely related occupations.
She received her B.S. degree in Foods and Nutrition from N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Food Science (minor in nutrition) are from NC State University, Raleigh, North Carolina. As a grandmother, she is the author of a series of children’s books, the first of which (Granny Annie Lives at the Airport) was published in 2009.
Department of Animal Science
One Shields Road
Davis, CA 95616
Cory Lunde serves as Policy Analyst and Project Manager for Western Growers, one of the leading agricultural trade associations in the country representing the fresh vegetable, fruit and tree nut industries in California and Arizona. In this position, Cory provides assistance to the Western Growers President and CEO on agricultural policy and federal and state legislative issues. He is also responsible for facilitating the development and implementation of the Western Growers’ strategic plan. Additionally, Cory leads specific CEO-directed projects ensuring timely completion, quality results and consistency with the organization’s mission and strategic plan.
Cory has a background in education and politics. Prior to joining Western Growers, he spent four years as a high school history teacher and worked as a research analyst on former State Senator Chuck Poochigian’s campaign for California Attorney General.
He earned his Bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Portland and his Master’s degree, magna cum laude, in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. Mr. Lunde resides in Long Beach, California, with his wife, Paula, and their son, Elijah.
Policy Analyst and Project Manager
17620 Fitch Street
Irvine, CA 92614
California Agriculture Communication Coalition
17620 Fitch Street
Irvine, CA 72614
Robin Lynde is a shepherd, weaver and teacher. Part of her upbringing was in Cotati (Sonoma Co.) where she participated in 4-H. After agricultural experiences in high school, she worked with the Bureau of Land Management in CO, UT and AZ. She learned to spin and weave after college and kept exploring it in the intervening years. In 1999, she began raising her Jacob flock and developed the business to encompass sheep on one end and weaving on the other with all the other parts (teaching, retail shop and marketing) in between.
Robin’s goal in using social media is to bring people to her website to generate clients for her Meridian Jacob Sheep Ranch. In addition to selling breeding stock, she sells “pet” sheep and meat locker lambs. Early on, Robin saw the potential of creating a national client list for her online store by using the internet where she sells sheep, fiber and hand woven items which have received national recognition. Robin keeps her pages fresh by blogging about her sheep, upcoming fiber classes and new products in her store’s inventory. Her marketing plan is to have her clients view her website/Facebook page at least once a week.
Robin lives in a rural area but by using social media she is able to draw in a regional clientele to her spinning and weaving classes. Robin began writing for fiber arts magazines in the mid 1990’s. She relies on her excellent writing abilities to share her love of weaving and spinning and to add to her client base.
Robin’s educational background includes a B.S. in Range and Wildlands Science and a Master’s degree in Physical Education from Sonoma State. Presently, she serves on the Interim Board of Solano Grown and is also a member of Sacramento Weavers & Spinners Guild.
7811 N. Meridian Rd.
Vacaville, CA 95688
Jim Morris has managed communications for the California Rice Commission (CRC) since 2007. He is proud to serve California’s 2,500 family rice farmers and handlers. Jim manages the CRC’s public education campaigns, which utilize social media and other vehicles to inform key audiences including legislators, decision makers and opinion leaders about the important role California rice plays in the state’s environment, economy, culture and cuisine.
Prior to coming to the CRC, Jim worked in communications for more than 17 years at the California Farm Bureau Federation, including nearly a decade as a reporter and host of the popular syndicated television show, “California Country.”
Jim is married with two children. His passions include his faith, family, football, running and reading.
California Rice Commission
8801 Folsom Blvd., Suite 172
Sacramento, CA 95826-3249
Anita Oberbauer received her B.S. (1980) in Zoology at the University of California, Davis, and her Ph.D. in Animal Physiology at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY in 1985. After completing two post doctoral fellowships, she began her professional career in the Animal Science Department at UC Davis in 1989. Her research program has two areas of emphasis: a) growth and development focusing on skeletal growth and b) the genetic basis for health disorders in dogs.
Anita has been at the forefront of the move to include companion animals in animal science teaching and research. In 1993, she developed and taught Companion Animal Biology, a lower-division course that was extremely well received and grew dramatically in enrollment. She then developed a new upper-division course, Companion Animal Care and Management, which also was enormously successful. She designed her courses to include the full range of companion animals, including rodents, rabbits, ferrets, and even reptiles and fish. Her course outlines have been used by animal science departments across the U.S. wishing to establish their own successful curricula in companion animal biology. The campus recognized her exceptional teaching by honoring her in 2002 with a prestigious UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award.
Other awards include the American Society of Animal Science Corbin Award in Companion Animal Biology (2004) and the Distinguished Teacher Award for the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science (2006). In addition to serving on many campus committees, consulting with the Morris Animal Foundation and serving on the Board of Directors for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, she regularly gives presentations and interviews relative to canine companionship, maintenance and health.
Due to her distinguished service in the Department of Animal Science as Vice Chair and to the UC Davis campus, Anita’s colleagues recently chose her as their new Department Chair. She was appointed by the Dean to the post in October, 2009. She is a valued member of the UC Davis campus.
One Shields Road
Davis, CA 95616
Mike Poe has worked in media production for over 35 years, the past 26 at the University of California. As the managing media producer and director for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources he manages TV production, streaming media, photography, media library, audio production, online course development and delivery, and is a key figure in the Division's training coordination. Mike has produced over 500 video projects and hundreds more video clips. He's been a professional photographer since the 1970's and especially enjoys conducting digital photography workshops for university researchers throughout the state.
Media Services Manager
ANR Communication Services & Information Technology
1850 Research Park Drive, Suite 200
Davis, CA 95691
Jason Shoultz has been a reporter/producer for America’s Heartland since the program's debut in 2005. An Iowa native, he graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with an emphasis on political science.
Jason began his television career as a reporter for KWQC-TV in Davenport, Iowa. In 2000 his career evolved into the academic world, as he became a member of the adjunct faculty for Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. There, Jason was the instructor for a graduate-level broadcast journalism course. At the same time, he worked as a general assignment and special projects reporter/producer for the Fox affiliate in Hartford, CT. Most recently, Jason has led the social media effort for America's Heartland.
2030 West El Camino
Sacramento, California 95835
Dave Sickert received his degree in Communication with a minor in Business from California State University. He is an entrepreneur at heart. He launched his first business - candle making -at age 12, followed two years later by his second - landscape maintenance. A tour of a few large cities, two coasts and 25+ years of working with large media enterprises (McClatchy Newspapers, HBO, Time Warner Cable, AOL) directing marketing, program distribution, e-commerce and internal start-up initiatives, and Dave returned to his West Coast entrepreneurial roots with the formation of AMCi (A Million Cooks, Inc.).
Chief Envisionary Officer
AMCi / A Million Cooks, Inc.
Sonoma, CA 95476
Natasha Tuck is VP of Sales & Business Development, Capay Valley Farm Shop. She is a seasoned professional with extensive experience in sales, project management, team leadership and program management. At Capay Valley Farm Shop, she spearheaded a social media strategy to develop a loyal, enthusiastic fan base for local food and farms. Natasha successfully implemented numerous systems to meet a wide range of business requirements and developed creative solutions to serve all stakeholders involved.
She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Mills College and an MBA in Sustainable Management, with an emphasis on local and organic food, from the Presidio Graduate School. She recently worked with various clients on a variety of sustainability initiatives. She is passionate about health and wellness and its relationship to sustainable agriculture.
Capay Valley Farm Shop is a collaborative of farms and ranches in the Capay Valley working together to bring fresh local goodness from the valley to your table. Capay Valley Farm Shop brings together a diverse partnership of enthusiastic and approachable family farmers who share a passion for growing food and their community. They are proud to unite products under a regional identity, Capay Valley Grown, and share an abundant harvest of high quality products — organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, olive oil, wine, lavender, honey, flowers and more.
VP of Sales and Business Development
Capay Valley Farm Shop
P.O. Box 581
Esparto, CA 95627
Neal Van Alfen earned a bachelor’s (Chemistry) and master’s (Botany) degrees from Brigham Young University and a doctoral degree in Plant Pathology from UC Davis. His prior appointments include head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Texas A&M University; professor of biology and molecular biology and biochemistry at Utah State University; and plant pathology research scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
Neal was named Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 1999, and was appointed in 2009 by the chancellor to a third term as dean. Under his leadership, numerous academic programs within the college have risen to, and maintained, top national rankings. An elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Phytopathological Society, he has served on numerous national committees and boards, including a number of National Research Council studies on biological control.
He is the editor of the Annual Review of Phytopathology, and served as president of the American Phytopathological Society. Additionally, he chaired the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council and was a founder of the Agricultural Biotechnology Communicators group. With extensive international experience, he serves on the board of directors for the Binational Agricultural Research and Development program between the United States and Israel and has served as a member of a Vietnam Education Foundation team to help the Ministry of Education and Training in Vietnam improve higher education.
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
150 Mrak Hall
University of California
One Shields Road
Davis California 95616
Scott Vernon received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Ag Education/Ag Business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and his Ph.D. in Ag Leadership/Beef Cattle Management from Texas A&M University. Other information about Scott Vernon follows.
Education and Work
- Vernon Communications August 1984 to present
Delivering high energy, high content speeches and seminars throughout the United States. Vernon is consider one of the nation's leading agriculture advocates. Focused on agriculture, youth and education. Specializing in leadership development, media training, enhancing public speaking skills and crisis communication in agriculture.
- Maximum Benefit Auctions January 1974 to present
Managing Partner / Auctioneer
MBA provides professional auctioneers and bid-spotters for fundraising events. We have raised millions of dollars helping groups help others!
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Professor - Ag Education and Communication
Bringing reality to the classroom everyday!
Agriculture Education and Communication
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Jennifer Wade is a Development Analyst in University Outreach and International Programs, UC Davis. She is co-chair of the Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance and serves as a member of the Staff Diversity Administrative Advisory Committee.
Jennifer holds a BS in Managerial Economics and a BA in Communication (2003) from the University of California, Davis. Prior to returning to her alma mater, Jennifer worked as a Senior Consultant for Axiom Advisors/Centration preparing mandated cost claims for cities, school districts and special districts. She has also worked with Sports Marketing and Promotions at UC Davis, in marketing and promotions with the radio station 107.9 KDND and as a special events coordinator with Macy’s.
Inspired by a summer studying in Salamanca, Spain, Jennifer is an avid traveler and has spent long periods of time traveling in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America.
Jennifer (Wong) Wade
University Outreach and International Programs
Offices of the Chancellor and Provost
One Shields Road
Davis, CA 95616