BY STAFF REPORT
The Almond Board of California is proud to announce the Almond Leadership Program Class of 2020. ABC chose three Turlock-area residents to participate in the 2020 program: Jason DeGraff, Raj Samran and Matthew Wilson. They join a class of 17 promising leaders who represent diverse backgrounds across multiple industries, from almond farmers to processors, sales representatives to consultants, researchers and more.
In this year-long program, participants will grow in their roles as the future generation of California almond industry leaders, learning from volunteer mentors who will help equip them with the knowledge and experience necessary to improve their leadership skills, the industry and their communities. The class will also complete specialized training in a wide variety of topic areas, many of which are tied to ABC activities in global marketing, production and nutrition research, food safety and more. Through monthly seminars spanning topics across all aspects of the industry, participants will sharpen their communication skills while building lasting relationships with each other, ABC staff and others through networking opportunities.
As a kickoff to the program, the Leadership class participated in a two-day orientation that included an address from ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott and Chair of ABC’s Board of Directors Holly A. King. Waycott and King highlighted the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals and the almond community’s roadmap to achieving them, two cornerstones of this year’s Almond Leadership Program.
As they progress through the program, participants will gain a stronger understanding of how social, economic and environmental issues — combined with the current political climate — affect the industry. They’ll also learn how all sectors in the almond supply chain work together to provide a safe, sustainable product to consumers worldwide.
“It’s important now more than ever before to help pay-it-forward by empowering the next generation of talented leaders to sustain and propel the tremendous benefits of modern agriculture, making a positive contribution toward feeding and nourishing our growing and connected world,” said program mentor Nassar Dean of Bayer Crop Science, the official sponsor of the 2020 Almond Leadership Program.
Participants are also required to pursue an area of interest as part of a yearlong self-directed project that they will present to fellow classmates, mentors and the ABC Board of Directors at the end of the program.
Jason DeGraff is a pest control advisor for Mid Valley Ag Services, where he has been advising on almonds for the past few years. Raj Samran of Samran & Sons Farming Co. Inc., farms almonds with his family near Denair. Matthew Wilson has been a sales representative with Bayer Crop Science since Jan. 2015, and he works in the northern San Joaquin Valley to provide pest control advisors with technical product information for responsible crop care.
BY STAFF REPORT