June 25, 2024

WG Board Members Join CDFA Secretary Karen Ross at Annual CATA Conference Opening Session

The California Agricultural Teachers Association (CATA), which focuses on the professional development of agricultural teachers, held its annual summer conference this week.

Western Growers executive committee members Stuart Woolf, President and CEO of Woolf Farming and Processing; and Neill Callis, General Manager of Turlock Fruit Company, were on hand to kick off the opening session on June 24, alongside Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

Other expert panelists included Mark Borman, President of Taylor Farms Foodservice; Jeff Morrison, Director of Innovation and New Technology at Grimmway Farms; and Ellen Sanders Way, Owner of Sanders Family Almond Ranch and the family-owned Prime Time International. The panel was moderated by Cal Poly professor, Dr. J. Scott Vernon.

For the estimated 1,000 people in attendance, the panel covered skill gaps in agriculture, ways to connect with industry partners to create opportunities for students and how producers navigate challenges. Secretary Ross spoke about her agricultural background and led a dynamic discussion on current issues and events and how to prepare for the next generation of agriculture.

The event was held at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif.