January 14, 2021

Western Growers Inaugurates Next Generation of Agricultural Leaders

IRVINE, Calif. (January 14, 2021) – To identify and prepare the next generation of Western Growers (WG) members for positions of leadership within the Western fresh produce industry, WG has inaugurated the sixth class of the Future Volunteer Leaders Program (FVLP). This year, for the first time in program history, the FVLP welcomes a future leader from Colorado, which became the third membership state in the WG family in 2015.  

The following nine 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
•    Rocky Hampton, LIDCO
•    Tracy Jones, Booth Ranches
•    Colby Pereira, Braga Fresh Family
•    Garret Powell, Peter Rabbit Farms
•    Amber Strohauer, Strohauer Farms
•    Grant Talley, Talley Farms

“The increasing number of FVLP alumni serving on our board of directors is testament to the value of this leadership program,” stated Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia. ”This incoming class is a vibrant group and I look forward to their participation and future industry leadership.”

Over the course of the next two years, the Future Volunteer Leaders will shadow current members of the WG Board of Directors during board meetings, learning about federal, state and local issues affecting the Western fresh produce industry. 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.

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

Click here to visit the FVLP website and learn more about the Class 6 participants.


About Western Growers:

Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional 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. Connect and learn more about Western Growers on Twitter and Facebook.