Kyle Richardson, President, Garry Richardson Farms
Director since 2022 | Member since 2016 | D-9 Kern County/Bakersfield
Kyle Richardson comes from a family with a strong work ethic, innovative ideas and rich traditions. As a third-generation farmer, these values have enabled Richardson to thrive in a position of leadership and influence among the agricultural community.
At present, Richardson is President of Garry Richardson Farms, a leading grower of organic and conventional citrus in the southern part of California’s Central Valley. Founded by his father Garry, the farm began with cultivating late-season peaches on 160 acres of land in 1990. In 2010, the team decided to shift gears and expand its focus on growing conventional and organic citrus.
Richardson was elected to the 2023-2024 Western Growers Board of Directors last fall, making it his first time serving on the board. To his benefit, Richardson is no stranger to Western Growers leadership. Richardson is part of an earlier graduating class of Future Volunteer Leaders, a two-year program that enables members to gain access to specialized networking and agricultural leadership development events within Western Growers, including standalone farm tours with Western Growers board members and training with the organization’s subject matter experts.
“Because I was part of this program, I already had a solid understanding of how things worked on the board,” Richardson said. “I had the opportunity to sit in on board meetings with Western Growers leadership and other future volunteer leaders. It was great to meet new people and learn from them, getting to really see what they do and compare it to what I was already doing and used to. It was good to learn from and work alongside a diverse group of people,” he said.
Richardson knew early on that the family farming business was something he wanted to pursue and spent his summers and spring breaks assisting on the family farm. “I was always given special projects during what would be spring break for most. And in the summers, it was always a grind and I was always working,” Richardson said.
Richardson received his undergraduate degree in Agricultural Business from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. “My father gave me more responsibility after I graduated college, which was a great learning experience,” he said. “After I graduated, we started planting easy-peel mandarins, which has been a ton of work. We’ve since taken a few trips to Spain to expand our knowledge on how to successfully grow them.”
And when things started to slow down a bit after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Richardson took the opportunity to go back to school, receiving his MBA from the University of Southern California in 2022.
Richardson has also been a board member of the Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water Storage District for the last four years. He said Garry Richardson Farms has been fortunate in avoiding the array of challenges associated with recent heavy rainfall and floodwater. “Luckily, because we’re in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley, we haven’t seen widespread flooding or anything of that nature. There have been road closures, but nothing has been washed out like what I’m seeing happen to other farmers in the Tulare Lake Bed. We’re very fortunate that we’ve been spared,” Richardson said.
As one of the newest Western Growers board members, Richardson said he’s most looking forward to helping make decisions that positively impact his local community and other growers in Kern County. “What benefits my community will benefit the rest of Western Growers membership. My focus is to do what’s best for our members, whether it be working on water availability or working on improving labor challenges. There are a lot of really important issues, both big and small, for our members in the four states we cover,” Richardson said.