Federal Officials to Tour Southern California Agriculture

Dan Cattle, Citrus, Cotton, Energy, Environment, Field & Row Crops, Forage Crops, General, Grain, Industry News Release, Specialty Crops, Sugar, Tree, nut & vine crops, Vegetables, Water

ca ag leadership foundation logoA group of 20 federal agency representatives will get a comprehensive look at Southern California agriculture when they participate in the Washington, D.C. Educational Fellowship Program (D.C. Exchange), Sept. 14-21.

The goal of the annual program, organized and hosted by California Agricultural Leadership Program alumni, is to educate regulatory and policy decision makers about California agriculture and foster open communication between them and people in the agricultural industry. More than 650 fellows have participated in the program since it began in 1982.

“Government officials are making policies and decisions that have an impact on California agriculture, so it is important that they experience agriculture first-hand, see what we’re doing, and really understand our diverse issues,” said Ag Leadership alumna Darlene Din. “Our program has been very successful. We have exposed hundreds of fellows to many aspects of the industry, exchanged valuable information and established solid connections.”

This year, fellows will travel through Coachella Valley and San Diego, Imperial and Ventura counties. They will visit nearly two dozen agricultural operations and participate in one-on-one talks, expert panels, small group discussions, and days with farm families.

2014 Fellows

  • Renee Berry, U.S. International Trade Commission
  • Tri Bui-Nguyen, FDA-Office of Regulatory Affairs
  • Alyssa Clendenin, FDA-Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network
  • Shiela Corley, USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • Vanessa Dellis, USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
  • Yu-Ting Guilaran, U.S. EPA-Office of Pesticide Programs
  • Tracy Hancock, U.S. Forest Service
  • Jamie Harris, U.S. EPA-Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
  • Julie Henderson, USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service
  • James Ivy, USDA-APHIS
  • Danielle Jones, Office of Management and Budget
  • Kelly Juarez, U.S. Department of State
  • Julio Maldonado, USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service
  • Laura Norcutt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Scott Pfister, USDA-APHIS
  • Kendra Russell, U.S. Department of the Interior-Bureau of Reclamation
  • Monique Salter, FDA-CORE Network
  • Sunny Snider, U.S. Department of Commerce-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Tom Torgersen, National Science Foundation
  • Christine Zakarka, USDA-APHIS


  • San Diego County, Imperial County, Coachella Valley, Ventura County


  • Sept. 14 (San Diego County): Farmers market; Bamboo Headquarters.
  • Sept. 15 (San Diego County): Altman’s Nursery; Archi’s Acres; Go Green Agriculture; Stehly Farms Organics; Vesper Vineyards.
  • Sept. 16 (San Diego and Imperial counties): Egg ranches; Otay Mesa border crossing; Vessey & Company.
  • Sept. 17 (Imperial County): Farm Credit Ag Center; Imperial Irrigation District; Imperial County Farm Bureau; Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association; El Toro Export; Ametza.
  • Sept. 18 (Imperial County, Coachella Valley, Ventura County): Salton Sea; Hadley Date Gardens; Oasis Date Gardens; Limoneira.
  • Sept. 19 (Ventura County): Solimar Farms; McGrath Family Farm; Driscoll’s/Reiter Affiliated Companies; Houweling’s Tomatoes; San Miguel Produce.
  • Sept. 20 (Ventura County): Taylor Ranch; Associates Insectary; Agriculture Museum (finale dinner).


  • Economics of California farming
  • Environmental challenges
  • Water quality and use
  • Invasive pests / pest protection / pesticide issues
  • Labor / immigration
  • Supply chain
  • Food safety
  • Organics
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Best management practices
  • Air quality / energy
  • Trade