CFBF elects new president, vice presidents


Issue Date: December 13, 2017
By Dave Kranz
Newly elected California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson, center, poses with First Vice President Shannon Douglass, left, and Second Vice President Shaun Crook, right. Delegates to the CFBF Annual Meeting elected the new statewide officers on the final day of their meeting in Garden Grove.
Photo/Kevin Hecteman

Pledging to advocate boldly on behalf of California farmers and ranchers, Butte County olive and citrus fruit grower Jamie Johansson became the 16th president of the California Farm Bureau Federation following his election by delegates to the 99th CFBF Annual Meeting.

The election of Johansson and of vice presidents Shannon Douglass of Orland and Shaun Crook of Sonora highlighted the final day of the meeting, held last week in Garden Grove.

Johansson succeeds former CFBF President Paul Wenger of Modesto, who had served the maximum eight years in office. He told delegates the Farm Bureau policies they finalized provide a blueprint for addressing problems faced by the state's farmers and ranchers.

"As president, I want to be bold enough to go forward and say, 'We have the solutions. Will you listen to us?'" Johansson said.

"Californians want diverse and affordable food, and Farm Bureau needs to show how that diversity also comes with great complexity, in terms of the tools and resources needed to grow food in this state," he said. "Ultimately, what Farm Bureau does is to protect the creativity California farmers and ranchers need to provide the diversity our customers demand."

Johansson has served as a statewide CFBF officer for eight years. He was elected second vice president in 2009 and first vice president in 2015. He is a former state chairman of the CFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers State Committee and former vice president of the Butte County Farm Bureau. A first-generation farmer, he also operates an olive oil company, Lodestar Farms. He co-founded the Sierra Oro Farm Trail Association and is a former member of the Oroville City Council.

Addressing delegates from California's 53 county Farm Bureaus, Johansson said the diversity of the state's agriculture strengthens the organization.

"Our unity in agriculture and in California Farm Bureau isn't matched anywhere else, based on that simple fact that we come together, from the south, from the north, from the hills, and walk out of here committed that we are going to succeed," Johansson said.

Douglass was elected to succeed Johansson as CFBF first vice president. She is an owner of Douglass Ranch, which raises beef cattle, sunflowers, corn and forage crops, and founded CalAgJobs, an online listing of employment opportunities in California agriculture. She is a director of the Glenn County Farm Bureau, serves on the Glenn County Fair Board of Directors and is a former director of the Glenn County Resource Conservation District.

In seeking election, Douglass described herself as "a product of Farm Bureau training," having chaired the YF&R State Committee, graduated from the Leadership Farm Bureau program and participated in the American Farm Bureau Federation Partners in Advocacy Leadership program. She won the YF&R Discussion Meet in 2007 and also graduated from the California Agricultural Leadership Program.

Douglass described Farm Bureau's grassroots structure as a key strength, and emphasized the importance of cultivating the next generation of Farm Bureau members.

"They don't expect to just be a member and forget it," she said. "They want to engage, they want to be involved. And it's great that they want to be involved, because we're going to need all hands on deck in the coming years."

Noting the changing dynamic and political landscape in California, Douglass said farmers and ranchers must work to restore connections with elected leaders who may have little background in agriculture or rural life.

"As farmers, we're the grittiest people around," she said. "We persevere and we can find those solutions, but it's going to take working together, across commodities and across regions."

Crook was elected as second vice president. He has served as president of the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau since 2015 and is also a graduate of the Leadership Farm Bureau program. He chaired both the CFBF Economy and Farm Policy Issue Advisory Committee and the Commodity Policy Review Committee. A licensed timber operator, Crook is a vice president of a family timber business and a real estate agent specializing in ranch, commercial and residential properties.

His experience in the timber business and with a family cattle ranch that holds a grazing permit in the Stanislaus National Forest means he has been "immersed" in public-lands issues, Crook said, and in the need to ease burdensome regulations.

"I want nothing more than to bring common-sense reform to the regulatory process, but alone, I am pretty much powerless against this current system," he said. "But as a Farm Bureau member, I have a voice, and as a Farm Bureau officer, I can help direct these efforts to improve how the local, state and federal government works better with farmers and ranchers."

Crook also stressed the value of unity in achieving Farm Bureau goals.

"We can either have fragmented and disjointed voices, leaving us continually divided on important issues, or we can unite for the success of every member," he said.

In addition to the election of statewide officers, seven members were newly elected to the CFBF Board of Directors: Al Stehly of Valley Center will represent Imperial and San Diego counties; John Moore of Bakersfield will represent Kern and Kings counties; Donny Rollin of Riverdale will represent Fresno County; Ron Peterson of Turlock will represent Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties; David Barhydt of Grass Valley will represent Butte, Nevada and Yuba-Sutter counties; Tom Stewart of Tulelake will represent Lassen, Modoc and Plumas-Sierra counties; and Jenny Holtermann of Wasco will chair the YF&R State Committee.

Ronnie Leimgruber of Holtville was appointed an advisory member of the board as the new chair of the CFBF Rural Health Department.

The three CFBF officers will represent California as delegates to next month's AFBF Annual Convention in Nashville. Delegates to the CFBF meeting selected three alternate delegates to attend the AFBF convention: Dino Giacomazzi of Kings County, new CFBF director Tom Stewart, and Clark Becker of Butte County. They will join April Mackie of Monterey County, who will complete a two-year term.

(Dave Kranz is editor of Ag Alert. He may be contacted at dkranz@cfbf.com.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.