Nine Farm Bureau members from around California have ended an intensive, months-long training program as participants in the Leadership Farm Bureau Program. On Dec. 5, 2018, the LFB Class of 2018 graduated during the 100th California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Sponsored by CFBF, the Leadership Farm Bureau Program offers more than 250 hours of training during seven sessions. The 2018 class received personal-development, teambuilding and communications training, and advocated on behalf of Farm Bureau in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. The class members took field-studies trips to both Northern and Southern California, to deepen their knowledge of agricultural issues.

Graduates of the Leadership Farm Bureau Class of 2018 included:

  • Erin Johnson of Anderson, executive director of the Shasta County Farm Bureau;
  • Joseph Alexandre of Ferndale, a dairy farmer, CEO of the family dairy-products business and second vice president of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau;
  • Brittany Blankenship of Visalia, an underwriting analyst for Great American Insurance Group;
  • Joe Ferrari of Linden, a walnut farmer and member of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation board of directors;
  • Rachael Fleming of Lodi, a program director for the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation;
  • Brad Fowler of Penn Valley, a cattle rancher and president of the Nevada County Farm Bureau;
  • Jason Giannelli of Bakersfield, a farm manager specializing in almonds and row crops, and a member of the Kern County Farm Bureau board of directors;
  • Jessica Sweeten of Hilmar, a sales representative for an agricultural products company who is active in the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee;
  • Taylor Zumstein of Fallbrook, owner of a breeding-sheep business and event and marketing coordinator for the San Diego County Farm Bureau.

The class represented the 19th group to graduate from the Leadership Farm Bureau program since it was inaugurated in 2000.

Applications for the 2019 Leadership Farm Bureau class will be accepted through Dec. 21. For information, see

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.