Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

Student Leadership Class Visits Sacramento

Published Date: Feb 16, 2016 3:00:00 PM

state capitol

The 2016 College of Agriculture Leadership Class culminated its fall quarter with a trip to Sacramento to observe state government, industry leadership, and local agriculture.

Their trip consisted of two full days starting with a visit to the Center for Land-Based Learning, a 40-acre farm on Putah Creek, in Winters, which is the headquarters and the home of the California Farm Academy. The center operates numerous programs for beginning farmers, youth in agriculture, and community outreach programs. Executive Director Mary Kimball and founder Craig McNamara, son of former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, spent time with the students explaining how their program works and various agricultural environmental practices they employee on their farms. 

They visited UC Davis and toured the campus and the campuses many agricultural entities.  They also toured The Cannery, a new agriculturally-based concept community development in Davis, where housing units are built around community agriculture plots.

Later that evening, the students were hosted by Downey Brand LLP and Dale Stern, one of the firm’s partners and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council, for a wonderful reception with industry leaders, legislators, and California Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross. The students networked with these leaders in the agriculture industry making valuable contacts and gaining excellent advice for their future careers. 

The second day started off with a speaker’s breakfast hosted by Downey Brand, hearing expert attorneys talk about water issues in California, environmental land use, and other agricultural issues California is facing. 

The students then to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to observe a CDFA State Board meeting. The students were able to observe and participate in the meeting. 

George Soares, a leading agricultural attorney in Sacramento and Central Valley dairyman, then led the students on a tour of the State Capitol and hosted a session with a legislator’s chief of staff to learn how the legislative process works in Sacramento. Later in the day they went to Soares’ law firm, Kahn, Soares, and Conway LLP, where they spent the rest of the afternoon hearing from Jean-Marie Peltier of the National Wine Grape Initiative, and speakers from the Department of Water Resources, the California Air Resource Board, and the State Water Resources Board.

The students received an invaluable education and were inspired by all they heard and observed to understand the importance of being a leader in the agriculture in California. 

The trip was sponsored by the Boswell Crop. Dean Mary Holz-Clause and Professor Valerie Mellano, chair of the Department of Plant Science accompanied the students.

The purpose of the course is to help students discover their leadership styles and develop their leadership skills. They also become more familiar with California and U.S. agriculture, studying policy, issues and institutions.

The students are chosen from the College of Agriculture. They must be seniors and apply for the leadership course and be interviewed.