April 21, 2010 Modesto, CA - - The new program year for California Dairy Leaders is underway with the selection recently of the members of Class IX. This year's group includes three women and five men. This will be the ninth year for the nationally recognized leadership development program designed to provide an in-depth study of the major issues faced by California dairy families.
California Dairy Leaders Class IX
· Joanne De Raadt, John & Joanne De Raadt Dairy, Oakdale
· Brian Fiscalini, Fiscalini Farms, Modesto
· Tessa Hall, Western United Dairymen, Visalia
· Travis Kamper, Mt. Whitney Dairy, Riverdale
· Brian Toledo, Toledo Dairy, Galt
· Vonda Van Vliet, Creekside Dairy, Escalon
· Travis Visser, Gerrit Visser & Sons Dairy, Riverdale
· Stephen Weststeyn, Weststeyn Dairy, Linden
The first session of the year will be in South San Francisco for an introduction to leadership by Dr. Neil Koenig, a hands-on media training workshop, and industry leaders discussing their roles in dairy promotion, advertising, marketing, and research.
Subsequent sessions will cover state regulatory processes and legislative advocacy on location in Sacramento, the California pricing system and how it relates to national dairy pricing, and the panoply of environmental issues facing the state's dairy farmers. The highlight of each year's program is a trip to Washington, DC, to get a quick immersion in federal legislative processes. All sessions will cover the main topics and relate them to customers and communities beyond the farm gate.
The mission of the California Dairy Leaders program is to develop informed producers who will provide the next generation of leadership in organizations such as Western United Dairymen. As an example of the success of the program initiated in 2001, the current 20-member WUD board includes six alumni.