The program will consist of regular classes to study issues affecting dairy producers in today’s industry. The program is covered in six sessions that take up approximately 14 days over a year:

  1. Training in public relations kicks off the program as the class learns about valuable techniques to deal with communicating an effective message for the industry. The session also includes marketing and promotion information as well as leadership skills.
  2. The class heads to Sacramento to learn about the state legislative process and advocate for key issues that pertains to the dairy industry.
  3. Participants learn about the California pricing system and other economic topics of interest.
  4. Dairy Leaders head to Chicago to hear a national perspective on dairy promotion, visit the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and discuss risk management. A session regarding biotechnology (purpose and perception) ties the session.
  5. The class heads to Washington D.C. to meet with federal agencies and associations, learn about the federal legislative process and advocate for issues that matter to the California dairy industry.
  6. The final session is a valuable opportunity to learn about environmental issues and the constant efforts put forth to limit regulations and their constraints on the industry.

Through those sessions, participants will develop a more thorough understanding of our industry through communication, educational activities, presentations and team building skills.

The program is targeted toward dairy producers and those in dairy-related enterprises who want to develop leadership roles in the California dairy industry. A Dairy Leader participant will be an active member of the community who demonstrates leadership potential. Successful applicants will be from various backgrounds, experiences, and education levels. The one commonality is this: everyone who is accepted will have the desire to improve the California dairy industry.

Participants in the Dairy Leaders Program must be able to commit to the following:

  • Attend all classes in various locations, including Sacramento and Washington, DC.
  • Provide commitment from dairy owner or employer to allow class time away from the dairy.
  • Spend time reviewing topical material distributed between class sessions.
  • Provide own transportation to class locations or the airport.
  • Be actively involved in milk production or an allied business.
  • Deadline for Applications: August 31, 2022

2022/2023 Dairy Leadership Class:

Anthony Agueda is a third-generation dairy farmer from Hickman. Growing up on his family’s large dairy operation, Agueda became involved in Future Farmers of America in high school. Agueda was recently awarded the National FFA Dairy Proficiency Award, representing California dairies nationally. Agueda continues using his experience working on a day-to-day dairy operation to advocate for the dairy industry and California dairy families.

Eric Fast is the Director of Project Development at Maas Energy Works, joining the team in 2021 after spending time at two other leading anaerobic digester companies. Eric has 18 years of experience designing and building digesters in the US and internationally across multiple agricultural and commercial industries. In his current role, Eric heads a team of Engineers, Project Managers, and Construction Managers to deliver efficient, cost-effective, and farmer-friendly digester systems for the Maas Energy Works partner farms and partner industries.

Kyle Lutz and his family have long been producing milk in California. Lutz graduated from Fresno State with a bachelor of science degree in Dairy Science. A fourth-generation dairy farmer, he returned to the family dairy upon graduation and also went on to start his own business in agriculture. In addition to his background in organic dairy management, Lutz’s portfolio includes background in poultry, beef and hay production, and livestock grazing management. Currently, Lutz serves as the Technical Field Services Representative for Western United Dairies.

Linda Parreira grew up on her parent’s dairy in the Turlock area, where her family settled after immigrating to California from Sao Jorge, Azores. A first-generation Portuguese-American, Parreira graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business and a minor in Dairy Science. She’s been working in ag lending for over a decade. Currently, she is the Vice President – Relationship Manager at Ag West Farm Credit (formally Farm Credit West) in Tulare.

Tyler Ribeiro is no stranger to the dairy industry. As a fourth-generation dairy farmer, Ribeiro began working with his father and grandfather, learning the intricacies of dairy and what it meant to be a committed leader. After graduating from Fresno State with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics, Ribeiro returned to the family farm full-time. Off the farm, Ribeiro is active in various organizations, most notably, he has held multiple leadership positions with Western United Dairies, The Dairy Council of California, and the California Cattle Council. Known online as the @DairyDad, Ribeiro is committed to advocating for the dairy industry and agriculture.

Allison Tristao grew up on her father’s dairy farm in Tulare. Tristao graduated from Fresno State in December 2021 with an Agribusiness degree and is currently the Community Field Representative for Western United Dairies.

Western United Dairies is very thankful for the Farm Credit Alliance and their support of the Dairy Leaders program.