Sacramento, March 11-13, 2013
President, California Farm
Paul Wenger was elected president of the California Farm Bureau Federation in December 2009 and re-elected in 2011.
Wenger, who farms in Modesto, became a statewide officer in 1997 when he was elected second vice president. He was elected first vice president in 2005. He also served as a member of the CFBF board and chaired the CFBF Water Advisory Committee and the Board Water Development Task Force. He is a former president of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. In January 2011, he was elected to the American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors, and was re-elected in 2013.
A third-generation farmer, Wenger farms almonds and walnuts on the family farm, which includes property purchased by his grandfather in 1910. His farming operations also include sharecropping, custom farm work and walnut hulling. He has expanded his operation to include processing and marketing of almonds and walnuts through his Wood Colony Nut Co., to provide an opportunity for the fourth generation of the family to vertically integrate into the family farming operation.
Wenger attended Modesto Junior College before transferring to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he earned a degree in animal science.
Wenger has been active in community affairs, serving on the Salida Volunteer Fire Department, the Hart-Ransom School Board of Trustees, and the Stanislaus Land Trust and Agricultural Pavilion boards.
He and his wife, Deborah, have three sons.
Political Writer and Satirist Contributing Editor to the San Francisco Chronicle
Publishes the blog www.californiascapitol.com
Greg Lucas is the chief correspondent of California's Capitol who has been writing about California politics and government since 1986.
Lucas levels his bipartisan wit at Republicans and Democrats and, not infrequently deservedly, at himself.
In more than a quarter century of reporting, Lucas has written more than 3,000 articles on everything from presidential politics to the introduction of prune burgers in school cafeterias.
He has written about gambling, transportation, health care, growth, education and nearly every DBI – “Dull But Important” – issue that has confronted, and continues to confront, California public policy makers.
His most challenging job, however, was ride operator on Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.
He has a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Stanford University and a Masters degree in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.
Susan Talamantes Eggman
Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee
Susan Talamantes Eggman is a trailblazer who is not afraid to get her hands dirty. And she will always stand up for what she believes in. Since her successful grassroots campaign for the Stockton City Council five years ago, Susan has proven herself to be an honest and effective leader whose independent voice of moderation has helped her find solutions to the tough issues facing the city.
Promoting the health and interests of San Joaquin Valley is the guiding principle behind all of Susan's policy decisions. From boosting job opportunities for all area residents to fighting to preserve and restore the Delta, Susan's goal is always to make San Joaquin County thrive.
Getting San Joaquin residents back to work is one of Susan's top priorities. She fought to preserve small businesses by banning future big box stores because they hurt local small businesses and damage local economies. Susan also joined with community leaders to successfully lobby the Veterans Administration to build their new facility in San Joaquin County, which creates jobs and provides vital services for San Joaquin's many veterans. As a U.S. Army veteran herself, Susan understands the sacrifices made by our young men and women who serve.
After graduating from high school, Susan served four years as a medic in the U.S. Army. She then attended California State University, Stanislaus, where she earned a B.A. in psychology and a master's in social work. Susan worked as a mental health provider and a medical social worker, before receiving her Ph.D. from Portland State University. Susan is a member of the California Faculty Association.
AFBF Consultant on National
Health Care Reform
Leon R. Sequeira is senior counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP where he advises clients on a range of labor and employment issues. Mr. Sequeira's practice includes counseling and representing individual employers and trade associations in the course of litigation, government audits, regulatory and legislative matters.
Mr. Sequeira provides compliance advice to restaurant, hospitality, retail, and agricultural employers around the country regarding FLSA, FMLA, OSHA, EEO, immigration, healthcare and other employment-related obligations. He represents employers in federal court litigation, including defending wage and hour claims and challenging agency actions under the Administrative Procedure Act. He also represents employers in proceedings before government agencies such as DOL, DOJ and the EEOC. Mr. Sequeira has particular experience with employment-related immigration issues and has advised members of Congress and their staffs on immigration reform legislation over several years.
Mr. Sequeira is the former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and has extensive knowledge of the Department's enforcement agencies. As an Assistant Secretary of Labor, he oversaw the Department's regulatory efforts and was the principal point of contact with the White House and the Office of Management and Budget on regulatory and policy matters.
Amrith Gunasekara, PhD.
Science Advisor to the Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Dr. Gunasekara is Science Advisor to Secretary Ross at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He works on agricultural issues at the interface of the environment and seeks to find proactive, creative, flexible and practical solutions. His focus areas include nutrient management, climate change and environmental stewardship. He is CDFA liaison to the Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel that is looking at highlighting the many benefits afforded by agriculture beyond food, fiber, and economic benefits. He received his undergraduate and master degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and completed his PhD from the University of California, Davis, in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry. He has been in his CDFA position since August 2011.
Kyle R. Perry
Director, Leadership Development American Farm Bureau Federation
Kyle Perry is the Director of Leadership Development for the American Farm Bureau Federation where he provides training and resources to develop the leadership potential of Farm Bureau staff and volunteers. He also coordinates New Employee Orientation. Kyle holds a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Education and a master's degree in Educational Psychology, both from the University of Nebraska. Originally from Nebraska, he currently lives in Arlington, VA.
Prior to coming to AFBF, Kyle worked for the University of Nebraska as a graduate assistant teaching college courses in the College of Education and Human Sciences. He also has several years of experience working as a facilitator, team leader, and instructional designer for the National FFA Organization at various national, regional, and state conferences. Kyle grew up on his family's cattle and grain farm in Western Nebraska where he was active in 4-H and FFA, serving as Nebraska's State FFA Secretary. He still makes it home a few times a year to help out on the farm.
Acting Administrator, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Kevin Shea was appointed Associate Administrator on September 9, 2004. In this position, he works closely with Dr. Gregory Parham to ensure the smooth daily functioning of APHIS. On June 13, 2012, Secretary Vilsack designated Mr. Shea to act as Administrator while Dr. Parham serves as Acting Assistant Secretary for Administration. In addition to his regular duties, Mr. Shea serves on the Secretary's Executive Resources Board and the Secretary's Management Council.
Before becoming Associate Administrator, Mr. Shea served four years as Deputy Administrator for Policy and Program Development. From 1992 to 2000 he served as APHIS' Director of Budget and Accounting. Earlier in his career he worked as a budget analyst, Chief of the Program Analysis Branch, and Chief of the Policy Analysis and Development Staff. He also spent one year practicing law in the litigation department of Frank, Bernstein, Conaway and Goldman in Baltimore, MD.
Mr. Shea graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, MD and the University of Maryland in College Park. He earned a law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
A native Washingtonian, Mr. Shea now resides in Crofton, MD.
Principal/Owner SolarGen USA
Carmine Iadarola has more than twenty-five years of experience in environmental policy, energy and water project management and development, and land use planning and permitting. He led the development of 800 MW of natural gas fired power projects for Invenergy, of which 600 MW is operational. He has been a site developer for major energy projects, as well as instrumental in formulating and developing water supplies for numerous municipal and quasi-municipal entities. He also is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Political Science where he teaches courses leading to a certificate in the Administration of Environmental Programs. Mr. Iadarola earned his BA from Monmouth and his Master form the University of Colorado in Public Administration.
Mr. Iadarola has lived and worked in Guam and the Marianas Islands. His business experience includes an import/export business with the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations. Including his over 35 years of experience in the water and electric generating industries, worked in Washington DC for Congress, a professor at Colorado University in Environmental Policy and an invitee as an official observer to the Copenhagen 16 conference (International Kyoto Accord meeting held by world governments) in Cancun Mexico in November 2010.
J. Edward Taylor
Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics Director,
Rural Economies of the Americas Program Co-Editor,
American Journal of Agricultural Economics University of California, Davis
J. Edward Taylor is Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Director of the Center on Rural Economies of the Americas and Pacific Rim (REAP) at the University of California, Davis, where he teaches courses on international development economics and econometric methods. He is also co-editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and founder of the alternative textbook initiative, RebelText.org. Taylor has written extensively on the economy-wide impacts of agricultural and development policies and on immigration. He co-authored Village Economies: The Design, Estimation and Use of Villagewide Economic Models (Cambridge University Press) and Worlds in Motion: Understanding International Migration at the End of the Millenium (Oxford University Press). He is listed in Who's Who in Economics and has advised a number of foreign governments and international development agencies on matters related to economic development.
PhD student in Agricultural and Resource Economics at University of California, Davis.
Diane Charlton is a PhD student in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. Her areas of focus are international economic development, agriculture, and labor. In 2012, she received two grants from the UC Davis Center for poverty research to review how the 2008-09 recession affected Mexico-U.S. immigration in the agricultural sector and to investigate the impacts of migrant students on their peers.
Director of Sales, Roscoe Moss Company
Charlie Hoherd is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Roscoe Moss Company, a California-based privately owned manufacturer of water well casing and screen with operations in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, and Fontana. The Roscoe Moss Company has been intimately involved it the ground water industry in California for over 100 years, and in his role, Charlie works with water well owners, engineers, and drilling contractors in the construction and design of efficient and corrosion resistant water wells for municipal, agricultural and industrial users. Charlie holds a B.S. from the University of Southern California, and a M.B.A. from Pepperdine University.