A Huntley College of Agriculture alumna was named a Farm Foundation Young Agri-Food Leader for 2020-21.
Fabiola Perez (’17, plant science, agribusiness and food industry management) was one of 10 participants ages 25 to 40, chosen nationwide for the year-long program.
The program engages emerging leaders in food and agribusiness in a year-long series of interactive learning and networking experiences, aimed at giving them a deeper understanding of the food and agriculture value chain.
It also will help the participants build networks of peers in business, farming, and government. The participants will attend events, engage in virtual conversations, and participate in exclusive learning and networking opportunities.
“I hope to learn about the different perspectives in the agriculture industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and better understand broader ag issues in general,” said Perez, who works in Iowa as a high-value crop specialist for the application marketing team for John Deere. “This pandemic experience is going to have longstanding implications in the agriculture industry and food chain as a whole.”
“All of these challenges are also opportunities to grow and learn, and we certainly have a lot to learn,” she added. “I look forward to contributing to the different initiatives to tackle those challenges and continue being an agriculture advocate.”
Perez was nominated by Professor Valerie Mellano, chair of the Department of Plant Science, and others at John Deere. She also received support in a letter of recommendation from former Dean Mary Holz-Clause, who is now chancellor of University of Minnesota-Crookston.
“The college is proud of the accomplishments that Fabi has already made in the agricultural industry – and will continue to make well into the future,” said Lisa Kessler, interim dean of the Huntley College of Agriculture. “This recognition demonstrates the power of our learn-by-doing educational approach here at Cal Poly Pomona.”
Leaders in the program will attend regular virtual forums; a three-day retreat with senior USDA executives, Congress, agribusinesses, commodity trade associations; roundtable meetings with local food and agriculture tours; regularly check in with a mentor; and prepare a capstone project at the end of the year.