A group of 20 government agency representatives will gather Aug. 5-12 for the Washington, D.C. Educational Fellowship Program, with this year’s spotlight on Northern California agriculture.

The annual fellowship program – also known as the D.C. Exchange – has educated more than 500 individuals since it began in 1982. Organized and hosted by California Agricultural Leadership Program alumni, the endeavor educates regulatory and policy decision makers about significant issues affecting California agriculture and fosters open communication between the industry and federal entities.

“This program is incredibly valuable because it gives government officials a unique and in-depth opportunity to truly understand California agriculture,” said Ag Leadership alumnus John Azevedo of Healdsburg. “Growers, ranchers, producers and conservationists will provide amazing insight into the industry and issues. In turn, the fellows can apply their new knowledge and increased awareness to their government work.”

The weeklong program, which will take fellows through eight counties, includes more than 20 agriculture-related site visits, as well as one-on-one talks, expert panels, small group discussions, and overnight stays with farm and ranching families.

Counties

Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Colusa, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo and Sacramento.

Site Visits

Shasta Livestock Auction Yard, Shasta Dam, Rickert Ranch, Lindauer River Ranch, Crain Walnut Shelling, Lucero Olive Oil, New Clairvaux Monastery, Chico State, Sierra Nevada Brewery, LaserMan Inc., Butte County Rice Growers Association (BUCRA), California Rice Experiment Station, REASON Farms, Sunsweet, Sacramento River, Poundstone Pumping Plant, Durst Farms, Sites Reservoir, Petaluma Creamery, Cardinale Winery, Grace Ranch, Sonoma Farmers Market, Delta-area farms and waterways.

Topics

Water (conservation, supply and demand, irrigation, levees, flood control, river system)

Land trusts and conservation easements

Crop production and processing

Livestock production

Precision agriculture

Solar energy

Natural resources/environment/wildlife habitat

Crop protection/pest control

Ag education and research

Labor issues

2011 Fellows

Molly Cheatum, Conservation Economics Associate, Defenders of Wildlife

Drue DeBerry, Farm Conservation Program Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

John Giamalva, International Trade Analyst, U.S. International Trade Commission

Anne Haddix, Senior Policy Advisor, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jacob Hegeman, National State Liaison, USDA-APHIS

David Heron, Assistant Director, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, USDA-APHIS

Tim Hruby, Senior Trade Policy Analyst, Import Administration

Joel Larson, Social Science Program Analyst, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Chris Messer, Chief of Program Administration Branch, USDA-NASS

Belinda Mohr, Staff Fellow (Economist), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Tom O'Brien, Professional Staff, House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee

Stacey Peckins, Branch Chief, Grant Programs, USDA-FAS

Susan Phillips, Supervisory Program Manager, USDA-FAS

Jake Reilly, Program Examiner (NRCS, USFS), Office of Management and Budget

Matthew Rhoads, Director of Regulations, Permits and Manuals, USDA-APHIS-PPQ

Kate Snipes, Foreign Service Officer/Special Assistant to Deputy Administrator, USDA-FAS

Jordan Sottosanto, Regulatory Biotechnologist, USDA-APHIS

Nora Stein, Program Examiner (Natural Resources Division), Office of Management and Budget

Michael Stewart, Energy Officer, USDA-FAS

Gina Weinstock, Congressional and Legislative Affairs Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation