Barry Bedwell, longtime leader of the California Fresh Fruit Association (previously the California Grape and Tree Fruit League) will leave his position on Aug. 1 as CFFA president to assume the same role with the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation.
Former U.S. Rep. George Radanovich will take Bedwell’s place at the CFFA. Bedwell was president of CFFA since 2003.
Bedwell will lead the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation committed to leadership training and transformational learning experiences. CALF works in partnership with four California universities: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; Cal Poly, Pomona; California State University, Fresno; and the University of California, Davis.
The foundation supports the longest continuously-operating leadership training experience of its kind in the United States – the California Agricultural Leadership Program – which is widely considered to be the premier program of its kind in the world.
Radanovich is a graduate of Class 21 of the California Agricultural Leadership Program. He was elected to Congress in 1995, where he served until 2011, representing California's 19th district.
While in the House of Representatives, he served as co-chair of the water caucus, wine caucus and Congressional Croatian Caucus.
“During my time in and out of office I had the benefit of knowing Barry and the work of CFFA for many years,” said Radanovich.
“I look forward to this opportunity to become re-engaged with agriculture in the representation of our members and the chance to work in conjunction with other public policy organizations and their leadership for the benefit of production agriculture in California. I am truly excited about the prospects as well as challenges that lie ahead.”
Born and reared in Mariposa, Calif., Radanovich was educated at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. He later planted premium wine grapes in Mariposa County in 1982 after observing a micro climate in the area suitable for their growth.
Prior to his election to Congress, he was a member of the Mariposa County board of supervisors from 1988 to 1992, serving as chairman in 1991.
“While we hate to see Barry go, we are certainly understanding of his passion and motivation to train effective agricultural leaders and we are truly appreciative of his leadership for these past thirteen years,” said CFFA Board Chairman Harold McClarty of HMC Farms in Kingsburg.
“We are very pleased and feel fortunate that George has agreed to become part of the team at CFFA,” McClarty continued. “George's background both as a farmer and Congressman should ensure real leadership value for the membership; his timely appointment as president should mean a seamless and effectual transition.”
Bedwell reflected on his tenure with CFFA as a positive and rewarding experience.
“Working for the members of the California Fresh Fruit Association, as well as all of California agriculture, has been the most rewarding and, considering the multitude of issues facing growers and shippers, challenging experience of my career,” said Bedwell.
“Leaving CFFA is extremely difficult but I feel I can now take what I have learned to further enhance a premier leadership development program that I believe will be imperative to the successful future of California agriculture.”
The effective date for the transition is currently scheduled for Aug. 1.
The California Fresh Fruit Association is a voluntary public policy association that represents growers, packers, and shippers of California table grape, blueberry, kiwi, pomegranate and deciduous tree fruit communities.
CFFA serves as a public policy representative for these growers, shippers and packers, on issues at both the state and federal levels.