Written by The Business Journal Staff
Ken Tatami, President
Fresno County Farm Bureau
Education: I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I began as a computer science major. Somewhere after that first year, I just did not feel a pull toward the industry. The kind that you need to make a career. Who knew what computers would do since then? I changed my major to Ag Business Management and never looked back. I received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in 1982 and embarked on my career in agricultural finance.
Age: I am currently 53 years old
Family: I have been married to my wife, Mary, since 1989 and we have one daughter, Ashley, who resides with us in Reedley and is currently a senior at Reedley High School.
Tell us a little about your job at Farm Credit West, Ken?
Farm Credit West is part of the National Farm Credit System that provides financing specifically to agriculture. It provides short and intermediate term credit such as operating, equipment, and development loans as well as mortgages on farmland. In addition, it has services such as leasing, appraisal, and cash management. Farm Credit West’s service area covers the Central Coast, central to south San Joaquin Valley, and Sacramento areas of California. It is one of the largest Farm Credit Associations in the United States with over $6 billion in outstanding loans.
I am a vice president at Farm Credit West and primarily serve as the primary point of contact for borrowers in my portfolio. My job normally includes meeting with customers, analyzing their business along with their financial records for possible financing opportunities, approving loans and other services, marketing Farm Credit West’s products to potential new customers, and to represent Farm Credit West is a professional manner.
How long have you served on the Fresno County Farm Bureau board, Ken?
I have been a member of the Farm Bureau Board for over 13 years. I first started out as the Kingsburg Center Chair, then became the Reedley Center Chair. Along the way, I was also appointed as the Ag Education Committee Chair. In 2006, I became an officer with Fresno County Farm Bureau.
Being a member of the board has helped to expose me to the many issues that affect all of agriculture, rather than being limited to those that just affected me directly. It has also helped to develop both my leadership skills as well as other skills needed to meet with the general public, such as public speaking. I remember having to go on a public television show shortly after joining the board and being completely terrified about how I might appear. Those fears still exist, but seem to be a bit more under control.
Do you still grow crops in the Reedley area, Ken?
I own 20 acres in the Reedley area which is planted to peaches and plums. It is the property that I grew up on. The family farm started out with my Grandfather back in the early 1950’s. He originally had 20 acres of Thompson vines, which my father then took over and then expanded upon to 80 acres of tree fruit, vines, and strawberries. The operation also included the packing and shipping of the tree fruit, table grapes, and strawberries. It is a wonder how he was able to support our family of six on this size of operation.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Ken?
In my spare time, at least for the past 26 years, I have coached girl’s volleyball. This can take a lot of time, and as my wife can attest, became almost an obsession. It has taken me to a lot of places, as well as taught me a lot about people. I also enjoy travelling and cooking, but haven’t always found time for that.
I am a big sports fan. I try to keep up on a lot of sports. Maybe it’s that repressed athlete inside me. I follow Fresno State sports as well as the San Francisco Giants and 49ers.
As far as entertainment, I am a closet fan of musicals. The Broadway show variety. I am always amazed at the skill and talent.
How do you give back to the community you serve, Ken?
I stay involved in my community through my involvement at the schools and church as well as having donated my time to community organizations that help the needy. I hear that phrase “pay it forward” and believe that to be a good citizen, one must do what they can for those that cannot. I also hope that by doing a good job in representing Fresno County agriculture as the Fresno County Farm Bureau president that the industry will continue to prosper. Even after my term is up, I plan to remain involved in protecting agriculture which will allow Fresno County to retain its place as the top agricultural producing county in the nation.