published on June 27, 2016 - 12:20 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
George Radanovich has been chosen as the new president of the Fresno-based California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA). The former eight-term Valley Congressman will replace current CFFA President Barry Bedwell, who has led the organization since 2003.

The California Fresh Fruit Association announced the leadership change, which will become effective Aug. 1, following a board of directors meeting held in Sacramento.

Radanovich served in Congress from 1995 to 2011 representing California’s 19th district. While in the House of Representatives, he served as Water Caucus co-chair, Wine Caucus co-chair and as co-chair for the Congressional Croatian Caucus as well as being considered an agricultural expert in areas related to water supply and immigration reform.

Born and raised in Mariposa and educated at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, Radanovich is also a farmer who began growing premium wine grapes in Mariposa County in 1982 after observing a microclimate in the area suitable for their growth.

CFFA Board Chair Harold McClarty of HMC Farms in Kingsburg said, “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. In addition, we are very pleased and feel fortunate that George has agreed to become part of the team at CFFA.”

“George’s background both as a farmer and Congressman should insure real leadership value for the membership as well as his timely appointment as president should mean a seamless and effectual transition,” McClarty added.

Bedwell will become president of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF), a nonprofit committed to leadership training and transformational learning experiences 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, in its niche, in the world.

“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,” Bedwell said. “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.”

“During my time in and out of office, I have had the benefit of knowing Barry and the work of CFFA for many years,” Radanovich said. “I look forward to this opportunity to become reengaged 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.”

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.

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