Special to the Vanguard
Woodland, CA – Yolo Land Trust (YLT), the only nonprofit in Yolo County whose mission is to conserve farmland, hired John S. Currey, a long-time conservationist and farmer, as Executive Director. After an extensive nationwide search, YLT is pleased to have found such an exceptional candidate with local ties to the agriculture and conservation community. Currey stepped into the executive director position after YLT’s long-time executive director, Michele Clark, retired on January 9, 2023.
Currey has deep family connections to agriculture in Yolo and Solano Counties. He grew up on a farm in Solano County and is a graduate of UC Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Managerial Economics. Currey spent over 20 years managing special districts providing irrigation, drainage, and resource conservation services to constituents in Solano, Yolo, Shasta, and Tehama Counties.
Prior to public service, Currey gained extensive work experience with crop and livestock production, managing agricultural operations, and as an organic farm inspector. He served on the Solano Land Trust’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Committee and the Board of Directors, where he developed a better understanding of the effective use of farmland conservation and strengthened his connections with the larger land conservation community.
“John’s exceptional background and experience makes him uniquely qualified to guide the YLT Board through the next level of growth for the organization” said Mary-Ann Warmerdam, President of the Board of Directors. “We are pleased he has joined us in our mission of conserving Yolo County’s farmland for future generations. On behalf of my fellow YLT board members and staff, we look forward to working with John.”
Currey is eager to apply his passion for land and resource conservation to further YLT’s mission of conserving farmland in Yolo County. “Conserving farmland for future generations is a critical part of our community’s backbone and economy. Producing food and fiber that feeds our community and the world starts with protecting the land and resources,” he said. “I am looking forward to collaborating with landowners and farmers to ensure that existing and future conservation easements are an effective tool to conserve local farmland.”
2023 also brings new board leadership with new officers. A strong Board of Directors allows a nonprofit organization to best serve its community and make the most impact toward achieving its mission. YLT board leadership is comprised of ten Yolo County community leaders who volunteer their time and provide guidance and support to the organization. Each member brings years of professional and personal experience around agriculture, land use, and conservation practices.
Neal Van Alfen, retired University of California at Davis dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, has completed his two-year term as President, but will remain on the board as a director. YLT has elected Mary-Ann Warmerdam, Senior Vice President Governmental Affairs at Rural County Representatives of California, as President. Kathy Ward, retired from Bayer, has moved from Treasurer to Vice President, and Melissa Harlan, co-owner at Harlan Family Ranch, maintains her role as Secretary. The Treasurer position will be filled by Duncan MacEwan, Principal Economist at ERA Economics.
Additionally, the YLT Board of Directors is excited to welcome Sasha Beoshanz of the University of California at Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital as the newest member of the Board for a 3-year term. Laurel Harrison, Summit Strategy Group, stepped down from the Board. YLT sincerely thanks Harrison for generously giving her time and energy during her 3 years as a Director.