Candidate information includes a brief description of their farming operation, role in that operation, and/or business experience.



Lisa Hawkins – Waterford, CA

We farm just under 400 acres of almonds and are owner operators. Growing up in the Lodi area my parents farmed grapes, cherries, as well as owning and operating a processing/shipping company. They were partners in Oakridge Winery for many years as well as my mother operating a small cow calf operation. Farming and Agriculture have been part of my entire life. My current role in our almond farming business is on the office management side.

Lee Ann Kreps – Madera, CA

My husband and I own & operate 40 acres of Pistachios in Madera, CA. I am a retired school administrator and now am a real estate agent which allows me great flexibility.


Britt Craven – Kailua Kona, HI

Managing our families 1,200 beef cow ranch for the past 11 years. Prior to that 23 years as a commercial real estate broker.

David Rowe – Hilo, HI

Owner of macadamia nut orchard, processing operation. Previous co-owner of farming equipment dealership.


Eric Flanagan – Healdsburg, CA

We own a winery and a vineyard and I also manage another 370 acres of wine grapes for a vineyard investment group I started and run. For the vineyard investment group I manage the farming, sell the grapes, do the contracts and run the business. For my winery I am the CEO and manage all aspects of the business from production to sales. I previously worked in finance and had my own Fixed Income Hedge Fund that I ran for 15 years.

Claudia Lima – Arcata, CA

My husband and I are in the logging and timberland business in Humboldt County. My role in our operation is co-owner and administrative duties. My business experience has been in lumber, logging and timberlands for over 40 years.

Louis Venturini – Chico, CA

I have owned and operated a 100+ head cow/calf operation for 35+ years, along with a large custom care yearling operation. I own a ranch in northeastern California, along with leasing winter rangeland and irrigated hay ground in the northern Sacramento Valley. Recently retired from Golden State Farm Credit, I have 37-years of agricultural lending experience, 25-years with several Farm Credit Associations, and 12-years with both a large insurance company agricultural real estate lender and a regional community bank.


Daisy Huang – Saratoga, CA

Almond Farm/Financial/ Residential Financial


Ed Embly – Escondido, CA

I have been involved in farming my entire life. My father started an egg production farm in 1947 and this operation grew into a family farming business that eventually comprised three generations of our family. At peak production we had over 20 locations, in four states, with over 2 million laying hens, a 200 head cow calf operation and extensive processing and distribution facilities. I was involved in many aspects of this business. I also spent many years representing two agricultural equipment manufacturers, both within the United States and many foreign countries. Since I retired in 2004 I have been an avocado producer and a vineyard/winery owner. We grow 5 varieties of white grapes and 11 varieties of red grapes. Our production is approximately 2000 cases per year, which is sold direct to the consumer.

Steven Van Houten – Murrieta, CA

I have had a successful 25+ year business career. My current role is as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Rancon Group and its subsidiary Europa Village Winery and Resort. I have served in the CFO role for the past 11 years and CEO was added to my responsibilities last year. My core responsibility is to lead and manage the diverse company as it transitions and prepares for a different market and opportunities. I have also advised other companies and served as a college professor in Business Finance. At the Europa Village winery, we have developed a strategy to build and operate a winery resort. This winery will include vineyards, wine production, restaurant, hotels and event facilities. Our plan is to build a resort themed around the wine producing regions of Europe.



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