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AgForestry Alumni Making a Difference...

Sean Gilbert, President of Gilbert Orchards and AgForestry Class 28 alum

Sean Gilbert (Class 28) was recently highlighted in Good Fruit Grower for his communication with media outlets while dealing with the coronavirus among essential farm workers.

We reached out to Sean and he had three pieces of advice to share with fellow AgForestry alums when dealing with the media.

  1. Know your narrative.
  2. Craft your answers to advance it as succinctly as you can.
  3. Have fun.

Sean recalled that AgForestry left him with some key training which has assisted him when dealing with the media: observe, prepare, and practice.

Observing: Going through Olympia and D.C. gave me exposure that was invaluable context for the overall message needed.

Preparing: You won’t succeed unless you’ve done your homework and have thought through what questions might be asked.

Practicing: The more you do it, the better you should get, especially if there is honest feedback.

Thank you, Sean, for being a voice for the Tree Fruit Industry.

Click here to read the full Yakima Herald article on the partnership between Inaba Produce, Northwest Harvest & WSDA

Lon (Class 12) and Sheila Inaba run Inaba Produce Farms alongside their family in Wapato, Washington. When COVID-19 showed up in the spring, Inaba Produce Farms was able to join forces with the Washington State Department of Agriculture and Harvest Northwest, to shift their food production from packaging for restaurants to food banks. Lon took some time out of his
busy schedule to share some thoughts on AgForestry.


“The AgForestry Program was a wonderful program to show how our operation and our industry fits into our local, state, national, and international communities.  The many points of view expressed throughout the program gave us the perspective on how interconnected we are in the overall
workings of the our communities.  


We have had a longstanding relationship with the Northwest Harvest Organization  and it is very rewarding for our family and our employees to see our veggie boxes distributed throughout our local
communities and beyond. The crop diversity on our farm and our central location in the Yakima Valley gave us access to a variety of fresh, local fruits and vegetables to include in the boxes and to provide local, fresh picked, in season produce to consumers in need.  


The distribution network of Northwest harvest and the many local food banks allowed us to get the produce to those in need in a condition fresher than available in many grocery stores.  The hard work and dedication of our field and packing house employees made the transition from 2500 to 10,000 boxes per week relatively easy despite our continued shipping to our regular customers. We are proud to be working with Northwest Harvest to provide food to those in need.”

AgForestry On-the-Move

Sara Higgins (Class 42)

Sara will serve as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of 501 Consultants, She told us about how AgForestry has prepared her for this transition.
“AgForestry has heightened my self awareness and emotional intelligence. As I embark on small business co-ownership and the increased responsibility that comes with that, I know that the future of 501 Consultants will be influenced by my personal and professional growth. I owe it to my team members and the clients we serve to continue learning. One of the more accessible and supportive opportunities to do so is AgForestry, and I am challenging myself in unexpected ways as a member of Class 42.”
“To me, leadership is about realizing the potential in others. 501’s founder and CEO (Vicky Scharlau, Class 10) is an AgForestry graduate, and she has made strong leadership characteristic of our work environment. As I now work with her to guide the direction of the company, AgForestry has provided an incredible, simultaneous opportunity to delve into what I see modeled and what I want to strive toward in my own leadership.”

AgForestry Alumni Innovating...

Tristin Klesinck, Class 32, faced many of the challenges that businesses across the state have dealt with. One way Tristan is making his farming community better is by developing a new logistics management software called Customer Aligned Logistics. CAL has allowed him to expand from 600 deliveries a week to more than 2200 deliveries a week.

AgForestry on AM 610 KONA, Tri-Cities

Brian Baumann, Class 38, talked with Glenn Vaagen on the Washington Ag Network about his AgForestry experience, what the program means to industries and communities and why someone should apply for Class 43.

Executive Director Matt Kloes on Wheat All About It!

Click the image to listen.

Life changing experiences come in all shapes and sizes, and for many of the more than a thousand people who have graduated from the AgForestry Leadership Program, participation represents a crucial milepost in their lives. In episode 155 entitled: Leadership and Learning the AgForestry Way, listen in as Matt Kloes, executive director of the organization, describes how the program changes lives while getting a first person account of how it influenced Class 13 participant Scott Yates, host of Wheat All About It! and director of communications and producer relations for the Washington Grain Commission.

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