This is Ag challenges us to think differently about how we lead our lives and our organizations by learning from the inspiring and captivating stories of leaders in Ag.
23. Ashli Sturgill - Health and Safety Manager at TheZenith Insurance, preventative care, safety, mental health, and much more.
In episode 23, I sit down with Ashli Sturgill, Health and Safety Manager at TheZenith, to dive into the vital safety and health concerns in the agriculture industry. Ashli's role is all about making the workplace safer, and she emphasizes that prioritizing safety isn't just about the well-being of employees but also has significant financial implications for businesses, even though it may initially seem costly.
As we explore the challenges faced by businesses in the industry, Ashli highlights that neglecting safety can result in even more substantial expenses, especially when dealing with workplace accidents and compensation claims. We stress the importance of considering the overall well-being of laborers, underlining the moral and financial imperative of proactive healthcare, both physically and mentally.
Our conversation also highlights the profound significance of community in the agriculture sector. As a member of WomenAg, Ashli underscores the value of finding stress relief and support within a like-minded group. In essence, this episode highlights that safety and health in agriculture are not just obligations but investments in the well-being of workers and the sustainability of businesses, all within the backdrop of a close-knit industry community.
22. Gary Thiara - General Manager & Partner of Empire Nut Company, Indian roots, building communities, walnuts, sustainable agriculture, and much more.
In this month's episode, I sat down with Gary Thiara, general manager and partner of Empire Nut Company. Throughout our conversation, we spoke about the humble beginnings of the family-owned business, the public perception of the agriculture industry, and how partnering with UnitedAg has strengthened the Thiara family’s relationship with their employees.
Empire Nut Company started as a small orchard, and their success was built upon the support and collaboration of the local farming community. The nature of the agriculture industry produces modest, generous farmers who understand that investing in their communities yields the best harvests. Gary emphasizes that the public’s perception of the agriculture industry often includes stereotypes of overconsumption of natural resources and mistreatment of laborers, which he argues is far from reality. The Thiara family recognizes that the well-being and safety of their employees is essential for the success of their business. Partnering with UnitedAg, as Gary explains, streamlined the integration of healthcare and workplace benefits; this partnership helps address a common challenge in the industry, where these benefits might not be readily accessible. Empire Nut Company’s success derives from the people in their communities -- employees, partners, families – and their generosity. The values held by Empire Nut Company aligns with those of UnitedAg, resulting in a beneficial partnership that contributes to the overall well-being of employees and longevity of business.
Raymond Rumiano, Marketing Specialist & co-owner of Rumiano Cheese Company, cheese making & family enterprise, interconnectedness of animals, farmers, and consumers, sustainability, regenerative farming and much more.
On this month’s episode, I join Ray Rumiano in Willows, California, home to Rumiano Cheese Company. Ray has a profound appreciation for the challenges faced by agriculture workers; his commitment to the family business is grounded in the connections between animals, farmers, and customers. This holistic perspective emphasizes the importance of sustainability and longevity which, in turn, produces quality products. Moreover, Ray’s dedication to his farmers and employees highlights the importance of ethically utilizing resources and appreciating the time offered in creating a quality product. The core of business operations resides in humane treatment, and this places Rumiano Cheese Company as a strong contender among large scale dairy farm operations. The passion and care trickles down to the treatment of their cows, which are grass-fed and free range. Even beyond that, Rumiano Cheese utilizes regenerative farming practices which keeps the soil nutrient rich and conserves water. Throughout our conversation, Ray and I connected through our shared values in commitment to serving our communities and offering gratitude to those that serve us in return; this sense of comradery, passion, and dedication results in quality products and customer service. The Rumiano family's unique approach to farming, combining traditional methods with environmental consciousness, continues their legacy in the cheesemaking industry. Please enjoy our conversation.
Samantha C. Taylor, Winemaker at Hope Family Wines, the Art of Winemaking, Power of Creativity, Hard Work, Millennials, & Austin Hope wines
In Episode 20 of This is Ag Podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha C. Taylor, the talented assistant winemaker for Hope Family Wines in Paso Robles. Samantha's remarkable journey into the world of winemaking began with a strong desire to pursue her passion for wine. Little did she know that this decision would lead her down a rewarding and inspiring path. Samantha's story serves as a powerful reminder of the opportunities that arise when one follows their heart and embraces their true calling.
Over thirteen harvests, she has become an integral part of the winemaking team, working alongside winemaker Austin Hope. Samantha's enthusiasm and dedication shine through as she oversees the daily operations of winemaking, ensuring the production of award-winning wines that set the standard for Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon.
Working for Hope Family Wines, she has learned the importance of teamwork, creativity, and being humble in the face of nature's uncertainties. This particular winery has allowed Samantha to excel and grow as a winemaker. As a testament to her hard work and the winery's commitment to excellence, Hope Family Wines was named the American Winery of the Year.
Throughout the podcast, we delved into the intricacies of winemaking, from vineyard decisions to blending wines and considering consumer expectations. Samantha also shared her experiences as a participant in the WomenAg Leadership Academy, which offers an inspiring space for ambitious women to foster personal and professional growth while exploring and honing their leadership talents. During the episode, she highlights the camaraderie and personal growth the academy offers.
Overall, this episode provided an insightful and inspiring look into the world of winemaking, the power of teamwork, and the potential for personal growth. Samantha Taylor's journey serves as a testament to the rewards of passion and hard work in the wine industry, and her story resonates with wine enthusiasts and aspiring winemakers alike. Listeners are sure to gain valuable insights into the creative and dynamic world of winemaking, leaving them eager to uncork new opportunities in their own pursuits.
19. Jeff Lundberg, Owner of Babe Farms, Cultivating Quality and Commitment in Gourmet Produce, Loyalty and Innovation, Farming Success, Family Legacy, and much more.
In episode 19 of This is Ag Podcast, I had the honor of speaking with Jeff Lundberg, the face of Babe Farms, a family-owned and operated company that has been working with UnitedAg for over 25 years. It is truly remarkable to see how Jeff has taken over the business from his mother, Judy, and maintained its amazing culture for over 40 years. Babe Farms is a leader in the gourmet produce industry, prioritizing superior quality, innovation, and genuine customer relationships. Tune in to hear stories about Star Wars, Coca-Cola, and beyond!
During our conversation, we delved into various aspects of Babe Farms. It all began with their inspiration from the beautifully crafted produce found in Europe, which led them to grow into the outstanding company they are today. From vibrant carrots to golden beets and purple kohlrabi, Babe Farms produces eye-catching and stunning gourmet quality foods that go from farm to table. Their commitment to innovation has resulted in the success of their organic farm, conventional farm, and the specialty farm known as Babe Farms. (see https://www.babefarms.com/)
One thing that sets Babe Farms' apart is their focus on their employees. They truly prioritize their team members, fostering a strong sense of loyalty and commitment. Respect is at the core of their values, and every individual is treated with respect from day one. Babe Farms has cultivated a culture of appreciation and recognition, treating their employees as an extended family. They celebrate milestones together, provide benefits like 401k and health insurance, and organize events to express their gratitude.
Through my conversation with Jeff, I gained valuable insights into the workings of the farming industry. His passion for the business is evident, especially when he talks about the rewarding experience of witnessing the entire process from seed to harvest. Jeff embodies the values of a true farmer, being a steward of the land and a community-oriented business owner. I commend Babe Farms for their remarkable accomplishments, growth, and commitment to their employees and customers. It was an absolute pleasure to have Jeff on the podcast and learn more about the extraordinary journey of Babe Farms.
18. David Nikssarian, President of Nikssarian Insurance Services, Inc., Stories of Impact, Transformation, and Compassion
In this captivating podcast episode, I had the privilege of interviewing David, a seasoned broker with over 38 years of experience in the Insurance Industry. Together with his wife and business partner, Mary, they established Nikssarian Insurance Services, Inc. in 2003, showcasing an unwavering dedication to excellence. During our conversation, David shared his personal story, growing up in Fresno, CA, and working in agriculture. He touched on the importance of work ethic, passion, and embracing a fulfilling lifestyle.
What stood out to me the most was David's genuine commitment to making a difference in people's lives. For him, it's not simply about the work; it's an integral part of his life. David and his team go above and beyond to work closely with their clients, particularly in healthcare claims, ensuring a seamless and supportive experience. Their focus on building and nurturing relationships truly leaves a lasting impact. Throughout our discussion, David emphasized the significance of growth and adaptability in an ever-changing industry. He stressed the importance of humility, doing right by people, and consistently striving to be better than they were before. We delved into the challenges of engaging employees and collaborating with different providers, highlighting the critical role of respect and engagement in fostering successful partnerships. We explored innovative programs and services, including underutilized opportunities and personalized healthcare initiatives. Overall, our conversation shed light on the profound influence that relationships, service, and a genuine desire to positively impact lives can have on the insurance industry. David's dedication to making healthcare more accessible and affordable serves as an inspiration to us all.
Great conversations from industry we rarely hear about
I would recommend taking a listen and seeing what you learn about modern day agriculture. The podcast is ripe with great insights and interesting stories
So wonderful to hear Steve Nelson and Kirti recorded. This is an excellent exchange between two like minded individuals from different sides of Agriculture but with mutual perspectives and values. Its what I love about Ag, the people are amazing. Thank you both for sharing.