A.G. Kawamura, co-chair of Solutions from the Land (SfL), will receive the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Leader in Agriculture Award next week, honoring the California produce farmer’s contributions to the industry and his record of supporting career and leader development for young men and women in agriculture.
The award, which will be presented during the Leader in Agriculture Award Dinner in Kansas City, MO, next Friday, honors what the AFA says is an individual whose accomplishments, personally and professionally, distinguish him or her as a mentor to young leaders in the agriculture industry.
The award dinner coincides with the annual AFA Leaders Conference, which this year will draw together more than 900 top global leaders, students and supporters of agriculture.
A.G. is a third-generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County, and is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). As SfL co- chair, he has been instrumental in leading efforts by the non-profit organization to organize and convene the North American Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (NACSAA), a collaborative effort among farmers, ranchers, foresters and stakeholders to implement climate smart land management practices and strategies.
He also serves on several boards and committees including: The AGree Initiative; the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR), a policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences’ Natural Resource Council; Ag Advisory Committee for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; American Farmland Trust; UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) external advisory board.
He is a former chair and current board member of the Western Growers Association. As a progressive urban farmer, AG has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California. Through his company, Orange County Produce LLC, he is engaged in building an interactive 21st-century, 100-acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA. He also founded the nonprofit Solutions for Urban Agriculture that seeks to offer innovative solutions to some of the pressing food security, public health, ecological, workforce and educational needs facing urban environments today.
Founded by agri-business leaders in 1996, AFA offers leadership and career development training, as well as academic scholarships for men and women pursuing a career in an agriculture-related field. The organization recognizes that AFA members share the belief that the production, processing and distribution of food and fiber, along with support for agriculture business services, are vital for our nation’s economy, both now and in the future.
AFA enables student leaders to forge strong, relevant connections with high-integrity industry leaders, stimulating professional and intellectual development and creating a mentorship model that enables lifelong learning. AFA’s partnerships with rural communities, corporations, foundations, colleges, universities/individuals that support academic development, leader development groups and career development educators create an atmosphere that stimulates the development of professionalism, intrapreneurialism and intellectualism.
Receiving the Young Leader in Agriculture Award next week will be Joel Mathiowetz, a fifth- generation Minnesota farmer who raises corn, soybeans, peas and lambs. He also is a crop insurance agent and owner of Farm Gate Consulting LLC. Mathiowetz is the executive director of the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation.
SfL congratulates A.G. and Joel for this tremendous recognition, and we look forward to continuing to support 21st century farmers that are delivering solutions to global challenges.
Solutions from the Land (SFL) is a national dialogue of landowners and conservationists focused on the sustainable policies and practices needed to meet food, feed, fiber and energy production needs while protecting natural resources and ecosystems.