Jocelyn Anderson has secured a spot for herself among the state’s young ag leaders. She is the first vice chair for the California Young Farmers and Ranchers, a director for the Glenn County Farm Bureau, a past participant in the Leadership Farm Bureau program and the 2021 American Farm Bureau Young farmers and Ranchers vice chair. She hopes to inspire other young farmers and ranchers to become leaders as well, a passion that started forming several years ago.
“I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I started teaching swim lessons when I was about 13,” she said. “I was a competitive swimmer my whole life and that went right along with what I was already doing daily. So, I had kind of been involved in teaching from a young age, and I have family members who are teachers or in the education field. So, I thought that’s definitely what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree and teaching credential simultaneously at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, and started teaching kindergarten and first grade.
“I really enjoyed it at the time. Just after being in it for several years, I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I started to learn more and more about my family farm and grew closer with my dad as well. I knew I wanted to eventually come out to the family farm one day,” she said.
Anderson did go back to the family farm in Willows, Calif. She now joins her father in growing primarily walnuts and almonds. Part of the farming experience she enjoys is the opportunity for continual learning.
“I literally learn something new every day from my dad. He’s been doing this since he was a kid and on our specific farm now for over 30 years. So, I just feel like I learned something new every single day.”
Anderson said she set out to learn all the ins and outs of farming. “I wanted to learn everything, even down to how to work on equipment and change oil on tractors. I wanted to be able to start building an understanding of how everything works from the bottom up.”
She started by working closely with the other farm employees and asking a lot of questions. She said she continues to ask a lot of questions.
“I’m learning everything I can from my dad. I’m trying to ask him questions so I can eventually hold all the knowledge that he does from being in the field and specifically with almonds and walnuts for so long. Our walnut huller as well, because that’s obviously a big operation once we get to harvest and there’s a lot of moving parts that go along with it,” Anderson explained. “There’s a lot. There’s a lot of stuff to learn, but I love it.”
As she continued learning about growing tree nuts, Anderson worked on growing her sphere of influence. She was selected to participate in the 2019 class of the Leadership Farm Bureau program from the California Farm Bureau and is a director for the Glenn County Farm Bureau. She also holds positions with the statewide California Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers and the national American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers.
“There are a couple more programs I want to apply for and complete eventually, and just to be involved as much as possible. I think it’s so important to have family farmers who are on the ground, working on their family farm every day, to also be able to represent in a boardroom or with leadership responsibilities and positions,” she said. “Right now, I’m the first vice chair with the California Young Farmers and Ranchers. Hopefully, next year I can move up into the chair position. My two-year term with the American Farm Bureau will end next year and you can only do that once, but it’s a great program and I hope to pursue some more leadership opportunities with American Farm Bureau in the future.”
She also wants to apply for the California Ag Leadership program and said when she hits the cutoff age of 35 for the Young Farmers and Ranchers group, she plans to continue being involved with the Farm Bureau in other ways.
Where does she get passion for the Farm Bureau? It is something she learned from her father.
“My dad. He’s been part of our local county farm bureau pretty much since I can remember,” Anderson said. “Since I was little, he’s been a director on our Glenn County Farm Bureau board.”
However, she said the drive for leadership is more personal.
“I think my drive for leadership comes from within. I know that I have been successful in it in the past and I can be a real advocate for farming. So, I don’t want that to go to waste,” she said. “I always say it’s great to have representation from the field to the boardroom so that you cover all your bases.”
Sabrina Halvorson is the host of the MyAgLife Daily News Report. Hear the full interview with Jocelyn Anderson on the MyAgLife Daily News Report at myaglife.com or on the MyAgLife app.