Our Board Members
President, Board Member, Grower
Robert is a Colorado native and now owns Sakata Farms which was started in 1945 by his father. The operation has grown to 2500 acres growing fresh market cabbage, dry bulb onions, sweet corn, pinto bean, field corn and winter wheat. Robert served for 15 years on the state of Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission appointed by three different governors. He also served as the Adams County Farm Bureau president and on the Adams County Open Space Advisory Committee. Currently he is on two local ditch boards, serves as the agricultural representative on the metro roundtable, is a member of the Colorado Ag Water Alliance and on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Water Congress.
After graduating Brighton High School Robert attended the University of Colorado Boulder and worked for AmGen in their molecular biology research department. Returning to the farm in 1989, Robert has worked to encourage the shrinking farm community to become more involved in the many issues they face.
Vice President, Board Member, Grower
Secretary, Board Member, Grower
Glenn was born and raised in Rocky Ford, Colo., a small farming community in the Arkansas Valley. After graduating Colorado State University with a degree in agriculture he returned to the family farm in 1986. He has served on various boards and committees, including FSA County Committee, Catlin Augmentation Association and Rocky Ford Growers Cooperative. Hirakata Farms grows and ships Rocky Ford Cataloupe, watermelon, honeydew and pumpkins. They also raise some grain crops, which include field corn and winter wheat. As co-owner, Glenn understands the challenges in the fruit and vegetable industry but finds it to be a very rewarding place to work.
Treasurer, Board Member, Grower
Reid Fishering works for Mountain Quality Marketing LLC, located in Montrose. He works on both operations and sales for the family run business.
Mountain Quality Marketing LLC is a harvesting, sales and logistical company that focuses on Olathe Sweet Corn. The Fishering Family has been in Montrose since the early 80’s, and has grown a wide variety of vegetables throughout the years ranging from broccoli, cauliflower, onions, raspberries and hops.
Board Member, Grower
Bruce Talbott is a fifth generation fruit grower in the Palisade area of Mesa County. Within the family organization, he is responsible for all vineyard and orchard operations. Our currently production is made up of about 65% peaches, 30% wine grapes with most of the remainder being pears. The farm includes about 450 acres on owned and leased farm ground. We also pack our own fruit as well as for others and process apple cider sold under multiple labels or in bulk for repackaging or fermentation.
Production is all conventional with mostly sprinkler irrigation along with some drip and furrow. Peaches are marketed through wholesale channels into Colorado’s historic marketing area being predominately the upper Midwest with some fruit staying in Colorado. Wine grapes support the Colorado Craft Wine industry being sold to 25 or 30 different wineries.
Board Member, Grower
Board Member, Grower
Dominic is a fifth generation farmer with family farming roots dating back to 1890. He attended Colorado State University and received a B.S. in Soil and Crop Science and Agricultural Business before returning to production in 2009.
Dominic works alongside his family to operate DiSanti Farms in Pueblo, CO. The operation produces over two dozen types of crops with the leading commodities being Pueblo Chile, Green Onion, and Pumpkins. Their operation has an on farm stand and services wholesalers and distributors throughout the state.
Board Member, Allied
Board Member, Allied
Jeni is an attorney with Holland & Hart LLP, and holds a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Tech. Her passion is food and agricultural law, in all its many aspects. In her legal work, Jeni assists agriculture and food clients with regulatory compliance, including the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Prior to attending law school, Jeni worked for the food hub, Appalachian Sustainable Development, to help conventional and organic produce growers and small processed food businesses market their products to restaurant and wholesale buyers, manage risk, and practice food safety. She also started a non-profit soy processing business for farmers living with HIV in western Kenya and has worked on conservation agriculture research projects in Kenya, Uganda, and Lesotho. While working in agricultural policy, she focused on food safety and trade issues with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and the American Seed Trade Association.
Jeni also serves on the Board of Sprout City Farms, an urban farming non-profit based in Denver and on the Steering Committee of the Local Food Safety Collaborative, a 1.5 million dollar cooperative agreement between FDA and the National Farmers Union Foundation dedicated to assessing needs and providing training curricula for small entity FSMA compliance.
Marilyn Bay Wentz
Marilyn Bay Drake grew up on a crop and sheep farm in northern Weld County, not far from the land homesteaded by her great-great grandparents in the 1880s. Upon graduation from the University of Northern Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she spent five years working in Taiwan, learning and teaching the fledgling discipline of public relations. Her employer, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, was then the largest advertising agency in the world.
Following her stint with Saatchi & Saatchi, she applied her public relations and promotional skills for the benefit of agricultural organizations back in Colorado, including the U.S. Meat Export Federation, National Farmers Union and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. In 2008, she established her own writing, editing and public relations business, where she served a variety of agricultural organizations, including the National Bison Association, Western Sugar Cooperative and the American Grassfed Association.
In August 2015, Marilyn was thrilled to accept appointment as executive director for the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. She looks forward to promoting and advocating for this exciting sector of the agricultural economy.
She and her family reside on the Eastern Plains just east of the Denver Metro Area, where they operate a freezer lamb business. Marilyn is the published author of two books (Prairie Grace, 2013 and All We Like Sheep, Lessons from the Sheepfold, 2015) and a certified 4-H horse show judge and level rater. She is fluent in Spanish, speaks conversational Mandarin Chinese and does a decent job in English, as well.
Board member, Partner
Beth LaShell is from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. After serving as an instructor in the Agriculture and Biology Department for 17 years teaching a variety of agricultural-based courses including Animal Science, Agricultural Marketing, and Community Based Agriculture, Beth became the Coordinator of the Old Fort at Hesperus in 2010. Her duties include day to day operations, coordinating Fort Lewis College and community uses and conducting research projects on the 6,300 acre property that is the site of the original Fort Lewis College. Research projects include Analyzing Hops Varieties for High Altitude Production, the Old Fort Market Garden Incubator program which serves as an alternative entry point for new farmers, and providing small farmers with information about food safety, alternative direct marketing methods, wholesale production and high tunnel production.
As the project director of the Old Fort Market Garden Incubator since 2010, she has developed infrastructure, educational programs and on-site management guidelines for the program. In Fall, 2015, she was named a Regional Convener for the National Farm Incubator Training Initiative to provide the Southwest region with information on developing farm incubator programs.
Board Member, Partner
Board Member, Partner
Adrian Card works with Colorado State University Extension in Boulder County. Adrian managed small, direct market vegetable farms in Larimer County, Colorado in the 90’s, taught vegetable crop production at CSU, and before accepting his current position in 2004, worked as student farm manager at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University, managing 7 acres of mixed vegetables for CSA, produce stand, research and teaching.
Adrian is excited for the potential CFVGA has to strengthen fruit and vegetable production in Colorado and to enhance its emerging partnership with CSU. He is working actively with the Board to develop CFVGA through outreach and educational programming. More bio at LinkedIn