MEET OUR BOARD MEMBERS
MEET OUR BOARD MEMBERS
The California Cattle Council Board is made up of eleven members and eleven alternates, with each group consisting of three range cattle producers, three cattle feeders, three dairy producers, one processor, and one public member (open). The appointees were selected from nominations made by the cattle industry over a six-week nomination period and represent the diversity of cattle producers around the state, as required by the California Cattle Council Law.
DAIRY CATTLE MEMBERS
Jennifer Beretta is a fourth-generation dairywoman. Beretta works as the herd manager at Beretta Dairy in Santa Rosa, California. The dairy is made up of 300 milk cows. In addition to managing the dairy, Beretta also raises approximately 10 head of beef cows. About 12 years ago, the Beretta Dairy went organic to keep the dairy in operation on the North Coast. However, today the operation sells their dairy cows in both conventional markets and organic markets.
Darlene Idsinga is a fourth-generation dairy farmer. Born and raised in Chino, she grew up working on the dairy and began feeding calves full time at age 13 on her family’s dairy in Kerman. Today, she works under her father at their dairy in Hanford. Darlene manages herd health, day to day tasks, environmental management and employees to name a few tasks.
Darlene studied ag business and dairy science at Fresno State and graduated in 2015 with a degree in ag business. While at Fresno State she was involved in dairy club and placed second in the 2014 Dairy Challenge. In 2019, she completed the 2019 Western United Dairy Leadership Program. In addition to being a board member for the California Cattle Council, she is also currently serving as a board member for Western Untied Dairies and as an alternate for the California Milk Advisory Board.
Rodney Kamper is a second generation dairy farmer, who owns and operates an 1,800 cow dairy, alongside his brother and son. He is well-versed in environmental issues facing California dairy and beef operators, and is actively engaged in these issues at the local, state, and national level. Rodney serves on the Board of Directors for the Kings Water Alliance, Central Valley Dairy Representative Monitoring Program, and the California Dairy Environmental Justice Fund. He regularly attends Dairy Cares meetings and serves as the farmer representative for the California Milk Advisory Board at national dairy sustainability meetings. Additionally, he participates in National Milk Producers Federation meetings through his role on the CDI Board of Directors.
Frank Mendonsa has been apart of the dairy industry his entire life. Son of an immigrant, Frank grew up on a dairy and followed in his father’s footsteps when he continued in the family trade. Frank started a dairy of his own in 1985 with 56 cows and a rented corral. Along with growing his herd, he and his wife have grown their family to include four children and six grandchildren.
His practical hands on experience is the epitome of learn by doing. He serves his community and industry by being apart of various organizations such as Western United Dairymen, Lower Tule River Irrigation District, CA Livestock Identification Advisory Board, S.P.D.E.S, and St. John’s finance committee, just to name a few. His care for the environment has him always striving to become more sustainable. He has worked with the Audubon Society to protect Tri-colored Blackbird colonies that were nesting in his fields and has invested in solar and a digester all to reduce emissions and support the environment.
CODY NICHOLSON-STRATTON, CHAIR & EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER
Cody Nicholson-Stratton is a seventh-generation dairyman. He graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Rangeland Ecology in 2010 and came back to the Ferndale based family farm in 2014. Today he co-owns the business Nicholson Livestock with his parents milking 100 organic Jersey cows. Cody, husband Thomas and young son “Tiny Farmer” market their pasture raised protein of beef, lamb, eggs and soon frozen dairy desserts through their business Foggy Bottoms Boys. The farm is certified organic and certified humane through the American Humane Association. The farm also has GMO-free verification and is environmentally certified through the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program. Nicholson-Stratton’s cows are on pasture a full 365 days a year, which is not unique to Humboldt County, as the climate lends itself to the production of pasture based animal agriculture year round. Additionally, Nicholson-Stratton has a small herd of grass -fed Angus and Murray Grey cattle, and raises fine-wool sheep, and pastures laying hens as an integral part of their regenerative carbon farming practices to enrich the landscape while yielding greater returns!
As a fourth-generation dairy farmer, Ribeiro grew-up working with his father and grandfather on their family farm in Tulare. After graduating college, Ribeiro started working full-time on the farm and started a family of his own. Over the last few years Ribeiro’s had many leadership opportunities, such as to create an ag education event referred to as “Ag Career Exploration,” write articles for Hoard’s Dairyman, sit as a mentor for the Holstein Association’s Young Dairy Leadership program, work as an influencer for the California Milk Advisory Board and sit as a board member for Western United Dairymen.
Hoekstra is a third-generation dairyman born and raised in Oakdale, CA. He is a partner in the Hoekstra Dairy with his dad and brother. Hoekstra is also a partner in the Oakdale Calf Ranch, which he helped start 15 years ago. A pioneer dairyman, Hoekstra helped develop the Procross dairy breed, a 3-breed rotational cross, 20 years ago. Jack currently serves on the boards of the California Beef Council and Western United Dairies.
Julie Belezzuoli-Hathaway currently serves as Vice-President and Chief Legal Counsel for Overland Stock Yard and Overland Cattle Company, located in Hanford, Calif. Overland Stock Yard was established in 1939 and has been operated by the Belezzuoli family for 60 years, and is one of the leading dairy, feeder, beef and native cattle auctions in the nation. The Belezzuoli family also runs range cattle, and raises a large amount of feeder cattle through Overland Cattle Company.
For over 30 years, Brandenberg was the owner and manager of Meloland Cattle Company. Prior to that he ran Brandenberg Feedyard from 1973-1980, when he purchased the Meloland Feedlot and merged operations into Meloland Cattle Company. Brandenburg currently does not manage any feeding operations, but still feeds 5,000 head of cattle.
JESSE LARIOS, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER
Jesse Larios is manager at Foster Feed Yard, a 36,000 head capacity yard located in the Imperial Valley. He takes lots of pride working for a fourth generation family farm with more than 62 years of experience raising beef in the desert Southwest. He’s called this same feedlot home and considered the employees as family for the last 15 years. Additionally, Larios enjoys reaching out to the community with a proactive presentation on our cattle industry and through social media.
For over 60 years, Brad Peek’s father and his family have owned and operated Shasta Livestock Auction Yard in Cottonwood, Calif. Additionally, the family has owned the Western Video Market for 30 years. Peek has been working full-time with the businesses for over 20 years. Additionally, Peek has served a term as president of California Livestock Auction Markets Association, and he also sits on the California Department of Food and Agriculture Cattle Health Advisory Task Force.
Since 2004, Smith has had the unique opportunity to work with the Beef Division of Harris Ranch. He has assisted with the marketing and operational activities of both the cattle feeding and beef processing divisions of the company. From the very start, Smith says he was encouraged to become involved with beef industry organizations at both the state and national level. To that end he has served on the Board of Directors of the California Beef Council, the California Cattlemen’s Association (Feeder Council), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (Federation of State Beef Councils), the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (Operating Committee) and the North American Meat Institute.
RANGE CATTLE MEMBERS
Avila was born and raised on a ranch of 700 cows and attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After college he returned to work on the ranch in 1992 and stayed until six years of drought resulted in selling the ranch. In 2004, Avila moved to Tulare where he worked in the livestock marketing industry for 13 years. In 2017 Avila made the move to go out on his own buying and selling livestock, as well as working as a rep for Western Video Market. He is the past president of the Tulare Cattlemen’s Association, a member of Rancheros Visitadores and serves as chairman of the California Cattlemen’s Association’s Marketing and International Trade Committee.
BEVERLY BIGGER, VICE-CHAIR & EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER
Beverly Bigger and her partner run a cow-calf operation outside the city of Ventura. In 1983 they purchased six longhorn cows so they could watch their cattle when they rode on a friend’s ranch. Over time they have gradually grown their cattle operation to a small herd, and in 2016 when Bigger retired from Farm Credit West she became a full-time rancher.
Growing up near Bakersfield, Sheila Bowen’s family farmed and raised cattle. She married Jeff Bowen in 1980, and today they live and work on the Carver Bowen Ranch near Glennville, California. The ranch is a commercial cow/calf operation that has been in Jeff’s family since the early 1870s. Sheila is active in CattleWomen’s groups at the local, state and national level and served as California CattleWomen’s president from 2015-2016. She is also currently serving as an alternate on the California Beef Council.
Sherri Brennan is the wife, mother, and grammy on a sixth generation cow/calf ranch in central California. Sherri graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and is a strong proponent of keeping working landscapes working, both through education programs and legislative advocacy. She has served as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Ambassador Chair, California Farm Bureaus Public Lands Chair, and most recently served for eight years as a county supervisor on the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors.
DAVE DALEY, CHAIR & EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER
Dr. Dave Daley is a fifth generation commercial cattle producer from Oroville, Calif. He is the is the immediate past president of the California Cattlemen’s Association and currently serves as chair of the Forest Service Committee for the Public Lands Council. In addition, Dr. Daley recently served as the Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico, and has been an animal science professor for the past 30 years.
Kevin Kester is a fifth generation California rancher. He was born and raised in the Parkfield area of southern Monterey County where his family has lived for over 125 years. They have a yearling stocker and an Angus-based commercial cow-calf operation. They also farm wine grapes on their ranch. Kester attended California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Management. Kester also attended Cuesta College where he received a Associate of Arts Degree in Real Estate Management. The Kester’s’ are proud to have the 7th Parkfield generation into the family, with five grandkids and a sixth on the way.
Kester is very active within the industry, having served as President of the San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association and President of the California Cattlemen’s Association. At the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Kevin is a Past President. Kester also served as NCBA Policy Division Chairman, Chairman of the Joint International Markets and Chairman of the Tax and Credit Committees. He has also served on the NCBA Board of Directors since 2007.
Brian Coelho is the President/CEO for Central Valley Meat Co. (CVM). He has grown up in the beef livestock and slaughter industry where he began learning the skills of the industry at a young age. He received a Bachelor Degree in Business and Economics from St. Mary’s College of California. In 1996, he returned to the family business where he has held several roles throughout the company. In addition to CVM, Coelho is the president of affiliated companies that include Harris Ranch Beef Company, Harris Feeding Company, Coelho Meat Company, Triple C Trucking, and CLW Foods. CVM and its affiliates collectively form an integrated beef company that includes cattle feeding, slaughter, processing, ground beef production and transportation. Coelho is a past president for the North American Meat Association and past chairman for the North American Meat Institute. He currently serves on boards for North American Meat Institute, TERRA, and California Beef Council.
Sarah Mora is the fourth-generation of the Mora family involved in the beef industry. She was raised working at Humboldt Auction Yard, which her grandfather and father ran for 50 years. She attended college at Chico State and worked for California Farm Bureau during the late 90s early 2000s. Mora returned to Humboldt about 10 years ago and began taking over management and ownership of Humboldt Grassfed Beef—marketed to retail stores and restaurants throughout Northern California. She is a member of both California Cattlemen and CattleWomen, and is currently serving as chairperson for The Buckeye, a local agriculture group dedicated to educating the public about the importance of working ranch and timberlands.
San Luis Obispo County
Garrett lives in San Luis Obispo County and as a public member brings a perspective from outside the industry on issues related to marketing, communications and strategy. Garrett has a professional background as a marketer for global organizations, with particular focus on messaging, communications and digital marketing. He also has personal experience being around livestock, ranching and farming through family members and friends.
Chelsea Minor is the Corporate Director Public Affairs for Raley’s, an innovative, regional, family-owned grocery chain, operating in Northern California & Nevada. She serves as the spokeswoman for the organization, while developing and executing the company’s public affairs and brand reputation strategies. She manages Raley’s government relations and external partnerships. Prior to Raley’s, Minor worked for KP Public Affairs and the California State Assembly. Minor is the Chair of the Metro Chamber Political Action Committee, Treasurer for the California Retailers Association and the Past Chair of the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce.