Terry Lindley of American AgCredit Honored With Spirit of Sonoma County Award
By Tim Tesconi, Sonoma County Farm Bureau
Terry Lindley whose life has been dedicated to agriculture and community service was honored with the Spirit of Sonoma County Award for his many contributions to Sonoma County Farm Bureau and his unwavering support to agriculture, farm youth and the Sonoma County Fair.
As an executive of the largest agricultural lending institution in the region, Lindley has taken an active role in strengthening the agricultural community through his leadership and financial support. He has been the driving force behind many community events including the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce’s Agribusiness Barbecue, which has been held for the last 40 years to build lasting relationships between the urban and rural sectors of Sonoma County.
Lindley, senior vice president of marketing at American AgCredit, was Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s honoree in the annual Spirit of Sonoma County Awards program coordinated by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. Lindley was among the honorees recognized by Farm Bureau and 19 other organizations and chambers of commerce at an awards luncheon held on Dec. 6 at the DoubleTree in Rohnert Park.
Ben Stone, director of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, made the opening and closing remarks at the awards luncheon, which celebrated its 13h anniversary as one of the county’s premier community events. Kenn Cunningham of the Exchange Bank was the master of ceremonies and introduced the award winners.
The Spirit of Sonoma Award winners are chosen based on their contributions to the economic development and enhancement of the communities in which they live, work, and conduct business through donations of their time and expertise in support of local business and in helping others. There were 22 Spirit Awards presented.
“Terry Lindley is a respected leader who has truly made a difference in promoting, protecting and preserving Sonoma County’s annual $4 billion agricultural industry and educating the next generation of agriculturalists,” said Tito Sasaki, president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau. “ Terry is a hard-working businessman who commands respect. Terry’s community spirit and can-do attitude epitomize the Spirit of Sonoma Award. Farm Bureau is honored to recognize him as our Spirit Award winner.”
Sasaki and his wife Janet joined Lindley and his fiancée Misty Wirz at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau table at the Spirit Awards luncheon. Other guests at the Farm Bureau table were Dr. Frank Chong, president of SRJC, Byron Enix, president and CEO of American AgCredit, Steven Knudsen and Tim Tesconi, both on the staff at Sonoma County Farm Bureau.
Lindley was born and raised on a family ranch in Humboldt County where he was an award-winning member of the Future Farmers of America. After high school, he moved to Santa Rosa and studied agriculture business at Santa Rosa Junior College and became active in the Sonoma County Young Farmers and Ranchers. Following his graduation from SRJC, he started working at what is today American AgCredit, the leading farm lending institution in Sonoma County and the North Coast region.
Lindley worked his way up in the company from loan officer to chief marketing officer during his career, which now spans nearly 40 years. In addition, he is the owner of Lindley Cattle Company, which owns and manages 400 head of commercial beef cattle that graze on land in Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt counties.
Lindley is a self-made businessman and entrepreneur who is on everyone’s “A” list when something needs to be done related to Sonoma County agriculture and agricultural education. He makes things happen and serves on many committees and boards. He currently is president of the Santa Rosa Junior College Board of Trustees and a longtime trustee of the college. He is a director and past president of the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation Board and a trustee of the SRJC Ag Trust. He is past president of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair and a member of West Santa Rosa Rotary and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the 4-H Dairy Replacement Heifer Committee, the United Way Board of Directors and a committee of the National Farm Credit System. He has been treasurer of the North Bay Wool Growers for 15 years.
He holds memberships in Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Sonoma County Trailblazers, North Bay Woolgrowers, Sonoma-Marin Cattlemen’s Association, California Cattlemen’s Association and the Sonoma County Grape Growers.
He has been recognized for his contributions and leadership in the agricultural industry. He was named the Sonoma County Fair’s North Bay Rancher of the Year, the Sonoma County Harvest Fair’s Friend of Agriculture, Friend of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, recipient of the Santa Rosa Junior College President’s Medallion and Marketer of the Year for the National Farm Credit System.
In addition to Lindley, there were two other Spirit of Award winners from the agriculture and wine industries. The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission honored grape grower Pamela of Gunsalus Vineyard for her tireless volunteer work on behalf of the commission and the grape growing industry.
Gunsalus has leadership role in several committees and task forces within the Winegrape Commission: Marketing, Community Relations and the Sustainable Practices Task Force. Her collaboration and listening skills help guide these groups to a better understanding of our goals and the best paths to reach them. Listening to what friends and foes of an issue have to say, finding the strategic pathway and devising the template to bring people together is Gunsalus’ gift to the winegrowers as part of the Community Relations Task Force.
Carlos and Linda Chavez of Chavez Family Cellars were honored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for their work and support to the chamber and the Hispanic community. Chavez Family Cellars is a small artisan wine company located in Healdsburg. Carlos and Linda Chavez run a risk management firm and made wine in their garage for six years. In 2006, they launched their commercial wine brand and have had much success.