Sonoma County Farm Bureau Welcomes New Board Members

Written By: Brytann Busick
Published: September 3, 2020

Nicolas Hernandez Ramirez

Nicolas Hernandez Ramirez works for Bevill Vineyard Management as a Viticulturist with Pest Control Advisor and Qualify Private Applicator License. He got his start in the winegrape industry as an intern at Bevill and has continued to grow and learn as a viticulturist. 

“I started working in the field picking grapes and vegetables and now I have a degree in Viticulture,” Nicolas said. “I graduated from Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) in 2015 and transferred to California State University, Fresno where I earned my Bachelor of Science in Viticulture in 2018.”

He is the first in his family to graduate from a four-year college. Nicolas was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and moved to the United States 15 years ago. 

“My family is very important to me,” Nicolas said. “I my wife, Ada Medina-Tellez, in high school and we are now married. I was raised by my single mother, Ramona, who has been a fantastic mom and dad to me and two brothers and sisters. Now, my siblings have expanded their families and I am an uncle to my nieces and nephews.”

Nicolas is involved with the Sonoma-Marin Young Ranchers & Farmers, which he said is a great program to be part of. He has also been a longtime Farm Bureau volunteer because he sees it as a way to say thank you to our community for their support for the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County Scholarship Program. 

“The scholarships that I received during college were a big help to my education,” Nicolas said. “I was able to focus on my academics because of the support I received from the Farm Bureau.”

He said that he enjoys being a part of the winegrape industry because it is such a small community where everybody works together. Now, he will expand his role in the industry by serving on the SCFB board of directors.

“I wanted to become a Sonoma County Farm Bureau board member because I have an understanding of labor and safety and I have been active in the agricultural industry,” Nicolas said. “I want to ensure that our agriculture workers receive proper training on safety.”

Jordan Mahrt

A 4th generation farmer, Jordan Mahrt was born and raised in Petaluma and grew up on his family’s chicken ranch. Today, he helps to run the daily operations of Petaluma Egg Farm, which his dad, Steve, started in 1983.

“I am the third of four brothers. Jonathan and Jeremy are older than me and we work together at Petaluma Farms, while Justin is younger,” Jordan said. “I recently married my wife, Paige Nonella Mahrt. We live out on the west side of Petaluma and she also works for our family business managing our retail store, Skippy’s, and doing outside sales. 

Jordan attended Petaluma High School where he was a member of FFA and played basketball and football. After high school, Jordan attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he received his undergraduate degree in Agriculture Systems Management. To further his education, he is currently going to school at night to earn his MBA from Sonoma State.

After he graduated from Cal Poly, Jordan went to work for Foster Farms in their Feed Mill division. 

“I was responsible for operations at one of their mills for a couple of years and after learning a great deal as a part of such a big business, I decided I wanted to bring that experience back to the family farm.”

Jordan said that he is a Farm Bureau member because his family’s livelihood is built upon agriculture.

“I believe that it’s vitally important to be a part of an organization that works to protect and promote agriculture both locally and nationally,” Jordan said. 

Now, he is ready to increase his role in the organization by serving on the board of directors.

“I see this as an incredible opportunity to give back to our community and to help be a part of keeping agriculture viable in Sonoma County,” Jordan said. “Agriculture helped build Sonoma County into the incredible place that it is today, and I want to see agriculture thrive for many years to come.”

He said that, unfortunately, despite agriculture’s long history in Sonoma County, many people now take full grocery store shelves for granted and are disconnected from how their food ends up there. 

“In addition, we’re getting pressure from all sides, mostly from people who have never worked a day in their life on a farm,” Jordan said. “I want to help educate people and stand up for agriculture in order to preserve our way of life.”

In addition to his Farm Bureau involvement, every year, Jordan and his family host the Cutest Little Chick in Town Contest as a part of the Petaluma Butter and Egg Day Parade. They also donate eggs to various non-profit events throughout the year.

He said that his favorite part about working in the farming industry is the opportunity to take part in an essential aspect of daily life.

“It’s an incredible feeling knowing that the work we do every day helps feed people,” Jordan said. “Farming is a unique industry and most farmers wear many hats. Unlike what most consumers think, farmers aren’t just farmers. They are also mechanics, accountants, distributors, salespeople, HR managers, and many more.”

Jordan also appreciates being a part of a tight-knit community.

“As the years progress, more people leave this industry to go to “normal” jobs, which makes those of us in the agriculture industry grow even closer,” Jordan said. “I’m proud to stand together to take on the big challenges that we face in the future.”

 

Ron Crane

Ron Crane grew up on his family’s ranch in Santa Rosa and he attended Cardinal Newman High School, Santa Rosa Junior College, and the University of North Dakota, where he earned a BS Degree in Aeronautical Studies. After college, Ron joined the US Army and attended flight school. Then he embarked on a 6-year career flying Apache helicopters while serving in Korea, Alabama, Texas, and Iraq.

In 2006, he got out of the Army and moved to the family ranch with his wife Erica and two children Trinity, 14, and Alex, 13, and started helping out when he wasn’t working as a commercial helicopter pilot.

“I flew helicopters commercially in the Gulf of Mexico, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara,” Ron said. “I also flew EMS helicopters for CALSTAR in Ukiah for 7 years.”

He said that the demanding schedule and a back injury caused him to give up flying in 2017. He then returned to ranching and farming full-time alongside his dad, Tom Crane, who is 82. 

“We have two ranches in Santa Rosa and Petaluma,” Ron said. “Our ranch in Santa Rosa started in 1852 when our family came to California for the Gold Rush. It is approximately 250 acres and we have about 125 head of sheep, 6 guard dogs, 90 head of cattle, 1.25 acres of hops, and 50 acres of oat hay. 

Ron’s dad purchased the ranch in Petaluma about 50 years ago. There they raise 650 head of sheep, 9 guard dogs, and farm about 500 acres of organic oat hay and silage on approximately 1,000 acres.

In addition to working on the ranch, Ron is currently working with local breweries to develop 100% Sonoma County Beer. 

“I’m growing hops and barley for the breweries and rye and barley for a local distillery that makes whiskey,” Ron said.

He said that one of his favorite parts about working in the farming industry is that his whole family is able to work together.

“I take a lot of pride in providing the best possible product to the local community whether it is lamb, beef, silage to local dairies, or fresh hops to local breweries,” Ron said. “Farming is not an easy way of life but, I have the freedom to make decisions that make my business better.”

Ron said that he is a Farm Bureau member because the organization supports local agriculture and represents our community at the state level.

“I want to serve on the Board of Directors so I can contribute anything I can to promote local agriculture and promote education to the general public on the importance of local agriculture,” Ron said.

He believes that we must do more to educate the public and promote local agriculture. 

“I get so excited about the local farm to table movement and believe it is the key to the survival of Sonoma County agriculture.”

Related Articles

Premium Members

To represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.