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Local farmers, businessmen vie for TID appointment

POSTED October 30, 2009 11:25 p.m.
The applications are in — 11 will compete for appointment to the vacant Turlock Irrigation District Division 1 Director seat.
On Oct. 13 the four remaining members of the TID Board of Directors unanimously elected to appoint a new Division 1 Director. The position became available when Phillip Short passed on Sept. 25. Resumes and letters of intent from prospective directors were due by Oct. 28.
A special advisory committee, comprised of Division 2 Director Charles Fernandes and Division 4 Director Rob Santos, will pare down the initial list of applicants prior to a 9 a.m. Nov. 3 public hearing where an appointment will be made. Santos and Fernandes were selected to serve the committee as they will be the only two returning members of the TID Board. Division 5 Director Randy Fiorini and Division 3 Director Michael Berryhill are not seeking reelection in the General Election that is to be held the same day as the scheduled appointment.
The appointed candidate will serve the remainder of Short’s term, which is set to expire in November 2011.
The candidates for appointment, listed alphabetically, are as follows:
• Chris Barth, Hughson. Owner of Barth Ranch and GolfUSA. Has served as school board member, county planning commissioner, Farm Bureau board, and State Water Quality Control Board. Graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program. Recipient of the Profiles in Leadership award from the Agricultural Education Foundation. Served as Governor’s Chairman of the Valley Economic Summit.
• Mike Brem, Turlock. President, SupHerb Farms, largest frozen herb and specialty vegetable processor in North America, largest basil processor in the world. Chairman of Turlock Planning Commission. Past president of Rotary Club of Turlock. California Agricultural Leadership Program graduate. Chairman of Merced Mutual Insurance Co. Board of Directors. Director of California Vegetable Specialties Co.
• Craig Brooks, Hughson. Owner and Founder of Taylor Veterinary Hospital; large animal veterinarian. Part time almond farmer. Servolution planning committee member. Member, Opportunity International Board of Governors. Elder board member, New Life Christian Center. Past elder board member, Denair Friends Church. Past site committee member, Emile J. Ross School. Past Cub Scout master.
• John Eisenhut, Turlock. Owner of Eisenhut Farms, an 80-acre almond orchard using water-efficient sprinkler irrigation. Chairman of the US AgBank Board of Directors. Chairman of the American AgCredit Board of Directors. Past president of Turlock Elementary School District Board of Trustees. Past director California Agricultural Leadership Program. Past officer Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. Democratic candidate for California Assemblyman, 26th District, 2008.
• Michael Frantz, Hickman. Chief executive officer of Frantz Wholesale Nursery, LLC, a 300-acre operation which grew 400 percent under his leadership. Director, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. Member, Agricultural Advisory Board, California State University, Stanislaus. Member, California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crops Advisory Board. Past director, California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers; served on Insurance, Political Action, and Science Committees. Past president CANGC, Yosemite Chapter. Founding member of California Agricultural Network. Past director Nursery Growers Association. Graduate, California Agricultural Leadership Foundation; current regional director of Fellows Council.
• Nick Hackler, Turlock. Manufactures representative, JenJil Packaging, Inc. Project manager subdivision/development, Hackler/Clabaugh Hideaway Tarrace, LLC, Denair. Co-chairman, Economic Development Action Committee. City of Turlock planning commissioner. Advisory board member, Salvation Army — Turlock Corps. Member, Western Growers Association.
• James Hudelson, Hughson. Farms 200 acres near Hughson and provides almond and walnut harvesting, land leveling, and farm related services. Has served on various Hughson school boards for 19 years; currently sits on Hughson Unified School Board. Past Hughson Youth Center board member. Past Hughson Unified School District Recreational Advisory Committee member. Farm Bureau member. Youth baseball coach and volunteer fireman.
• Brian Long, Turlock. Vice president of Procurement and Engineering for Foster Poultry Farms. Past vice president of Sales International Chain Accounts North America, director of Purchasing, and purchasing manager for Unilever Foodsolutions.
• Ray Prock, Jr., Denair. Manager and partner of Ray-Lin Dairy. Director, East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District. Secretary, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Vice chair, Stanislaus County Agricultural Advisory Board. Chairman, Denair Elementary School Site Council. Past district representative, California Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. Graduate, Young Dairy Leaders Institute. Graduate, California Dairy Leaders Program. Current candidate for Denair Unified School District Board of Trustees.
• Anthony Walker, Turlock. Owner/operator of Wellington’s Pub and Restaurant. Served as TID public information officer for 13 years. Past president of Turlock Downtown Property Owners’ Association Board of Directors. Past chairman of Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau. Past member, Turlock Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Pulitzer prize nominated journalist.
• Rod Vilas, Turlock. Owner of Vilas Farms, a 400-acre almond ranch in Ceres. Former partner in almond shelling operation. Past vice-chair of Blue Diamond Liaison Committee. Past director of California Almond Hullers.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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