Fresno State News
It takes keen insight and critical thinking to understand the vast Central Valley agricultural ecosystem.
Roger Isom, an electrical engineering alumnus from Fresno State, has interlinked it with the government, labor force and education over the course of 31 years.
After graduating in 1988, Isom started his first job with San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, where he gained new insight into the agricultural industry, helping certify various processing facilities throughout the county.
Isom enjoyed his work there, and in 1992, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association created a related position for him where he handled utility relations with Pacific Gas and Electric, and assisted in shaping air pollution and other agricultural industry issues.
In 2009, Isom helped found the Western Agricultural Processors Association and was named its president. A decade later, his connections with the association helped organize the donation of over $800,000 worth of equipment and services to create a new tree nut processing laboratory for the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. Officially opened in 2022, it has created opportunities for students to work with state-of-the-art processing equipment for many of the area’s highest-value crops through classes and demonstrations.
“We’re right in the center of the ag capital of the world, and we need to give students hands-on experience,” Isom said. “This facility continues to elevate our program while serving the industry with one of its critical needs of developing experienced labor.”
Isom’s ties to campus extend to the Ag One Foundation, where he succeeded Stanley Kjar, Jr. as its president for a one-year term that started July 1. Other newly elected executive board officers include:
- Nick Biscay, vice president (Madera, Stanislaus Farm Supply)
- Fendley Ragland, treasurer (Fresno, PGIM Real Estate Agricultural Investments)
- Jason Baldwin, secretary (Kerman, Panoche Creek Packing)
- Stanley Kjar Jr., past president (Fresno, Pearson Realty)
In addition, new members of the 23-person board include:
- Aaron Attebery (Clovis, Green Leaf Farms)
- Richard Machado (Fresno, Telus Agriculture)
- Jay Mahil (Madera, Creekside Farming Company)
- Stephen Nazaroff (Madera, Horizon Nut Company)
- Don Parreira (Fresno, Ultra Gro Plant Food Company)
Ag One Benefits Jordan College
Board members are a valuable resource for organizing Ag One events that connect industry members and alumni with Jordan College faculty, staff and students, raising funds, and providing insight for Jordan College Dean Rolston St. Hilaire.
Registration information is open for two fall events, the 46th annual Ag One Boosters BBQ and Fantasy Vacation Drawing Sunday, Sept. 10, at Panoche Creek River Ranch, and the 52nd annual Turf Day Classic golf tournament Friday, Oct. 20, at Belmont Country Club.
Since 1979, Ag One has taken pride in fundraising and fostering agricultural community collaboration, and in encouraging agricultural students to attend Fresno State and ultimately shape the future of the industry.
A great example is Esmeralda Miranda, a 2023 agricultural business graduate. The Merced native served as an intern for the Western Agricultural Processors Association handling administrative and communications responsibilities, and has since been hired by the association full time as a worker and food safety specialist.
“Esmeralda is an outstanding employee,” Isom said. “Lots of our interns have gone on to work for Ag One members or in the industry, and it’s just phenomenal how they’re quickly shaping the future of Central Valley agriculture.”
For more information about the Ag One Foundation, its programs, and upcoming events, contact (559) 278-4266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.