James D. “Jamie” Johansson was elected president of the California Farm Bureau Federation in December 2017. Johansson is a former chairman of the CFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers State Committee and former vice president of the Butte County Farm Bureau. His service in Farm Bureau has included membership on a half-dozen other statewide advisory and policy recommendation committees. He grows olives and citrus fruit in Oroville and operates an olive oil company, Lodestar Farms. He is a co-founder of the Sierra Oro Farm Trail Association and a former board member of the California Olive Oil Council.
Danielle Downey, the Executive Director for Project Apis m., has been working with honey bees and the parasites that plague them for over 25 years. Her background includes training and research from bee labs in Minnesota, Canada and France; beekeeper education, work with commercial beekeepers and queen breeders, regulatory work as a State Apiarist in Utah and Hawaii, and wrangling bees for TV and film. She has worked closely with the Apiary Inspectors of America, Bee Informed Project and a bee breeding project with collaborators in Hawaii, Louisiana and Europe selecting and refining Varroa resistant bees. She holds a BSc from University of Minnesota and an MSc from Simon Fraser University.
Chris was born into a beekeeping family in Ephrata, Washington in 1975. He and his five brothers grew up spending springs managing apple pollination in central Washington and summers pulling and extracting honey in North Dakota. Together they now own Hiatt Honey Co., started by their father 50 years ago. Chris splits his work year between Madera, California and Bowman, North Dakota running 20,000 hives. He also manages the business’s almond orchard in Madera.
Jay Miller is the Vice President of the American Beekeeping Federation and owner of 2J Farms, a 5th generation family-owned business. They manage over 4,000 hives of bees in CA, ID, and ND. Each year they travel the country to pollinate almonds, extract honey in Blackfoot, ID, and have been pioneers in cold storage and offer these services at their refrigerated/air-conditioned bee storage facility at their shop in Blackfoot, ID.
Susan Cobey works with Washington State University and operates Honey Bee Insemination Service. The focus of her work with WSU is incorporating germplasm collected from Old World European honey bees into domestic breeding stocks to enhance genetic diversity. HBIS provides training in the skills essential for stock selection and maintenance. She founded the New World Carniolan Program, now being transitioned to Certified Queen Producer Cooperators. Her background includes managing honey bee research labs at University of California, Davis and Ohio State University and work at the USDA Honey Bee Lab., Baton Rouge. She has worked in commercial queen production in FL. and CA., and co-founded and operated a queen production business, Vaca Valley Apiaries, in northern California.
Dalial Freitak is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Biology at Karl Franzens University of Graz, Austria. She has been studying insect immunity for over 15 years and her desire to understand how organisms adapt to stressors has led to paradigm shifting discovery of the underlying mechanisms behind immune priming in honeybees. She is currently leading the honeybee pathology lab in at the University and is teaching students about immunology and social insects. Outside of basic research, Dalial is a founding member and CSO of Dalan Animal Health, Inc. – a company pioneering the development a first vaccine for honeybees.
Anne Marie Fauvel is the Tech Team Coordinator for the Bee Informed Partnership based at the University of Maryland. She lends a hand in coordinating the many BIP programs, and mostly is charged with the logistics of the 5 main beekeeping regions, home of the Honey Bee Health Field Specialists and their activities. She works directly with commercial beekeepers bringing industry and research together. The Tech Team Field Specialists lead the sampling, monitoring, reporting and consulting efforts, resulting in collecting copious amounts of data on colony health, management and treatment, and they also perform industry trials and act as a consultant with unique regional and national perspectives.
Vincent Ricigliano is a research scientist at the USDA-ARS honey bee breeding, genetics, and physiology lab in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His research aims to improve honey bee nutrition in the face of landscape agricultural intensification and climate change.
Tracy Schohr is the Livestock and Natural Resource advisor for Plumas, Sierra and Butte counties for UC Cooperative Extension. Tracy received her B.S. in Agricultural Business from California State University, Chico and M.S. in Horticulture and Agronomy from University of California, Davis. Her research and extension activities are at the interface of ecological sustainability and economic productivity. In this role, she assist ranchers and land managers throughout the region to address topics such as water quality, invasive species, post fire grazing, and regulatory compliance. Tracy works with clientele, students and policy makers to recognize managed grazing can be part of the solution to meeting conservation objectives.
Elina L. Niño is an Extension Specialist for Apiculture with UC ANR UCCE located in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis. Through her extension activities, Dr. Niño works to support beekeepers and the beekeeping industry. She serves as the research liaison on the CSBA Board and as a member of the Pollinator Workgroup for the Almond Board of California. Her lab also offers a variety of beekeeping courses and educational opportunities for beekeepers, future beekeepers, other agricultural professionals and the public. Most recently, her lab has implemented the first California Master Beekeeper Program. Dr. Niño’s research interests encompass basic and applied approaches to understanding and improving honey bee health and particularly honey bee queen health.
Steve Sheppard is the Thurber Professor of Apiculture of the Department of Entomology at Washington State University. Steve’s graduate research at the University of Illinois was on pollination biology, population genetics and evolution in honey bees. Prior to joining the faculty at WSU, Steve was a research scientist for USDA-ARS, conducting studies on Africanized honey bees and the genetic processes that accompany insect range expansions.
Mel began his career at Blue Diamond in 1992, in the role of Field Supervisor serving member/growers in northern Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties. Mel is now the Vice President of Member Relations and oversees a team of nine regional managers who serve as direct support to the 3,000 grower-members of the Blue Diamond grower cooperative. Mel serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Almond Board of California, ABC, and as a member of the ABC’s Strategic Agricultural Innovations Committee. He also serves as a member of the University of California Integrated Pest Management Advisory Council.
Dr. Lewis oversees research for the Almond Board of California. Prior to joining the Almond Board, she was Associate Vice President at the Environmental Defense Fund, where she focused on ecosystems and sustainable agriculture. She previously served as the Associate Director of the University of California, Davis World Food Center and worked in business development for Arcadia Biosciences. Dr. Lewis spent 16 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development, most recently as Director of the Office of Agriculture, where she played a leadership role in the development of the Administration’s global initiative on food security.
Jason is a fifth-generation beekeeper managing his families 127-year-old beekeeping operation in Newcastle California. Miller Honey Farms runs approximately 15,000 beehives and specializes in the pollination of almonds, prunes, and apples in CA and WA. They also produce over 600,000 lbs of honey annually for sale and distribution throughout the US. Jason graduated from Brigham Young University in 2007 with a Master’s Degree in Information Systems. He also lived 2 years in Spain as a missionary for his church and backpacked through Europe during college. His prior employment includes 4 years as a cryptography engineer at Apple Computer. In 2018 he earned a Master Beekeeper certification from the University of Montana. In 2019 Jason graduated Class 47 of the California Agricultural Leadership program. He currently serves on the Placer County Farm Bureau board. Jason and his wife, Ginny, have 4 children ranging in age from 7-14 years of age. They spend 3 months of the year in North Dakota where they have their bees during the summer. Ginny is a graduate of the Utah College of Dental Hygiene and works part time as a dental hygienist.