AgKnowledge 2023 Class XV

The Grower-Shipper Association Foundation is currently accepting applications for Class XV of AgKnowledge, an executive agricultural leadership program in Monterey County.

AgKnowledge is presented by Grower-Shipper Association Foundation, a 501C3 non-profit organization.  AgKnowledge is co-sponsored by the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s  Office

If you are interested in being part of Class XV, please complete the online application and submit it by Monday, January 27, 2023.  There are a limited number of participants admitted into the class.  Program participants will be selected and contacted by mid-February.

If you know someone who might benefit from participating in this program, please forward this link or have them contact Lisa Dobbins directly at

Deadline: Submit application by January 27th, 2023

The Mission of AgKnowledge is to educate and enlighten the Class Fellows about the heritage, diversity, stewardship, complexity and interdependencies of Monterey County Agriculture.


The purpose of AgKnowledge is to provide policy makers and community leaders the opportunity to see Monterey County through the eyes of those directly involved in the many facets of agriculture and to become a more informed consumer and voter. 

AgKnowledge graduates are encouraged to extend to others the knowledge and awareness gained through participation in the program.  It is expected that Class Fellows will better understand those who work the land and/or otherwise contribute to the production and distribution of agricultural commodities.

The intent of the program is to provide you with a context for Monterey County Agriculture:

  • Historical beginnings and current overview
  • Geography and land stewardship
  • Crops, technology and economics
  • Generational families, cultural issues, workforce
  • Complex Issues – providing different points of view
  • Impact on the communities – developing common threads among each of the seminars

Emphasis on some of the following major crops of Monterey County:

  • Row crops – vegetables
  • Strawberries
  • Wine Grapes
  • Mushrooms
  • Cannabis
  • Nursery (landscape, floral, plantlets)
  • Cattle
  • History and Heritage
  • Food Safety and Security
  • Regulations affecting agriculture, including competing regulatory interests
  • Water (supply, quality, regulations and politics; groundwater protection, salt water intrusion, overdraft)
  • Immigration, labor issues, cultural influences of the workforce (past, present, projected)
  • Pest prevention, detection, eradication, integrated pest management, pesticide use (synthetic, natural), conventional and organic farming methods
  • Technology, research, opportunities
  • Marketing (trends, value-added, industry consolidation, sustainability and public relations)
  • Sustainability Practices
  • Climate Change
  • Urban/Ag Interfacing, Ag Buffers, Conservation Easements, Williamson Act
  • Land use issues affecting agriculture
  • Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) or Genetically Engineered Organism (GEO) 
  • Ag Tourism

    The program will provide the Class Fellows with educational presentations, tours, hands-on experience and panel discussions with speakers from diverse backgrounds and with different views regarding the complex issues that affect and comprise the agriculture industry.

    AgKnowledge 2023 Class
    XV Calendar

    Every session is on a Friday

    Friday March 24, 2023
    Opening Day – Ag Overview

    Friday April 28, 2023

    Friday May 19, 2023
    Agricultural Workforce

    Friday June 16, 2023
    North County

    Friday July 28, 2023

    Friday August 25, 2023
    Food Safety, Pesticides and Plant Protection

    Friday September 22, 2023
    Science & Technology

    Friday October 27, 2023
    South County

    Friday November 17, 2023
    Graduation and Closing Reception

    “Boots on the Ground Day” is pre-planned between you, another Class member and your assigned ag industry representative.

    Topics subject to speaker scheduling.


    The following releases must be agreed upon to enter the program.

    • Statement of Commitment

    • Survey Commitment

    • Class Guidelines

    • Photo Release

    • Social Media

    • Boots on the Ground

    • Employer’s Statement of Commitment

    • Covid Policy

    Please review the information below before applying. You will be asked to acknowledge them as part of your application. At the end of the application form at there is an area where you agree to the releases before submitting the entire application. Please read the information carefully before agreeing on the releases.

    I understand that, if accepted, I am committing to attend all nine day-long sessions and the tenth Boots on the Ground DayThe Tuition for AgKnowledge 2023 is $1,850, payable to the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation prior to the first session on March 24, 2023.

    I also understand that, if accepted, I will be expected to complete each session’s evaluation survey in a timely manner.

    Prior to acceptance, you will be interviewed (by phone or in person) by the Executive Director.

    Upon acceptance, you will receive final confirmation by phone, email and/or mail as well as any additional program materials.

    (the release signature is required on the application form at

    The evaluation survey for each session is a very important tool for the AgKnowledge Committee and the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation Board of Directors and is used to help shape future sessions.  It is required that you complete each survey within 48 work day hours of the session.  The surveys are confidential and anonymous.  

    (the release signature is required on the application form at

    Out of respect to all involved in the AgKnowledge program, it is important that you arrive in a timely manner to all sessions.  Attendance to all sessions is important as is communication with the Executive Director.  

    Cell Phones
    Turn off/silence your cell phones and do not text during the sessions.  Cell phone use is limited to scheduled breaks listed on the agenda. 

    Photo/Video Policy
    While we encourage you to be able to share your experience in Class XIV and have photos to post on social media, we request that you only use a camera when the speaker allows.  You will be advised when you can take photos for personal use. Video is NOT allowed at any time during the program. 

    Social Media
    Class Fellows and speakers speak freely during the sessions.  For that reason, you are requested not to post comments and photos on social media without express permission.

    Program Surveys
    Each session survey is a very important tool for the AgKnowledge Committee and the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation Board of Directors.  We require that you complete the surveys at the end of each session or within 48 hours.  The surveys are confidential and anonymous.

    Conditions to expect
    Fellows will tour diverse terrain. Be aware that it can be physical, with uneven ground and mud. Boots, layered clothing and sunhats are recommended.

    I have read and understand the guidelines and agree to adhere to them as a member of Class XV.  I further understand that my attendance to all sessions is essential and further acknowledge that if I miss two sessions, I may be subject to expulsion.

    (the release signature is required on the application form at

    Subject:     2023 AgKnowledge™ Class XV Fellow/Program Speaker
    Location:   Monterey County, multiple locations over nine months

    I grant to Grower-Shipper Association Foundation, its representatives and employees the right to take photographs of me and my property in connection with the above-identified subject.  I authorize Grower-Shipper Association Foundation, its assigns and transferees to copyright, use and publish the same in print and/or electronically.

    I agree that Grower-Shipper Association Foundation may use such photographs of me with or without my name and for any lawful purpose, including, for example, such purposes as publicity, illustration, advertising, brochures, reports and Web content.

    I have read and understand the above.

    (the release signature is required on the application form at

    I understand and acknowledge that the goal of the AgKnowledge Program is to have community leaders acquire knowledge about a broad spectrum of agriculture in Monterey County and the interdependence in their daily lives.

    Because the program is set in a “common learning” environment, fellows and speakers have interaction and speak freely asking questions and sharing information in a “safe place” for learning.

    For this reason, we ask that the AgKnowledge Fellows not post comments made by other fellows and speakers on social media platforms. 

    We encourage you to “friend” or follow Grower-Shipper Association Foundation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and “repost” or “like” what is posted on those sites. Please text or email photos to Lisa Dobbins as she will coordinate the posting of photos taken throughout the program. We encourage you to do so.

    (the release signature is required on the application form at

    This portion of the program offers a unique opportunity to “walk in the shoes of a farmer” and gain an understanding of what it takes to grow, harvest and ship fresh produce to the consumer. It is also a chance for farmers to share what drives them to work the rich soil of the Salinas Valley, thus providing a vital (and tasty) service not only to our community but to others across the country and the world.

    Growers, shippers and ranchers are constantly making decisions based on the changing needs of the consumer and concurrently being conscious of the environmental needs of the land they use, all the while maintaining high standards of health and safety, both to their employees and to the consumer.

    This is a unique opportunity to see the side of agriculture that few people experience! Would you like the chance to walk a field or help fix a fence? What about witnessing a water quality project in full swing or the movement of fresh product to the cooler?

    It is the goal of AgKnowledge to expose participants to the many different aspects of Monterey County agriculture, and there is no better way to carry out this opportunity of a lifetime than spending half a day with a farmer to really get your “Boots on the Ground.”

    You will be assigned your host. Your half day is then planned between you, one other Class member and a grower, shipper or rancher and is in addition to the nine monthly sessions. This is one-on-one time so expect to spend some time in a vehicle and doing some walking. Make sure you bring questions, a note pad and a camera to make a record of this awesome learning experience.

    I agree to provide a written report with the day’s highlights to the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation within 30 days of your “Boots on the Ground Day.”

    (the release signature is required on the application form at

    If applicable, provide your employer with a link to the Employer’s Statement of Commitment page at that they may review it and submit on your behalf.

    I have read the California Department of Public Health Covid State Public Health Officer Order of October 14, 2022 at

    (the release signature is required on the application form at

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