Western Grower & Shipper 2018 05 MayJune

into large shoes, Becerra has spent the last 14 months learning the mushroom business and managing the day-to-day operations as the managing partner of Global Mushrooms. Becerra has adopted her father’s motto for the farm of “Quality First.” Her understanding of this motto was not to just grow the highest quality mushrooms, but also to ensure the highest quality programs within the company. These programs include employee benefits, employee safety, food safety and maintaining a state-of the art growing facility. When first taking over, Becerra reviewed the company’s benefits and noticed that employees were not utilizing their health benefits. After meeting with the employees, she learned that they did not fully understand the coverage or they could not find service providers in their areas. She immediately reached out to Western Growers Insurance Services to develop new benefits program and implemented an employee benefits education program. The new program combined affordability, accessibility and education to support her employees. “In this short time, participation in the health plan has grown to 88 percent, the employees understand their benefits and now have access to health service providers in their areas,” said Becerra. “We are incredibly proud of the quality of our employee programs that we have created at Global Mushrooms and are delighted with the positive feedback we receive from our employees.” In addition to leading revolutionary changes within their companies and making history today, female farmers are also growing ag for tomorrow. Carol Chandler, partner at Chandler Farms, and Catherine Fanucchi, partner at Tri-Fanucchi Farms, are two of the three women who sit on WG’s Board of Directors.

Christi Becerra, Global Mushrooms

“Today, new technology for on-farm use is being developed at an astonishing rate, and in many ways, changing the way we farm,” said Filice. “Aerial imaging is just one of many such technologies Filice Farms utilizes to detect problems in early stages, allowing us to make important cost effective decisions.” Today, Filice Farms rotates a dozen different crops on San Benito County ranches from Hollister to San Juan Bautista and has cemented its reputation as one of the most forward-thinking ag operations in the region. “Agriculture is an exciting business, each day presenting new opportunities and new challenges. If you’re not constantly planning and looking toward future opportunities for your farm and your employees, you’re going to be left behind,” said Filice. Filice’s story of taking over a family business and transforming it into an agricultural powerhouse is one that is starting to echo throughout the industry. When Christi Becerra’s father passed away in 2017, she made the decision to leave her career in IT and join one of her family’s businesses to insure that her father’s legacy would continue. Stepping

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MAY | JUNE 2018

Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com

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