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Western Growers announces Ron Ratto as new chairman of the board

Western Growers announced that Ron Ratto, president of Ratto Bros. Inc., has been elected as chairman of the board of directors. Taking over volunteer leadership responsibilities from outgoing Chairman Craig Reade, partner at Bonipak Produce, Ratto will serve as chairman for a one-year term. He joined Western Growers’ board in 2013 and has served numerous roles, including senior vice chairman and political action committee chairman.ratOutgoing Chairman Craig Reade passing the gavel to incoming Chairman Ron Ratto during Western Growers Annual Meeting.

“Ron has made significant contributions in his current role as a board member and senior vice chairman, advancing both the innovation and advocacy side of agriculture,” said Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif. “I look forward to working with him as our new chairman, along with the rest of the board, to support the ongoing growth of Western Growers in support of our members and the fresh produce industry as a whole.”

Ratto heads Ratto Bros. with his cousins Ray, David and Frank Ratto. Born in 1951, he received a degree from the College of Agriculture at University of California-Berkeley, and always knew he was going to join the family business. Today, the family-owned business farms over 1,000 acres of farmland near Modesto, CA, growing a variety of crops, including fresh herbs, greens and other vegetables. The farm takes pride in implementing progressive farming practices and investing in the latest technological advancements, including a high-tech cooling and packaging facility, state-of-the-art irrigation pumping and filtration stations, an on-site solar installation, a robust food-safety team and an in-house computer program that can track the dozens of specialty-type vegetables crops.

“For more than nine decades, Western Growers has provided the crucial guidance and support needed to help farmers continue to feed the nation and world,” said Ratto. “As a fifth-generation farmer, I understand how precious this resource is and am honored and humbled to lead the board of directors as we continue to deliver value to fellow farmers.”

Ratto was named as 2019 chairman during Western Growers 93rd Annual Meeting in Palm Desert, CA. During the meeting, the board also selected Ryan Talley of Talley Farms as senior vice chairman; Albert Keck of Hadley Date Gardens as vice chairman; Carol Chandler of Chandler Farms as treasurer; and Vic Smith of JV Smith Cos. as secretary. Additionally, the board welcomed new board members Franz DeKlotz of Richard Bagdasarian Inc.; Brandon Grimm of Grimmway Farms; Alex Muller of Pasquinelli Produce Co.; Dominic Muzzi Jr of Muzzi Family Farms LLC; John Jackson of Beachside Produce LLC; and Kelly Strickland of Five Crowns Marketing Inc.