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FWG Board of Directors

Jeani Ferrari, Chairwoman

Jeani Ferrari has lived in the Central Valley her entire life. The Ferrari family farms in Merced and Stanislaus counties. She served on the Turlock Downtown Revitalization Committee, the Yosemite Association Board, the Yosemite Fund Council - and is currently serving on the Carnegie Arts Center Foundation Endowment Committee. Jeani helped launch Turlock's first Certified Farmers' Market, which opened in 2010 in downtown Turlock and continues today. Jeani was a founding member of the Stanislaus Farmland Trust which evolved to become California Farmland Trust. Jeani is on the Advocacy Committee for the Farmland Working Group.

Jeani's term will conclude in April 2027.

Suzanne Byrd, Vice Chair
Suzanne Byrd is a fifth generation California farmer living and farming in the Wood Colony area west of Modesto. She and her husband, Tim, raised their family on their almond orchard. After volunteering on several political campaigns, she understands the urgency to educate our elected officials on the unique farming industry of Stanislaus County.  An early supporter of the California Farmland Trust, she is passionate about preserving the rare and beautiful farmland of the Central Valley and wants to support growing local food because no matter where we live, we all need to eat!
Suzanne's term will conclude in April 2026.
S. Chance Carrico, Secretary and Treasurer
Chance Carrico's connection to the agricultural heritage of the Central Valley runs deep, rooted in multiple generations of family farm laborers. His involvement in the 4-H Club, during his childhood, further nurtured this bond. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with an Economic Studies degree from California State University, Stanislaus. Chance, alongside his wife and son, proudly calls Stockton home, and his term is set to conclude in April 2027.

Matt Beekman, Member

Matt Beekman was born and raised in Stanislaus County. He is a commercial beekeeper engaged in pollination, honey production and breeding queen bees. He is a graduate from UC Berkeley with a double major in Political Science and Political Economy of Industrial Societies (PEIS). As part of his PEIS coursework, he took two City Planning courses that triggered his interest in local municipal governance. He served in various capacities for the City of Hughson as a Planning Commissioner, City Council member, and Mayor from 2004-2015. During his tenure as Mayor, the City of Hughson adopted a 2:1 farmland mitigation policy. Matt Beekman also served on the Stanislaus County Council of Governments, Stanislaus County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), was elected City Representative for CALAFCO Central Region encompassing all Central Valley, Sierra Nevada Counties. In 2015 he was selected as the LAFCO City Commissioner of The Year for the State of California. Matt Beekman resides with his wife and three children in Turlock, CA. 

Matt's term will conclude in April 2027.

Karen Conrotto, Member
Karen's term concludes in April 2026.
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Garrad Marsh, Member

Garrard Marsh, a life-long resident of Modesto, was born in 1948.  He is a third and fourth generation Modestoan. His grandmother and father built the ‘modern’ Modesto Bowl the same year he was born. Ten years later his father built McHenry Bowl – way, way out in the country.

 After graduating from high school during the Vietnam era, Garrad joined the US Navy and served with a top-secret clearance for almost seven years aboard nuclear submarines.  Following his return to Modesto, he attended Modesto Junior College, graduating with honors.  Transferring to the University of California, Berkeley, he earned his B.A. degree in Business Administration in 1978 and returned later in 1986 to compete his MBA there.  Garrad negotiated a successful buy-out of McHenry Bowl from his family.  For the past thirty-five years he and his wife Dallas have owned and operated the bowl.  Garrard’s interest in the community led him to enter local government.  In 1989 he co-chaired the Forward Modesto Traffic Committee.  He then joined the City of Modesto’s Board of Zoning Adjustment followed the Planning Commission then decided to run for a seat on the City Council.  He served two terms on the City Council and then four years as Mayor.  In 2006 Garrad joined with Denny Jackman to run the campaign for the SOS (Stamp out Sprawl) – the Yes on E initiative, a proposal to limit growth outside of incorporated cities of Stanislaus County.  After obtaining enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the measure passed.

Garrad and his wife Dallas have four grown children, six grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.  

Garrad's term concludes in April 2027.

Steve Stewart, Member
Steve Stewart is a Central Valley native. He was born and raised in Ripon, CA and has a lifelong involvement in Agriculture. After graduating from Fresno State with a degree in Plant Science, he started a career as a winegrape grower that has afforded him the opportunity to see the changes in the landscape of the San Joaquin Valley over the past 30 years.  Steve, his wife Kathleen and two daughters, currently live in Stanislaus County. He is focused and committed, working to preserve the agricultural resources that the Central Valley provides.
Steve's term concludes in April 2026.
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