FWG Board of Directors
Lori Wolf, Chairwoman
I was born in Hawaii, but grew up in Modesto. I graduated from Stanislaus State with a BS degree in Biology. Then married Dwight Wolf in 1983 and raised two children – Daniela and Dakota. My father founded Professional Landscaping and I began working with him after college. I eventually managed the company and became part-owner. During that time I was the Treasurer and then President of the Yosemite Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association. I am also past president of the Valley Builders Exchange in Modesto. My husband has been farming for forty years and our commitment is preserving our valuable farmland for future generations. My new association is helping to Save Wood Colony and I am excited to be able to serve on the board of the Farmland Working Group. My passion is landscaping and exterior design and sharing that passion with others.
Lori's term expires in 2024.
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!
Jeani Ferrari, Secretary
Jeani Ferrari has lived in the Central Valley her entire life. She and her husband John farm peaches, almonds, walnuts and sweet potatoes on family farmland in Stanislaus and Merced counties. She served on the Turlock Downtown Revitalization Committee and is currently serving on the Carnegie Arts Center Foundation Endowment Committee. Jeani served on the Yosemite Association Board, as well as the Yosemite Fund Council. 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 merged to become Central Valley Farmland Trust. She was one of three members from Stanislaus County serving on the CVFT board. Jeani is on the Advocacy Committee for the Farmland Working Group.
Jeani's term expires in 2022.
Chance Carrico, Treasurer
Chance Carrico was born and raised in the Central Valley. He was a member of his local 4-H Club for over 10 years which has given him a deep commitment to the agricultural roots of the region. Chance is a graduate of Economic Studies from California State University, Stanislaus and is a CPA. He, his wife, and son live in Stockton.
Chance's term expires in 2025.
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 expires in 2022.
Erica Gravel, Member
Erica Gravel is currently in her second year at Modesto Junior College, studying viticulture with plans to transfer to Fresno State University. Having been raised in agriculture, FFA and 4-H her entire life, Erica understands the weighty importance of farmland conservation in California and believes strongly in the mission of the Farmland Working Group. When not at school, she interns at AgSafe in Modesto, California.
Erica's term expires in 2023.
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 X 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.
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 expires in 2022.
Nick Dokoozlian, Member
Nick Dokoozlian was born in Fresno, CA and raised in Modesto, CA. He comes from a family engrossed in agriculture and viticulture, as he has fond memories of waking up early every Saturday morning to pick grapes with his father.
Over the years of growing up in the Central Valley, Nick has witnessed the importance of our farmland conservation. Nick believes that the Central Valley is not just the agricultural hearth of California, but the world and it is important that we protect our most vital industry.
Nick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and is currently attending the University of Chicago to attain his Masters of Public Policy with a concentration in Water Policy. When he is not studying at school he resides in Modesto.