CDFA environmental scientist joins national young Ag leaders program


Emily Zakowski

CDFA environmental scientist Emily Zakowski, who works in the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis, has been named a 2020-2021 cohort for the Farm Foundation’s Young Agri-Food Leaders and Young Farmer Accelerator programs.

Each of these new programs was established to engage and connect outstanding young leaders in agriculture from across the country, and the programs arise from Farm Foundation’s vision to build a future for farmers, communities, and the world.



The Young Agri-Food Leaders Network is comprised of 10 highly accomplished young leaders in the agri-food and agri-business sector selected to participate in a year-long series of interactive learning and networking experiences, focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the food and agriculture value chain. This program aims to help young professionals build a strong, enduring network of peers in business, farming and government through sponsored attendance at events, virtual conversations, and participation in exclusive learning and networking opportunities.

The cohorts are:

Andrew Uden, Lincoln, Nebraska: Co-Founder and President, AgVision International

Emily Hennessee, Washington, DC: Policy Coordinator, The Good Food Institute

Emily Zakowski, Sacramento, California: Environmental Scientist, California Department of Food and Agriculture

Erin FitzPatrick, St. Louis, Missouri: Vice President, Rabo Agrifinance

Fabiola Perez, Moline, Illinois: High Value Crop Specialist, John Deere

Michael Zorger, Washington, DC: Senior Associate, The Cohen Group

Nicole Ledoux, Boston, Massachusetts: Co-Founder and CEO, 88 Acres

Stephanie Westhelle, Washington, DC: Development Manager, Sustainability & Partnerships, Fairtrade America

Sylvester Miller, II, Memphis, Tennessee: Sr. Supply Chain Program Manager, Indigo Ag

Tristan Hudak, Sacramento, California: Vice President, Ag BioTech Inc. and Director of New Business Development, Ag Ploutos, Co. Ltd.



“The entire Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis team and I are very proud of Emily on becoming a Farm Foundation fellow,” said Dr. John Steggall, who manages the office at CDFA. “She is going to learn a lot of skills, including leadership skills, that are not taught in the classroom and that will benefit her greatly in her career and at CDFA”.

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