The Trustee Council (Council) is comprised of leaders who advise and support the Central Valley Farmland Trust (CVFT) staff and board of directors. The Council works to further the goals and mission of CVFT as ambassadors to the public in the communities in which we serve.
Council members work to broaden CVFT’s base of support and contacts in order to strengthen partnerships and develop relationships within key communities and with potential contributors. When the opportunity presents itself, members educate the general public on the CVFT and the benefits of preserving agricultural land. Council members also make an annual financial contribution to CVFT.
Trustees are selected based on their demonstrated interest in farmland conservation, contacts and influence within the Central Valley leadership community, and willingness to support CVFT’s programs, activities and land acquisition projects.
Ed Nisho: Ed and his wife Fran have been residents of Roseville since 1977. He recently retired from his position as vice president and lead relationship manager in CoBank’s Regional Agribusiness Banking Group. His career with CoBank and its predecessors spanned 41 years. Working from Sacramento, CA, he was responsible for managing several account relationships with customers located in California and other western states. He recently chaired the bank’s Fruit, Nut and Vegetable Center of Excellence.
Ed began his career with the Banks for Cooperatives (BCs) in 1972, when he joined the Berkeley BC as a business analyst working in credit analysis and loan servicing. He also spent two years working as assistant treasurer for the bank. The BCs are predecessor banks to CoBank. CoBank is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System.
Ed was active in the National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives serving as a local and later national director from 1988-2001 and as national president in 1999-2000. He served as a board member of the Agricultural Council of California, the Agricultural Cooperative Council of Oregon and the Utah Council of Farmer Cooperatives. In 2009 he received the Cooperative Leader Award for service to cooperatives and their farmer owners from the Agricultural Council of California, and in 2013 he received the Agriculturalist of the Year award from the California State Fair.
A native of California, he received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from UCLA.
George Gomes: George was named administrator of the California Farm Bureau Federation, California’s largest Farmer-based organization in September 1987. Previously, he served as the Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, having been appointed by Governor Deukmejian in February 1983. He served as Undersecretary of Agriculture in the Schwarzenegger administration in 2007 and 2008.
Born and raised in Gustine, California, he began his agricultural career by operating the family dairy and farmed forage crops. He attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness Management (1966) and a master’s degree in Agricultural Education (1967).
George’s professional career began as an Associate Professor at Cal Poly, where he taught Agricultural Management. He later served as manager of Napa County Fair before joining the California Department of Food & Agriculture’s Division of Fairs and Expositions.
As a widely recognized leader within California’s agriculture industry, George received the Agriculturist of the Year award from the California Exposition and State Fair in 2005. He was Chair of California FFA Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of the California Fair Services Authority and Keep California Beautiful and is an active member of the East Sacramento Rotary Club. He has served as a member of the State Fair Advisory Committee; Chair of the Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo Agriculture Advisory Committee. He currently serves on the Farm Bureau Scholarship Board.
George and his wife, Ella, have two children, George Jr., and Gina and three grandchildren. Isabella, Luke and Natalie. As time allows, George can be found hunting, fishing, playing golf, or helping his family of five sisters and seven brothers.
Paul J. Wenger: Paul Wenger was elected president of the California Farm Bureau Federation in December 2009 and was re-elected to his fourth term in 2015. Wenger, who farms in Modesto, became a statewide officer in 1997 when he was elected Second Vice President. He was elected First Vice President in 2005. He also served as a member of the CFBF Board of Directors and chaired the CFBF Water Advisory Committee and the Board Water Development Task Force. He is a former President of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. In January 2011, he was elected to the American Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors and was re-elected in 2013.
A third-generation farmer, Wenger farms almonds and walnuts on the family farm, which includes property purchased by his grandfather in 1910. His farming operations also include sharecropping, custom farm work and walnut hulling. He has expanded his operation to include processing and marketing of almonds and walnuts through his Wood Colony Nut Company, to provide an opportunity for the fourth generation of the family to vertically integrate into the family farming operation.
Wenger attended Modesto Junior College before transferring to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he earned a degree in animal science.
Wenger has been active in community affairs, serving on the Salida Volunteer Fire Department, the Hart-Ransom School Board of Trustees, and the Stanislaus Land Trust and Agricultural Pavilion Boards.
He and his wife, Deborah, have three sons and two grandchildren.