The San Benito Agricultural Land Trust is governed by a board of directors. The all volunteer board is composed of community leaders who are involved the County’s farming, business and government industries. The board meets once a month, and there is a general membership meeting once a year.

The current directors for the San Benito Agricultural Land Trust are:

Paul Hain, President

Paul F. Hain is a 5th generation California farmer/Rancher in the Tres Pinos area of central California.  Paul is the owner/operator of John Hain & Sons (the family business) and Hain Ranch Organics. He received his B.S. in Pomology from Cal Poly, SLO in 1976 before returning to the ranch to work with his father, uncle, Paul has been active in his community as a member of the local elementary school board and was a volunteer firefighter serving San Benito County for 27 years.  He is also active in, the San Benito Ag Land Trust, Central Coast Ag Water Quality Coalition, and a past director the Community Alliance With Family Farmers. Paul  is a fellow of class 32 of the California Ag Leadership Program. Paul’s organic journey begin in 1993 with the certification of some of his orchard land and now raises organic pastured eggs, organic pastured broilers, and organic walnuts.  The pasturing of chickens in the walnut orchard is an experiment that has been going on for 14 years and has shown benefits to both enterprises.  All aspects of the livestock operations are geared to a stress free environment to produce the highest quality meat and eggs available on the central coast.  This last year the poultry operation was leased to a young couple with the assistance of Farmlink so Paul could spend more time on the walnuts. Paul is married to Leticia and have two grown children and five grandchildren.

Sara Steiner, Secretary

Sara Steiner is a long time resident in Hollister’s Cienega Valley.  Sara’s background in wine production spans over 30 years and she is currently winemaker for Gabilan Wine Company.  She is also the proprietor of San Benito Tea Company, growing and packaging herbal teas for local markets.  Although born and raised in San Francisco, she acquired her rural roots while in college at UC Davis.  Sara values the open space and agriculture that have supported her careers.   Her work with the land trust will help provide essential economic and environmental sustainability to others in our community.

Ron Ross, Treasurer

Ron has been involved in agriculture since his graduation from the University of Florida.  Starting in production agriculture in the San Jaoquion Valley, Ron also worked in agricultural lending and most recently served as the Agricultural Commissioner for San Benito County. From his experiences, Ron recognized the importance of protecting working lands and open space as they contribute to the local economy and the general well-being of the community.  Ron has been involved in the Land Trust since 2004 and is currently serving as the Treasurer.

Dan Dungy, Director

Dan has called San Benito County home since 1993 and has been active with the San Benito County Agricultural Trust for 10 years as a volunteer and a Director.  He appreciates the value of agriculturally productive land; for the economy and for the landscape that witnesses the stewardship of the land by the county’s farmers and ranchers.  Dan retired from California State Parks and lives in Hollister with his wife Nancy, a teacher at Cienega School.  Together they have three grown children.

 

Emily Renzel

Emily Renzel has resided in the Casa de Anza Adobe in San Juan Bautista for 11 years and operates Old Adobe Antiques.  A fourth generation Californian, Emily has a passion for protecting the State’s farms, ranches, and open space.  She has long supported Land Trusts and groups who protect California’s natural heritage.   Emily served 12 years on the Palo Alto City Council and worked hard to protect the Palo Alto Baylands.   The City named a 155-acre wetland park for her in 1992.   Emily served as Secretary on the Board of the Committee for Green Foothills for 10 years.   She also currently serves on the Boards of the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge and the San Juan Bautista Historical Society.  Emily holds a BA in Economics from the College of William and Mary and a J.D. from Golden Gate University.

Zooey Diggory

Zooey Diggory is a resident of San Juan Bautista with a deep love for the agricultural and open space lands of San Benito County. She was raised in Aromas and attended San Juan Elementary School. Upon graduating from college, she worked for a small family-run organic farm in Aromas. There she experienced first-hand the hard work and narrow margins by which farmers make their livelihood, as well as their deep connection with the land. After earning a graduate degree and building her career in the Bay Area, Zooey returned with her family to San Benito County. As a member of the board, Zooey hopes to build the capacity of SBALT to make farming and ranching a viable and thriving livelihood, and to protect open space, so that the heritage, habitats and quality of life in San Benito County are preserved.

Advisory Board Members for the San Benito Agricultural Land Trust

  • Dave Brigantino
  • Michael Brigantino
  • Karminder Brown
  • Sallie Calhoun
  • Christine Breen
  • Mark Gibson
  • Kerry Tobias