PARTNERS

By Craig W. Anderson

Amy Blagg has been named the Agribusiness Person of the Year by the Lodi District Chamber of Commerce.

“Amy deserves this award, and more, for the tireless hours she commits to our community,” said Rebecca Towell, the chamber’s Agribusiness Committee chair. “Always humble and ready to lend a hand, Amy displays what makes our agricultural community so rich.”

Blagg, the executive director for the Lodi District Grape Growers Association, said, “Receiving this award is definitely very humbling being from Lodi and in the wine grape industry to join this list of honorees with so many Lodi area agricultural legends and community leaders. Many are my personal mentors, including my dad (Joe Valente).”

Blagg’s activities

A Lodi native, Blagg has been active in different agricultural organizations for virtually her entire life. She received a degree in agricultural business from Fresno State and upon graduation went to work for the California Fig Advisory Board and Sacramento County Farm Bureau. She returned to Lodi in 2008 to assume executive directorship of LDGGA where she is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the association, including advocacy, communication, educational programming, membership and event planning.

She also serves on the San Joaquin Farm Bureau’s board of directors, is a committee chair, sits on the Lodi Wine Grape Commission Research and Education Committee, and is a member and past chair of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce agribusiness committee. Blagg, and her husband Tyler, have been involved in the San Joaquin Young Farmers & Ranchers and she has served in a variety of leadership roles including committee chair. In 2018, the duo was national finalists for the American Farm Bureau YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award.

“It’s good to work with good people in my hometown,” she said. “The leadership that comes out of Lodi … amazing.”

Blagg family and farm

Amy and Tyler have three sons – Nathan, Henry and Oliver – and they operate Blagg Family Farms which includes wine grapes, dairy cattle and hay. Blagg is also a project leader for the Tokay Colony 4H Club and a member of the Today High School ag advisory committee and she is an officer for Lockeford School PTA and is on the Little Methodist Preschool board.

It’s in their genes

“Belonging to different organizations involves our entire family,” she said. “My brother Gary and I got the service gene from our parents.”

She said, “What we do is far more than just our ‘jobs.’ We’re passionate about agriculture and the vital role it plays for so many families. It allows us to create something we can pass on to future generations. Tyler and I well understand what it takes for a young farmer to get started and be successful.” Tyler is also a real estate agent with Petersen & Company.

Industry issues

Among the important issues facing wine grape growers, she said, is a slower market, increased labor costs, the 40 hour work week, an ever-increasing minimum wage and water. “Groundwater use, unimpaired flows, surface water use and water rights are issues we’re dealing with.”

With Amy Blagg at the helm, the Lodi District Grape Growers Association looks ready to deal with these and future challenges.