California Prune Board Announces 2020-2022 Officers and Board Members

Industry Veteran and President of Mariani Packing, George Sousa Jr., Elected to Serve as Board Chair

ROSEVILLE, CALIF. – October 2, 2020 – The California Prune Board (CPB) is pleased to announce its officers and board members for the 2020-2022 term. Certified by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the CPB officers are:

  • Chair: George Sousa Jr., President of Mariani Packing Co., Inc., Vacaville, Calif. (newly elected)
  • Vice Chair: John Taylor, Vice President of Taylor Brothers Farms, Yuba City, Calif. (newly elected)
  • Secretary: Dan Bozzo, Triple B Ranch, Gridley, Calif. (re-elected)
  • Treasurer: Rajeev Davit, Davit Ranches, Yuba City, Calif. (re-elected)

“My family has been in the California prune business since 1906 when the Silicon Valley was covered in prune orchards. The leadership of the California Prune Board has never been more strategic and focused as it is today, and I’m looking forward to stepping into this role,” said George Sousa, Jr., President of Mariani Packing Co., Inc. “California Prune growers and processors – like all involved with California agriculture – have experienced a lot of transition over the past few years and the prune business has certainly been impacted. My fellow officers and board members are committed to working together to sustain the future of our industry.”

The newly seated board will serve through May 2022. The board elections come on the heels of a successful public hearing earlier this year that authorized the CPB to continue for another five years through July 2025 – without the need for an industry referendum.

“The California Prune industry – like the premium fruit we produce – has shown a lot of resiliency,” said Donn Zea, Executive Director of the California Prune Board. “We have very dedicated leadership and we’re grateful to welcome new talents and perspectives as we continue our work in leading the world in premium prune production.”

The board will focus on advancing the key CPB priority areas that have been determined with input from numerous industry members and the executive committee. Focus areas include:

  • Nutrition research
  • Trade policy and market support
  • Industry unification
  • Production research
  • Global visibility expansion for California Prunes

“Our priorities are clear, and our new board is at-the-ready to unite growers and processors to drive research and promotions that support the California Prune industry,” said Zea. “As we look ahead and stay agile in a changing environment, we are optimistic about creating a world that is enthusiastic about California Prunes.”

California Prune Board membership is composed of 22-member board seats that are elected by the industry, organized by seven districts and a non-industry public member. The CPB officers are selected by the newly seated board members for their leadership roles.

California is the world’s largest producer of prunes providing about 40 percent of the world’s supply and more than 90% of the U.S. supply. Today, there are more than 40,000 bearing acres of California Prune orchards concentrated in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.

For the term June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2022

Independent Producer – Members
Mike Vereschagin
Pete Righero
Sandra Mitchell
David Wohletz
Dan Bozzo
Ranvir Singh
Nick Cubre
Matt BozzoIndependent Processor – Members
George Sousa (Mariani)
Jaswant Bains (Sacramento Packing)
John Friend (Wilbur Packing)
John Taylor (Taylor Bros. Farms)

Co-op Producer – Members
Bob Amarel
Rajeev Davit
Phillip Filter
Brendon Flynn
Dave Loquaci
Joe Turkovich

Co-op Processor – Members

Ana KleinDane Lance
Brad SchulerPublic – Member
Maxwell Norton
Independent Producer – Floating Alternates
Curt Eller
Joe Mitchell
David WatersIndependent Processor – Alternates
Steve Sousa (Mariani)
Satpaul S. Bains (Sacramento Packing)
Richard Wilbur (Wilbur Packing)
Sekul Spaich (Cal Pack)Co-op Producer – Floating Alternates
James Strong
Gary Thiara
Scott Workman

Co-op Processor – Alternates
Jeff McLemore
Stephanie Harralson
Harold Upton


Created in 1952, The California Prune Board aims to amplify the premium positioning and top-of-mind awareness of California Prunes through advertising, public relations, promotion, nutrition research, crop management and sustainability research, and issues management. The California Prune Board represents approximately 800 prune growers and 28 prune, juice, and ingredient handlers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture.

Kiaran Locy, Dir. of Brand & Industry Communication
California Prune Board