Kevin Abernathy Turlock, California Director of Regulatory Affairs Milk Producers Council (MPC)
What education are you bringing with you to this position?
I originally went to Modesto Junior College to receive certification in artificial insemination. I was fortunate to be in a breeding class taught by Hal Carlton, a former dairy science instructor at Modesto Junior College. He taught me how to use my abilities to judge cattle.
Subsequently, I received a scholarship to California State University – Fresno to be on its dairy judging team. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal science.
Please describe your agricultural background.
I grew up on a cow-calf operation in Escalon, California. One of my grandfathers was a professional auctioneer.
My other grandfather designed and built smelters for lumberyards in the Sonora area. He was one of the founders of California Blow Pipe, now Hogan Manufacturing in Escalon, California.
The cow-calf operation and the Escalon livestock auction comprised my animal agriculture background. In high school, I worked as a relief milker to pay for a car. I’ve also had my own cow-calf herd.
What territory will you cover?
Central Valley of California
What are your new responsibilities?
I will work with producers and regulatory agencies on rules or laws that are applicable to our membership. Basically, I’m the liaison between the regulatory agencies and our membership.
What previous positions have you held?
After graduation from the University of California – Fresno, I went to work for Golden State Breeders as director of progeny testing until 1984. I then operated my own transportation company for about 11 years.
Afterward, I went to graduate school and in 1997 started working for Brown Equipment Company (BECO). I worked for BECO Automation until 2004, when I jumped into the political side of the industry, working for the California Dairy Campaign (CDC).
From November 2004 until November of this year, I was the executive director at CDC.
What excites you most about working in your new role?
I cherish the relationships that I have been able to develop with regulators. I understand that they have got a job to do, just as producers have a job to do. At MPC, we’ve been able to commingle all of this into a working relationship that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
MPC General Manager Rob Vandenheuvel and I, as a team, can provide the leadership and the advocacy voice on behalf of California producers at an unprecedented level because we complement each other’s abilities.
How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
I thrive in the regulatory part of the political process and in finding ways for producers to be in compliance with regulations. This will not only benefit the producer but also the environment and the industry in general. PD