A Special Thank You to Scott Horsfall: California LGMA CEO from 2007- 2021
March 29, 2021|
As the founding Board members of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement finished the daunting task of establishing this unique food safety program, they began to consider who might run it. They didn’t have to look far before they found someone perfect for the job -- Scott Horsfall.
- When Scott interviewed for the job in 2007, it took quite a bit of courage because it was a leap of faith. The LGMA was a program that was under a great deal of scrutiny. It was under the microscope. It was controversial. It was contentious. It was blazing a new path. It was all those things and Scott stepped up and said – Hey, I’ll take this on! And honestly, he was the right man for the job. –Joe Pezzini, first LGMA Board Chairman
The LGMA wasn’t the first program Scott is credited with getting off the ground. With a degree in Advertising/Communications from Brigham Young University, Scott was working at an advertising agency in Salt Lake City when he learned of an opening at the California Table Grape Commission in Fresno, CA. Bruce Obbink, then president of the Commission, hired Scott as his assistant and introduced him to the world of California agriculture. Soon after, Scott was charged with launching the table grape industry’s first International Marketing Program using funds from the newly created federal Market Access Program. It was a success.
Along the way, Scott earned a master’s degree in International Relations from California State University, Fresno and in 1998 he became President of the California Kiwifruit Commission. But in 2003, he found himself on the ground floor of a brand-new program created to promote California Grown ag products under the Schwarzenegger Administration. Scott served as CEO of the Buy California Marketing Agreement from 2003 to 2006 where he oversaw marketing efforts that introduced the iconic CA Grown license plate logo and a television advertising campaign that suggested we all “Be Californian. Buy California Grown.”
For a brief time following his California Grown experience, Scott went back to his roots as an ‘ad guy’ at the Mering Carson agency in Sacramento. But the lure of another new venture in agriculture was too great and Scott soon found himself at the helm of the LGMA. He set out right away to help the California leafy greens industry which was recovering from damage created by a 2006 e. coli outbreak linked to spinach. This program was so new and different that much of his early years with the organization was spent explaining what the LGMA is and what it does. Today, everyone in the produce industry knows these four letters.
- I don’t think we could have found a better guy. Scott was so organized. He knew the regulatory system of the state and federal governments. He built a great rapport with the FDA, CDC and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Not only was he good at those things, but he ran great meetings and Scott built a hell of a staff. He made this organization great. – Steve Church, former LGMA Board Chairman
Scott was a tireless advocate for food safety and the leafy greens industry. He spent thousands of hours in meetings to ensure required LGMA food safety practices are science-based and auditable and that stakeholders including retail and foodservice buyers, government regulators, legislators, media and consumers understand the value of the LGMA and its system of frequent government audits to verify food safety practices are in place on leafy greens farms.
In his role as CEO, Scott has testified before Congress on multiple occasions, hosted hundreds of visitors on leafy greens farms to show them firsthand how the LGMA operates, he was interviewed by countless reporters and was grilled on the Dr. Oz Show.
By his own account, one of the most gratifying accomplishments of the LGMA under his watch is the relationship built with STOP Foodborne Illness, an organization made up of survivors of foodborne illness and their families.
- By bringing people impacted by foodborne illness together with growers, we were able to forge a bond that reinforces why food safety is so important. We were able to springboard from that to create a training video we’ve used extensively. This has become a really positive relationship. – Scott Horsfall, former CEO, LGMA
As part of a tribute during the most recent LGMA Board meeting, Scott was presented with the LGMA’s ‘Golden Checkmark Award’ in recognition of his many years of service to the leafy greens industry. Past recipients of this award include Governor Schwarzenegger, Joe Pezzini and Tim York, the LGMA’s new CEO.
Additionally, a proclamation recognizing Scott’s career from California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross was presented during the meeting and, in December, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) delivered a speech honoring Scott on the House of Representatives floor in Washington DC. All well-deserved accolades.
In his retirement, Scott is relaxing at his new home in Allyn, WA that sits beside Lake Anderson and a 27-hole golf course. He plans to enjoy life with his wife Vickie and frequent visits from his sons Ryan, 31, and James, 29.
- I’m appreciative of the mentorship Scott has provided me and the leadership he has provided for the leafy greens community and for our agriculture industry. Best of luck to you in your retirement, Scott. We’ll be talking! – Dan Sutton, current LGMA Board Chairman