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Citrus Research Board announces interim president


Last updated 10/25/2018 at 10:48pm

VISALIA – The Citrus Research Board announced that Franco Bernardi will serve as the organization’s interim president and as of Oct. 15, Bernardi will lead daily staff operations and management.

The Citrus Research Board will celebrate its 50th anniversary and continue to invest in solutions to huanglongbing, the deadly citrus disease that has devastated other citrus-growing regions worldwide, the board said.

“We are extremely fortunate to be able to call on one of the leaders of our industry to steer the helm as our search committee looks for a full-time president,” CRB Chairman Dan Dreyer said, who will announce Bernardi’s appointment formally Oct. 10 at the annual California Citrus Conference, which is attended by hundreds of citrus growers, researchers and other industry representatives.

Bernardi held a seat on the board for 27 years, serving as chairman from 1997-1999, Bernardi had chaired a number of committees during his nearly three decades on the board. He also served on the boards of other organizations, such as the Central California Orange Growers Cooperative, California Citrus Advisory Committee, California Citrus Mutual and the California Citrus Quality Council, to name only a few.

Early in Bernardi’s career, he worked at Del Monte Foods in their ag research division and then as a senior research associate for the University of Arizona. For 38 years prior to his retirement, he served in management at a number of citrus operations, including Superior Farming, Paramount Citrus, Sun World, Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Agricultural Capital Management.

Bernardi was originally from Lucca, Italy and has lived Visalia for 28 years. He studied agricultural science at California State Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo. He and his wife Kathy have been married for 52 years and have five children and 11 grandchildren.

The Citrus Research Board administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower-funded and grower-directed program established in 1968 enabling the State’s citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board may be found at

Submitted by the Citrus Research Board.


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