Butte Agriculture Foundation, Inc.
Board of Directors



Doug Bentz was born and raised in Butte County. He grew up on a dairy west of Chico where he developed a love for agriculture and served as president of the Chico High School FFA. Bentz continued to work in agriculture while studying agriculture education at California State University, Chico and went on to be the Dean of Career and Technical Education at Butte College. After teaching agriculture for 36 years, Bentz retired and lives in Durham with his wife Lauralee and farms almonds. He also enjoys antique tractors and is very involved in Vintage Iron.

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Nick Bertagna is a 4th generation farmer who was born and raised in Chico, CA. He became involved in 4-H and FFA youth programs throughout elementary and high school. Bertagna attended California State University, Chico where he studied Agriculture Business. Nick has continued his involvement in 4-H as a project leader and eventually became Butte County’s 4-H Representative. He is a member of the Butte County UCCE Farm Home & 4-H Support Group, a member of the Silver Dollar Fair Livestock committee, and helps in the UC Cooperative Extension. Today, Nick and his wife, Gail, own and operate Creekside Farms and help their son, Jimmy, farm almonds and walnuts.



John Blacklock was born and raised in Solano County on a fourth generation family farm.  He joined 4-H where he showed lambs and steers.  John attended UC Santa Barbara where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Geology and later received an M.B.A. from San Jose State University after serving two years in the US Army.  He was Butte County Chief Administrative Officer from 1992 until his retirement in 2001.  John and his wife Kathleen first came to Butte County in 1983 while John working as District Chief of Staff for Senator Jim Nielsen.  He has always remembered his farm roots and has been a long-time member of the Butte County Farm Bureau.  John has been on the Board of Directors of the Silver Dollar Fair for 25 years and currently serves on the Butte-Glenn Community College Board of Trustees. 

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Karen Gundersen was born and raised on the coast in Arcata, California. Growing up, Karen raised steers and chickens. She graduated Humboldt State University with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and played collegiate soccer. Karen and her husband now reside in Gerber, California where they have horses, dogs and goats. Karen works in Grower Relations at Andersen & Sons Shelling where she also handles social media, marketing and PR. In her free time, Karen dedicates herself as a member of the American Endurance Ride Conference competing in multi-day events, completing both the Tevis Cup and Virginia City 100 in 2017. When she is not riding horses, Karen enjoys volunteering to coach riding lessons for all ages and spending time outside with family and friends.



Richard Price was born and raised in Eureka California where he got involved in agriculture in 4-H at an early age. His projects included beef, entomology and vegetable gardening and was even a 4-H All Star. Price relocated to  Butte County 28 years ago where he served as the Butte County Agriculture Commissioner and recently retired in 2015. Since coming to Butte County, price has been very active in the community and in his church. He is on the Sacramento River Forum Board of Directors, an Associate Faculty Member of the Butte College Agriculture Department, a tour guide for the Farm City Celebration, member of the Butte County Farm Bureau, serves in his church ministries, including choir and conducting church services at a convalescent home.



 Toni Scott is from Crescent City, California where she found her interest in agriculture through 4-H and FFA. Toni attended California State University, Chico where she studied political science and agriculture business. She has been a Butte County resident for 14 year now and is very active in the local community including sitting on the Chico Planning Commission. Toni is a principal in a business consulting firm where she uses her agriculture knowledge and proficient writing skills to write competitive grant proposals for  local agriculture companies.



Carrie Vanella was born and raised in Butte County. She grew up in a farming family and continues to farm with her husband, Ryan, in Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties. She attended University of California, Davis for her undergraduate studies, but quickly returned to Chico where she is involved in the California Women for Agriculture and was an instructor in the Butte College Ag Department. Carrie and Ryan have three young children and she enjoys volunteering at their school and in the community. They love to travel and recently visited China where they were able to take a tour of a nut processing facility.