The California Farmland Trust (CFT) is pleased to announce Katie Otto as their new Development and Operations Director. She joins the CFT team after 12 years with the California FFA Foundation (Foundation) and brings her deep roots and experience with agriculture, fundraising and finance management to the organization.
A native of Galt, Ms. Otto spent her early years growing up on her family’s vineyard and thus began her love of the farming way of life and the values it instilled in her. Her agricultural career started after graduating with an Ag Business Degree from Fresno State University. Ms. Otto gained momentum in the ag industry after working with organizations like The Great Valley Center and the California Cattlemen’s Association.
When asked about her career highlight, Katie referenced the success of the Foundation’s Giving Tuesday campaign because of the immediate impact it had on FFA Students. “The FFA jacket is symbolic for the organization and I wanted each chapter to be represented at our 2017 Gala, our signature event. However, these jackets are a financial burden for many students,” said Otto. “To ensure each student had a jacket, we raised the funds necessary to provide jackets for all students from each chapter at the event.” This, along with having Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs serve as the Foundation’s gala keynote speaker made an impressive impact on their Giving Tuesday campaign. Coupling these achievements with developing a relationship with Blue Diamond Growers to expand the campaign in recent years, has aided in ensuring that every FFA member could have a blue corduroy jacket of their own.
“Katie has a passion for agriculture and the meaningful work of non-profits in the industry,” said Charlotte Mitchell, executive director. “She has a keen understanding of the challenges that face agriculture including the protection of farmland. Katie will be an important part of the California Farmland Trust team to continue our mission of protecting these important working landscapes.”
Ms. Otto envisions a future for CFT that brings together a wide array of the public, landowners, and partners who make farmland conservation a priority. “I did not set out to be a fundraiser, but I have realized the general obligation I feel to either give back to or volunteer for the efforts that make this world better and it’s an opportunity I can offer others. This effort is about sharing and storytelling and building relationships – these come easy to me because I am passionate about this work and it’s part of who I am.”
“We are excited and honored to have Katie onboard to direct our fund development efforts and assist in guiding the organization,” said Mitchell.
Welcome Katie to the team by sending her a welcome email.