An experienced agricultural advocate and executive, Jim Houston, has been appointed administrator of the California Farm Bureau Federation. Houston will succeed Rich Matteis, who will retire at the end of March after serving as CFBF administrator since 2007.
Houston joined CFBF in October 2017 as manager of its Governmental Affairs Division. In January 2018, he assumed additional duties managing the CFBF Legal Services Division and serving as the organization’s administrative counsel. Prior to joining CFBF, Houston worked for six years at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, first as deputy secretary for legislation and public engagement, then as department undersecretary.
“Jim brings a combination of advocacy and governmental experience that makes him uniquely qualified to lead our Farm Bureau staff,” CFBF President Jamie Johansson said. “As our organization celebrates its centennial, Jim is the best person to help guide Farm Bureau into a successful second century of service to California farmers and ranchers.”
Houston is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned a law degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. His professional career also includes work as a legislative staff member and for a Sacramento advocacy firm that represented a variety of agricultural clients.
Following his retirement as administrator, Matteis will continue to serve CFBF as a strategic advisor. His 45-year career in agricultural advocacy includes service as manager of the Santa Clara and Alameda County Farm Bureaus, as a CFBF field representative and, prior to rejoining CFBF, 27 years as chief executive officer of the California Grain and Feed Association, which also provided management services and legislative advocacy for two-dozen other agricultural associations.
“Rich has successfully guided CFBF through a period of significant change and has cemented its role as the state’s premier agricultural advocacy organization,” Johansson said. “We are grateful for his service and pleased to continue benefiting from his expertise.”
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.