Robert Walch For The Salinas Californian
April Mackie, director of Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance for RAMCO Enterprises, advises women who wish to succeed in the ag industry to have an open mind and be flexible so they can seize the opportunities that are available.
She says she tells young women just beginning their careers, “I’ll bet you a hundred dollars that what you will be doing today is not what you’ll be doing in the future.”
Mackie’s own career offers a good illustration of how “keeping your options open,” as she counsels others, can eventually pay high dividends.
As a youngster Mackie says she was heavily engaged in the FAA program, raised her own livestock and worked for a local veterinarian. She decided to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, to pursue that interest in animals.
Some nasty science courses derailed her aspirations to be a veterinarian, so Mackie decided to change her focus and get a minor in ag business. That led to staying at Cal Poly to get a master’s degree as well.
“That’s when I realized I really wanted to do something on the policy side of the ag industry,” she said. “I want to be part of helping growers comply with regulations and also help develop these policies.”
Since she focused quite a bit on water policy upon graduation, Mackie took a position with the Kern County Water Agency for a year. She then moved to the Central Coast in 2005 to join the Monterey County Farm Bureau where she focused on water quality issues.