Friend of the Land — April 2024

We are delighted to recognize Norm Groot as our Friend of the Land for April 2024.

Norm Groot’s journey in agriculture began at a tender age, pulling weeds in his father’s nursery, instilling in him a profound respect for the land and its cultivation. Armed with a degree in Business Accounting and Finance from the University of Southern California, Norm joined the family business as Vice President of Finance. Over 14 years, he played a pivotal role in expanding the business and implementing cutting-edge computer automation systems.

In 1980, Norm’s dedication to agriculture led him to the Orange County Farm Bureau, where he served on the board and later assumed the role of President in the early 1990s. His tenure there marked the beginning of a lifelong commitment to agricultural advocacy. Subsequently, Norm transitioned to a position with Monrovia Growers before serving on the California Farm Bureau Board of Directors from 1993 to 1999, and then again for a second term from 2003 to 2010. Throughout his service, Norm tirelessly championed agricultural issues at both state and national levels, advocating for farmers and ranchers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Norm’s extensive experience in horticulture spans various domains, including finance, technology, logistics, and nursery production planning. His multifaceted expertise uniquely positions him to understand the complex challenges facing California agriculture today. As Executive Director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau since late 2010, Norm continues to be a leading voice for the local agricultural community, advocating for sustainable practices and addressing the diverse needs of growers and processors in the region.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Norm is deeply engaged in community service. He has served as Chair of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce and is actively involved in several other organizations, including the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee and the Hartnell College Ag Business & Tech Institute Advisory Committee. Norm’s commitment to community welfare is further exemplified through his involvement in various boards and councils, including the Transportation Agency of Monterey County’s Oversight Committee and the Central Coast Community Health Care Board.

Norm’s dedication to agriculture and community has not gone unnoticed. He has been honored with prestigious awards, including the Ag Leadership Award from the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Ag Leader Award from the National Steinbeck Center.

A native of Orange County, California, Norm now calls Monterey County home. Alongside his wife Marcha, he enjoys spending time with his family and exploring the natural beauty of Central Oregon. In his leisure, Norm indulges in hobbies such as gardening, golf, and travel, all while maintaining an unwavering commitment to the agricultural sector and the well-being of his community.

Norm Groot’s exemplary leadership, unwavering advocacy, and steadfast commitment to agriculture make him a truly deserving recipient of the April Friend of the Land award. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Norm for his remarkable contributions, which continue to enrich and sustain our agricultural heritage.

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