David Salazar, who grew up on a 3,000-acre California vineyard and was an FFA and 4-H member in his youth, has been hired by AGDAILY as its 2024 Diversity In Agriculture intern. The internship is a collaboration between AGDAILY and American Farmland Trust, with the goal of nurturing diverse voices in the ag communications industry and reflecting the many layers of American farmers and ranchers.
This is the third year of the internship program, and Salazar will be a welcome addition to this initiative, which has helped to normalize industry discussions around race and other diverse communities in our rural areas.
Salazar earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from California State University, Fresno, and has a lifetime of experience in viticulture, including as a winemaker and production manager. He owns Reclamación Wine, a mission-driven company that sources grapes from vineyards that prioritize fair labor practices and sustainable farming methods, and educates customers on the importance of supporting marginalized communities in the wine industry.
“Diversity in agriculture is important to me because it opens doors for future generations of farmers, showing them that success is achievable even in an industry with a history of limited representation,” said Salazar, who is of Mexican heritage. “It’s also about recognizing and appreciating everyone’s contributions, ensuring that every individual, regardless of their background, receives the acknowledgment they’ve earned in the farming world.”
While Salazar had wine experience in far-off places such as New Zealand, the bulk of his agricultural background is in California. Most notably, Salazar spent nearly two years working at Star Wars creator George Lucas’ Skywalker Vineyards, serving as the vineyard and production manager, helping to reduce operating costs and improve water consumption efficiency.
This extensive industry experience will be a valuable way for Salazar to connect with readers and, throughout the 2024 calendar year, accurately convey the issues diverse communities in agriculture face.
“I aim to spotlight the often-overlooked voices in the industry, not only those physically harvesting fruits and vegetables but also the underrepresented individuals making significant contributions,” he said.
AGDAILY’s efforts to amplify diversity in agriculture in recent years have manifested themselves through its industry-defining exploration of race and agriculture and through other pieces that have been written about race and minority farmers. Past student leaders of the National FFA Organization and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences have made valuable regular contributions in this space, and AGDAILY has highlighted other demographics that the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies as “Historically Underserved Farmers & Ranchers” — including beginning farmers and veteran farmers, as well as women farmers.
Ryan Tipps is the founder and managing editor of AGDAILY. The Indiana native has a master’s degree in Agriculture and Life Sciences from Virginia Tech and has covered the food and farming industries at the state and national levels since 2011.