By Audrey Hill, Feature Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
Growing up a fifth-generation cattle rancher on her family’s cow calf operation in San Diego, Lindsey Mebane received the opportunity to get involved early. Mebane says that “whenever there were twin calves and the mom only wanted one, we took them in as bottle feds.” This was a tradition that started with her older sister Alyson and one that would continue until Lindsey left for college. She started 4-H as early as she could at 9, and later joined her mother’s FFA class in high school where she showed cattle and hogs and even competed in the written competitions.
To attend Cal Poly, SLO, Lindsey left home in San Diego and received her bachelor’s in Agriculture Systems Management, her minor in Agriculture Business and concentration in Livestock Production. After graduation in 2010, Mebane found a position in Bakersfield for Quality Assurance/Quality Control Specialist for Tasteful Selections. At the time, Tasteful Selections was a small potato farm with headquarters in Bakersfield. She came to the Central Valley with some familiarity from moving cattle north from San Diego. “Really the only thing I knew about the area was that it was hot in the summer,” commented Mebane. We had shipped our cattle to the saleyard for years, so it was always a treat to jump in the semi-truck with my dad to make the trip to Bakersfield. We stayed at a Super 8 motel, ate at Sizzler, and got to walk under the Highway 99 to get to the local amusement park called Camelot.”
Moving to the Central Valley started a new chapter of life. The company grew very fast after starting as a Quality Control Specialist, and with it, so did she. She now oversees all Food Safety inside the company and travels to farms across California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah to perform her inspections. She loves the travel and loves that her company is still tight knit, and family owned. Mebane also is highly involved in the Farm Bureau. She just finished up her term as 2021 Young Farmers and Ranchers Chair representing California in the National Farm Bureau.
Mainly the Young Farmers and Ranchers of the Farm Bureau are dedicated to educating and involving younger farmers but also the rest of our community about what agriculture looks like in California and how it operates. Community service and touring agriculture facilities play a major role in this. Mebane loves that she gets to represent the younger generation of agriculture, especially to the rest of our nation. This also opens many traveling doors for her. She recently attended the 2022 American Farm Bureau Convention in Atlanta, Georgia; and in February she will fly to Louisville, Kentucky for the 2022 Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference. “You get to meet so many people from so many walks of life,” she says, and teaching other states about how it’s even possible to farm in California is one of her favorite topics at these national events.
In 2015, she met her husband on a Young Farmers and Ranchers facility tour of his family operation. She says, “We knew each other’s family names for years because they sold and still sell our calves through their saleyard.” Mr. Mebane, also is a 5th generation cattle farmer and the two hit it off immediately. Now they both work here in the Central Valley, and when she’s not working for Tasteful Selections or representing California’s farmers to the nation, the two are working cattle. “Sometimes you don’t eat dinner until 9 at night.” Mebane reflected, “If a fence fails or there’s some emergency, it has to go get fixed. It’s a 24-hour job.”
For Mebane, the bread and butter working in agriculture is, “the people and the legacies,” she says. “It makes me so excited to support the new generation.”
With the new year, Mebane looks to start a family and to increase advocacy for the next generation of farmers and ranchers, in addition to facilitating her potato company’s community involvement.