The president of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation said Friday that it could be as long as six months before a replacement for outgoing executive director Russ Matthews is found.
Matthews, who held the position since 1997 and had been with the farm bureau since 1993, announced his retirement on Thursday. Farm bureau president Kenny Watkins said he and the rest of the farm bureau's officers will begin a search to replace Matthews after reworking the position's job description.
Former farm bureau President Kevin Fondse will take some of Matthews' duties on an interim basis, Watkins said. Others involved in the organization will also take on additional responsibilities while the search for a replacement is held.
"The officers and staff are stepping up to fulfill all their obligations and the needs of their members," Watkins said. "I'm very confident that hopefully the general public won't be able to see any difference between the operations now and the way they were before."
The San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation has more than 5,000 member families across the county. It represents agricultural landowners and businesses in a range of advocacy services.
The executive director position covers everything from personnel and office management to acting as a figurehead for the organization. Watkins said Matthews announcement on Thursday took him by surprise.
In a statement released on Thursday, Matthews called his involvement with the farm bureau a "tremendous opportunity," but said he wanted to take his career in another direction.
"I'm taking these steps to allow myself to investigate new opportunities and challenges in my career both in the area and abroad," Matthews said in the statement.
It could take anywhere from one to six months before a replacement is found, Watkins said.
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