Harris Farms names a new CEO. He’s already got strong ties to the Coalinga company

James Beecher, president of Farming D Logistical Support and Beecher/Ryan Harvesting in Five Points, is the new president/CEO of Harris Farms Inc.

Beecher’s apppointment was announced Friday by John Harris, chairman of Harris Farms. Beecher’s appointment comes about two months after Harris Farms sold its well-known beef operations, Harris Ranch Beef Company, to Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford.

Beecher and Harris have known each other for years, Harris, said. Beecher has been a member of the Harris Farms board of directors since January 2016. “Jim’s appointment to this critical role heralds the start of a new chapter in our company’s history,” Harris said. “Jim is the right person at the right time to lead us for many years to come and I look forward to exciting times ahead.”

Beecher, 55, will formally take on his new role this summer. “I’ve known John Harris for as long as I can remember and I have great respect for him and his outstanding team,” Beecher said.

In addition to his work with Farming D, Beecher’s professional profile on LinkedIn indicates he has also been a partner in Los Gatos Tomato Products – a partnership that also involves Harris Farms and other prominent Fresno County farming families – since 1992. He served a two-year term as president of the World Processing Tomato Council from 2010 to 2012.

At the time of the beef company sale, it was announced that Harris Ranch Beef chairman Dave Wood would remain as the president of Harris Farms.

Friday’s statement by Harris said that Wood will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors as vice chairman but also will focus on his own agricultural interests. “Dave has been by my side for more than 50 years at Harris Farms,” Harris said, “and I’m pleased and grateful that he will continue to serve on our board.”

While the sale of the Harris Ranch beef operations – including a processing plant in Selma and a feedlot in Coalinga – caught some industry observers by surprise, other Harris Farms operations were not included in the deal. Those include the popular Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant off Interstate 5 near Coalinga and Harris Farms’ horse division as well as farming operations for a range of crops including nuts, vegetables, citrus and grapes.

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Lifelong Valley resident Tim Sheehan has worked in the Valley as a reporter and editor since 1986, and has been at The Fresno Bee since 1998. He is currently The Bee’s data reporter and covers California’s high-speed rail project and other transportation issues. He grew up in Madera, has a journalism degree from Fresno State and a master’s degree in leadership studies from Fresno Pacific University.