Meet Mariana Lizeth González Sánchez
The future of agriculture is bright when looking at young people like Mariana Lizeth González Sánchez, a current member of the National Mango Board. With nearly 8 years’ experience in the mango industry, Sanchez is the manager of exports at EB International. In her role, Sanchez is responsible for purchasing, logistics, exporting and marketing of mangos.
A National Mango Board member since 2012, Sanchez says that her time on the board has been a major stepping stone for her career. She cherishes the opportunity to express her views with members from all segments of the industry – representing various positions as importers, distributors, and producers. After each meeting, she comes back with a clearer and more complete vision of the industry.
When looking at the future of the mango industry, Mariana believes that the unique characteristics and versatility of mangos will enable it to be one of the most consumed fruits. Every day consumers are more demanding in terms of quality and presentation of mangos which pressures the market to deliver high quality fruit. This in turn will cause consumers to demand mangos in many different ways, which will help the industry showcase that mangos are not a seasonal fruit but available all year long.
As one of the younger members on the board, Sanchez encourages other young people to seek a position on one of the boards. She acknowledges that is a lot of work but feels it’s important to have everyone included in the conversation when it comes to setting industry goals. She feels it is especially important for younger people to join the industry and participate on the boards since the average age of our nation’s farmers is increasing.
Meet Sarah Frey-Talley
Sarah Frey-Talley has been an entrepreneur from the time she was eight years old. She grew up on a small 100- acre farm in southern Illinois, where she and her mother would buy watermelons from local farmers and then go store-to-store, with a precocious eight-year-old as the frontline sales person, making deliveries to local grocers during the summer. Fast forward several years and Frey-Talley is now an accomplished businesswoman who owns several multimillion dollar enterprises including farming, property management, and transportation-logistics. She has operations located in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia.
Frey-Talley is the sole owner of Frey Farms, a certified Women’s Business Enterprise that prides itself on bringing local grower values to produce distribution. Frey Farms specializes in the growing, packing, and shipping of fresh market produce including cantaloupes and watermelons, but is best known as the nation’s largest pumpkin grower with Jack O’ Lanterns, whites, pinks, miniatures, and tigers, and a full line of ornamental gourds and squash.
Always the entrepreneur, at age 16, Frey-Talley bought a truck and took over the distribution. It wasn’t long before she had grown the client list from 12 stores to more than 150. Using the proceeds from sales to re-invest and buy farmland, Frey-Talley opened Frey Farms when she was only 17 years old. As her business grew, her brothers, Leonard, Harley, John, and Ted, returned home to work with their younger sister, where they remain today. Sarah’s love of meeting people, selling, and developing new ideas is the driving force behind Frey Farms.
Recognizing the importance of having enough talented labor to harvest the nation’s crops, Frey-Talley is a consensus seeker and works in her spare time to educate lawmakers about the importance of an adequate labor supply for agriculture.