Pereira ag woman award
Colby Pereira receives the 2024 Agricultural Woman of the Year award. (Contributed)

SOLEDAD — Colby Pereira, chief operating officer of Braga Fresh in Soledad, has received the Grower-Shipper Foundation’s 2024 Agricultural Woman of the Year award.

The award honors unique leadership qualities held by women working within the agricultural industry in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. The winner of the award demonstrates a significant contribution to agriculture, is a leader in the community and is an “Ag-Vocate” for agriculture, according to the organization.

Ag Against Hunger, a program of the Grower-Shipper Foundation, honored Pereira at its annual Agricultural Woman of the Year Recognition Luncheon at CRU Winery on April 19.

Pereira has a rich background in family farming and is active in several professional and community organizations, including the Salinas Valley Chapter of California Women for Agriculture, the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and the Monterey County Farm Bureau, of which she currently serves as board president.

“Colby has a rich background in agriculture and is a recognized leader who serves on multiple industry and community boards,” posted Monterey County Farm Bureau on social media, congratulating Pereira on the award.

Pereira participates on the Food Safety, Land Use and Water Use Committees for the Monterey County Farm Bureau and Grower-Shipper Association and the Leafy Green Marketing Agreement Technical Committee. She also serves on the California Leafy Greens Research Board, is an elected director to the Salinas Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency and is elected to the Mission Union School District Board of Trustees.

Pereira ag woman award
Braga Fresh CEO Rod Braga (left) joins Colby Pereira as she is recognized as the Ag Woman of the Year. (Contributed)

Pereira was named the COO of Braga Fresh in January 2023, as the company began its 95th year. She attributes her passion for agriculture to her grandfather, Anthony Costa, a pioneer in the Salinas Valley.

“What you invest in your community, you get back tenfold,” said Pereira in her acceptance speech.

Pereira holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business with a minor in crop science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She and her husband Jeff live where she was born and raised, in Soledad, also home of Braga Fresh and Josie’s Organics.

“Colby is a stalwart champion for South County, agriculture and our rural communities,” said Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez, who attended the Friday luncheon, on social media afterward. “She shared that her strong foundation and belief that you get back ten times what you give have been motivation, and her family remains her inspiration. Congratulations Colby, this is a well-earned and deserved honor.”

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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