Agriculture

Foster Farms names new CEO. He has worked at the Livingston-based company since 1996

Dan Huber is the new chief executive officer at Foster Farms, the Livingston, California, poultry company announced on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
Dan Huber is the new chief executive officer at Foster Farms, the Livingston, California, poultry company announced on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Foster Farms

Foster Farms announced a new chief executive officer Wednesday: Dan Huber, who has been with the Livingston-based poultry company since 1996.

A news release said previous CEO Laura Flanagan “resigned to pursue other opportunities.” A spokeswoman said Foster Farms would not comment further.

Huber, 53, most recently served as chief operating officer at Foster Farms. It employs about 12,000 people in turkey processing in Turlock and at chicken plants in Livingston, Fresno, Porterville, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana and Alabama.

“Dan is uniquely qualified to lead Foster Farms,” board chairman Terry Martin said in the release. “He brings over 23 years of agribusiness, supply chain, food production, food safety and branded sales management experience to this position. His depth of expertise and familiarity with Foster Farms’ business and community are strengths that will drive the company into the future.”

Flanagan had been CEO since August 2016, when she succeeded Ron Foster, a grandson of founders Max and Verda Foster.

“We thank Laura for her many contributions to Foster Farms and wish her the best in her future endeavors,” Martin said.

Foster Farms started on a ranch west of Waterford in 1939 and has grown into the top-selling poultry brand in the West. It is one of the largest employers in Stanislaus and Merced counties.

Huber’s appointment comes amid speculation, based on a CNBC report, that family-owned Foster Farms was in talks about a possible sale to meat industry giant Tyson Foods. Both companies declined to comment at length to The Modesto Bee on the report, which was based on unnamed sources.

The company last week announced an expansion of the already massive Livingston plant, but details were not available.

Huber worked for Oscar Mayer and Kraft Foods before joining Foster Farms. He has served on industry boards that include the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation. He has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.
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