Western United Dairies – Continuing to provide resources and services for California’s dairy and cattle community, Western United Dairies (WUD) has hired Aubrey Bettencourt as the new Director of Sustainability, a position made possible by the California Cattle Council to benefit all dairy farmers, statewide.
As Director of Sustainability, Bettencourt will support farmers in cultivating a shared vision of sustainability to achieve state and local natural resources goals and economic prosperity for California’s dairies, farmers, and ranchers by developing plans, projects, and programs specifically focusing on watershed health, meeting the direct needs of dairy farmers in maintaining a healthy California milkshed.
Bettencourt’s skillsets will directly assist the industry’s leading environmental and regulatory guru – Paul Sousa, by broadening the industry’s ability to be laser focused on water supply. Bettencourt will work to ensure a strong milkshed remains in areas of the state that are critically over drafted through diversified production goals, exploring, among other things, groundwater banking and land management strategies, and identifying and securing opportunities and additional funding for watershed improvement projects. Bettencourt’s ability to bring diverse stakeholders together to identify and implement collaborative solutions will be key to helping our dairy farmers meet new regulatory and natural challenges, fostering working relationships among multiple interests including affected communities, domestic well users, tribes, the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water, local planning departments, health officials, groundwater sustainability agencies, and disadvantaged communities.
As a fourth generation California farmer, Bettencourt most recently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Water and Science at the Department of the Interior working extensively to bring efficiency and coordination among the federal water community with Bureau of Reclamation, USGS, and other DOI agencies & bureaus, along with USDA, EPA, DOE, DOC AND DOD for delivery of safe and reliable water supplies to the nation. Prior to DOI, Bettencourt served as USDA Farm Service Agency California State Director, where her mission was clear: keep farmers farming through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs to California’s farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners. As executive director of a statewide non– profit, California Water Alliance for nearly ten years, Bettencourt’s understanding of the dynamics and importance of member–focused organizations, developed a network of diverse water leaders statewide bridging the gap between rural and urban, agriculture and environment advocating for water supply reliability for all Californians.
Aubrey is committed to the work of the farmer and the agricultural community, and brings the knowledge, experience, expertise, and collaborative energy it will take to assure a sustainable and reliable dairy industry. Aubrey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.