Board of Directors

EMRCD is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of local landowners. The EMRCD board members collaborate with private and public landowners to address natural resource concerns on their property utilizing Best Management Practices (BMP’s) to enhance conservation awareness in the community. Click the following link to view the Resource Conservation District Guidebook volume 1. A guide to district operations and management.

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Jean Okuye


Learn More about Jean's Farm

Jean Okuye and family took over the Okuye Farm in Livingston in 1980.  Since that time Jean has been involved in protecting farmland, putting the farm in the Williamson Act and establishing an easement which the California  Farmland Trust monitors to make sure the land stays in farming for perpetuity.

She also is a charter member of Valley Land Alliance,  a board member of Merced County Farm Bureau and participates on the advisory committee for Merced County Association of Governments.

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Joe Melo

Vice President


Shirish Shah

Board Secretary

Shirish Shah has been involved in agriculture since 2007.  What began as a hobby evolved into a passion for nurturing the environment. Prior to farming, Shirish worked as a material engineer in the semiconductor and solar industries for 20+ years with 5 awarded patents. Shirish has an M.S. in Chemistry from San Jose State University.  Conserving resources and maintaining nature's equilibrium is Shirish’s main priority.  

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Aaron Wentzel 

Board Treasurer

Aaron Wentzel comes from a family of beekeepers active in Merced County for four generations.  He grew up on property near the Merced River and now pastures animals there on land that was previously devoted entirely to walnut production.  Diversifying our farm systems while retaining some wild space for native plants and animals has always been one of his primary interests.

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Bob Bliss has been a member of the EMRCD board since 1967. Throughout the years he has found membership on the board to be a rewarding and positive experience. 

Bob Bliss

Trustees Director