Jim Razor had little inkling how much the key agronomic principles he learned 30 years ago in his Fresno State classes on weeds and vegetable crops would serve him every day.
After he graduated with a plant science degree in 1990, he began a career as a pest control adviser and is now vice president for J.G. Boswell Company, an internationally-respected agricultural company.
The newly-appointed Ag One Foundation president currently oversees processing facilities for two of Boswell’s premier products, tomatoes and pima cotton, as well as an edible oil mill, planting seed cleaning and packaging facility. He also manages areas that involve logistics, safety, risk management, workers compensation and environmental affairs.
“I was fortunate to have wonderful instructors like Dr. (Mahlon) Hile, Dr. (Gary) Ritenour and Dean (Dennis) Nef,” Razor said. “They gave me an incredible mix of agricultural perspectives that range from the fields to economics. My job today is always changing, and the innovation, organization and ability to meet deadlines that I learned from my classes have served as a great foundation.”
Born on a small farm near Exeter, Razor’s background mirrors many current students. He transferred from the College of the Sequoias to Fresno State as a junior and worked hard to graduate in three semesters. He took 23 units his final semester so he could find a job and support his young family.
“We had to take out loans to support my education, and I had some scholarships, too,” Razor said. “Ag One’s role is so important to students, through its commitment to supporting scholarships and a wide network of industry ties and partnerships.”
Razor and his company are also connected to the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State through an endowed chair position in the Plant Science Department. Dr. Sharon Benes currently holds the position.
Additionally, the J. G. Boswell Foundation established a permanent fund in memory of longtime company farm manager Dave Cosyns to support the University Agricultural Laboratory. Cosyns graduated from Fresno State in 1971 and was an accomplished farmer and industry member.
The Boswell company and foundation, a founding member of the Pinnacle Society for campus philanthropists and supporters, has contributed more than $2 million to Fresno State.
“It’s great to have so many special bonds with Fresno State,” Razor said. “Getting to meet with the faculty and students confirms that the college still has the same mission today. Nearly half of our agronomy team are Fresno State graduates, including two district managers, and I know they are well prepared for anything.”
Ag One, which was founded in 1979, has raised nearly $26.7 million in endowed funds. In that span, about 4,800 students have been awarded over $7.6 million in scholarships and another $950,000 is projected in 2021-22.
Razor’s first Ag One event in his new role is the annual Ag Boosters BBQ fundraiser, tentatively slated for Sunday, Sept. 12, at the Panoche Creek River Ranch.
As president, Razor succeeds Annie Stuhr, who completed her one-year term on June 30. Other current Ag One Foundation board officers include:
- Stanley Kjar, Jr., vice president (Fresno, Pearson Realty)
- Roger Isom, treasurer (Fresno, California Cotton Ginners/Western Agricultural Processors Association)
- Nick Biscay, secretary (Madera, Stanislaus Farm Supply)
New members on the 23-person board of directors include:
- Jason Baldwin (Kerman, Panoche Creek Packing)
- Fendley Ragland (Fresno, PGIM Real Estate Agricultural Investments)