Agriculture · Business · Fresno

New CEO tapped to lead Harris Farms

Harris Farms, Inc., the farming and hospitality firm that operates the historic Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant near Coalinga, Calif., has a new chief.

Wednesday, Harris Farms chairman John C. Harris announced Darren Filkins would take the helm as Chief Executive Officer of the firm.

He succeeds Jim Beecher, a board member of Harris Farms, who was tapped by Harris to serve as CEO and President of the company.

In April 2019, Harris Farms sold its noted cattle division and “Harris Ranch Beef” branding to Hanford-based meat packer Central Valley Meat Company.

Since then, the company has honed in on its other divisions, best known to the public for its western Fresno County restaurant and hotel.

The company’s horse racing division has also produced two American Horses of the Year – 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome and 2000 and 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow.

Filkins, an alumnus of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, will oversee Harris’ diversified operations – from farming to hospitality to its thoroughbred horses.

The Bakersfield native had previous stops as CEO of Agriculture Capital and as President and CEO of diversified grower Nickel Family LLC.

“I am very pleased and excited that Darren is joining our team as CEO,” Harris said in a statement. “Darren is a proven and enthusiastic leader who will inspire our wonderful employees and enable Harris Farms to capitalize on its many strategic opportunities.”

In his own statement, Filkins underscored the company’s values placed on high quality production and service.

“I am deeply honored to be joining Harris Farms. Mr. Harris and his management team have created a very special company that prides itself on quality, respect for people, and the thoughtful stewardship of natural resources,” Filkins said in a statement.

“Harris Farms will always provide the highest quality products, exemplary customer service, and a steadfast commitment to our employees and community.”

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.