Nicole Montna Van Vleck

Board of Directors / Secretary

Nicole Montna Van Vleck is the President and Chief Executive Officer of family owned and operated Montna Farms, in Yuba City, California. Montna Farms is a major grower of Japanese short grain specialty rice as well as a leader in working lands conservation

Nicole serves as an advocate for the state’s farmers especially in the areas of water and rice. Currently, she serves on the California Rice Industry Association Board and the California Rice Commission Board of Directors where she serves as Chair of the Rice Producers Group. She also serves as on several national boards and committees for USA Rice. In the area of water, she serves as an officer for two of her local water districts and on the Northern California Water Association Board of Directors, on its Executive Committee and as its Communications Chair. She also serves on the UC Davis Dean’s Advisory Board for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and on the Board of Directors for River Valley Community Bank.

As a third generation rice farmer, she was born and raised in Sutter County. Nicole graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Class XXVI of the California Agricultural Leadership Program and of the 2011/12 USA Rice Leadership Program. Early, in her career she worked as a legislative analyst for the law firm of Morrison & Foerster before returning to the family farm in 1994.

Paul Crutchfield

Board of Directors / Chairman-Audit & Finance

Paul was Vice President-Marketing at Farmers’ Rice Cooperative, Sacramento, CA, from 1983-1996. Prior to that, he was Vice President, International Marketing at the Rice Growers’ Association, Sacramento from 1982-1983. Before moving to CA, Paul was Vice President, American Rice Inc. in Houston, TX from 1975-1983. In 1996, Paul resigned from Farmers’ Rice Cooperative with thoughts of early retirement. However, since that time, he has been active in various investments, including the formation of California Commodity Traders with Chris Crutchfield, which brought Paul back into the rice business in 1998. Throughout his tenure in the rice business, Paul has served on many industry committees, at both the state and U.S. levels.

Chris Crutchfield

President and CEO/Partner - American Commodity Co., LLC

Shortly after graduating from the University of Missouri in 1996, Chris moved back to California and joined with his father Paul Crutchfield in the formation of a rough rice pool for direct marketing to Turkey. Chris was responsible for the day to day management of the pool. That partnership developed into the formation of American Commodity Company (ACC) in 2000, and Chris assumed all direct management responsibilities for ACC.

Chris is currently very active in multiple US rice industry associations at both the state and national levels. Chris serves as the Chairman of the USA Rice Federation’s Asia/Turkey Promotion Committee and the Chairman of the California Rice Commission’s Public Education Committee — in addition to several other key positions.  Chris was a graduate of the 2003 Rice Leadership Class.

Prior to establishing himself in the California rice industry, Chris worked in the offices of California Governor Pete Wilson as his Assistant Press Secretary. He also briefly taught secondary education in the California public school system, and is a past Chairman of the USA Rice Millers’ Association.