(Dec. 1) Staff writer Gabrielle Kirkland is leaving The Packer to be director of environmental and regulatory affairs for the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, Fresno.

Kirkland has been a Kingsburg, Calif.-based staff writer for The Packer for about two years. She succeeds Alex Ott, who left the league in April to become director of the California Apple Commission, Fresno.

She started her career at the Reedley (Calif.) Exponent newspaper after graduating from California State University, Fresno, in 2002. It was the Exponent’s agricultural page that planted a seed for a career in the agriculture community, she said.

Her new position, she said, would allow her to follow grower issues. She will be responsible for tracking air quality, labor and water issues that affect California growers and shippers.

Kirkland’s last day with The Packer will be Dec. 6.