Veteran tomato industry leader Ed Beckman has been named to the newly created post of chief operating officer of Le Grand, Calif.-based Live Oak Farms.

In that role, Beckman will steer strategic growth of the family-owned grower-shipper of fresh-market tomatoes and peppers, according to a news release.

Beckman came to Live Oak in mid-October from Fresno, Calif.-based Certified Greenhouse Farmers, where he was chief executive officer.

He also has served as chief executive officer of the California Tomato Farmers cooperative, where he helped develop food safety standards for field-grown tomatoes, helped build California's fresh tomato export markets, and secured supply partnerships with foodservice and retail chains.

Beckman tapped as COO of Live Oak FarmsIn addition, Beckman is former president of the California Tomato Commission.

Bob Giampaoli, Live Oak Farms' CEO and a third-generation farmer, said Beckman will help the operation meet the changing market.

"...Ed’s vision and demonstrated ability to successfully navigate the rapidly changing market forces of the fresh produce industry will position Live Oak Farms for growth to the benefit of our customers, employees and the next generation of our farming family," Giampaoli said in the release.