Almond Grower and Board Chair Holly King Attends White House Briefing with President
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced almonds will be included in the administration’s new trade mitigation package. This package aims to continue the support of farmers and ranchers impacted by delayed negotiations and trade disruption with China.
Almond Board Chair Holly A. King attended a briefing at the White House recently with President Donald J. Trump and representatives from other major farm groups to discuss the trade mitigation package.
“It is an honor to represent the California almond industry at the White House briefing with President Trump and express appreciation for his efforts to ease the burden of the trade tariffs on California almond growers,” King said. “We have invested heavily in developing the market for California almonds in China for more than 20 years and hope the Administration is successful in negotiating a new trade deal soon so we can get back to business as usual.”
The $16 billion package includes $14.5 billion for the Market Facilitation Program, $1.4 billion in surplus commodity purchases through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program and $100 million in Agricultural Trade Promotion funding. Almonds will be included in the Marketing Facilitation Program. According to the USDA release, “Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.”
The Almond Board has worked closely with the Almond Alliance of California throughout the developing tariff situation to ensure the voice of the California almond industry is heard.
“The Almond Board and Almond Alliance have been actively engaged with USDA, the US Trade Representative and Congress regarding the impact of this trade disruption on almonds. The Alliance has led efforts ensuring almonds are included in the second mitigation package,” said Julie Adams, Vice President of Global, Technical and Regulatory Affairs at the Almond Board. “We look forward to working with USDA in leveraging these funds to best benefit the entire almond industry and our grower communities.”
Overall, trade disputes have underscored the importance of having diverse, healthy export markets, a position of strength that the California almond industry has long enjoyed. For decades, ABC has supported the industry by making significant investments in foreign market development and expansion. Recently, the Almond Board started marketing programs in Italy, Mexico, Germany and re-entered Japan. ABC also ramped up marketing activity in Germany and India.
“While we appreciate almonds’ inclusion in the second package, almonds continue to be impacted by the increase in tariffs, and we’ve seen a significant decline in shipments to China, our third-largest export market,” said Adams. “Getting back to normal trade is critical.”
Almond Alliance Shares Grower Interest with Almond Board
By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor
California almond growers are well represented by the Almond Alliance. Elaine Trevino, president of the Modesto-based Almond Alliance, explained the difference between the Almond Alliance and the Almond Board to California Ag Today recently.
“We have a very different structure,” she said. “Almond Board’s budget is based on a mandatory assessment. They cannot do use their dollars for advocacy or political involvement. And so the Almond Alliance was created to help fill that void.”
The Almond Alliance is a membership-based organization. One big issue that California almond growers are facing is water allocation. It is very important to understand federal and state in terms of oversight.
“Water is so complex, and right when you think you understand it, you realize that you don’t,” Trevino said.
She thinks their congressional delegation has worked very hard to fight for the agriculture industry. They call it a water fix.
The water infrastructure in California was designed when the population was one-third of what it is today.
“Until some of those hard discussions of growth and development and storage happen, it’s just going to be continual band-aids and fixes, and it definitely needs to be something much more,” Trevino said.
This is going to take some real leadership and a lot of people have been working very hard at this.
“I’m a big supporter of DeeDee D’Adamo, a member of the California State Water Resources Control Board, because she continues to fight for ag. She is very knowledgeable, especially when there is a water shortage,” Trevino said.
“Until we can start having some of those discussions about above ground water storage and general water use for the state of California, we’re gonna just be putting band-aids on really big problems,” she explained.
Alliance Advocates for Almond Industry
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director
The Almond Board of California does many great things for the California almond industry, most notably marketing annually about two billion pounds of almonds—both domestically and internationally. But there is one thing the Almond Board cannot do, and that is lobby on behalf of this big industry.
Enter the Almond Alliance of California (AAC) on August 1, 2016. Formerly known as the Almond Hullers and Processors Association (AHPA) and established in 1980, this renamed and revitalized trade organization is the only trade association fully dedicated to advocating for and protecting members’ investment in the almond industry. The AAC will represent and serve growers, hullers/shellers, handlers, processors and allied industry partners.
Kelly Covello, president of the Almond Alliance, said, “Over the last year, we’ve done some strategic planning with the Almond Board so that we can complement one another’s activities. The Almond Board cannot lobby or advocate, and the trade association—the Almond Alliance—can.” Nevertheless, Covello said, “the industry has invested in the Almond Board through their assessment and has great resources available in terms of expertise, data [and] research that we can use to support our policy positions.”
For nearly 100 years, the almond industry has been active in California without a dedicated political voice. “The trade association has always been able to advocate on issues when necessary. The industry has grown; we’re over a million acres now. With the increase in acreage, the number of issues, the visibility and the scrutiny of our industry has dramatically increased,” Covello said.
Ms. Covello currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Agricultural Council of California and serves on two Almond Board of California (ABC) committees: the Almond Quality & Food Safety Committee and the Technical and Regulatory Affairs Committee.