Almond Board Has New Board of Directors



Almond Board of California 2020 Results

 The Almond Board of California has released election results for the Board of Directors positions whose terms of office will run from August 1, 2020 through July 31, 2021. The names of the following nominees have been submitted to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for selection:

Independent Grower:

Member Position One (one-year term):
Paul Ewing, Los Banos

Alternate Position One:
Joe Gardiner, Earlimart

Independent Handler:
Member Position One (three-year term):
Alexi Rodriguez, Caruthers

Alternate Position One:
Ron Fisher, Modesto

Member Position Three (one-year term):
Darren Rigg, Le Grand

Alternate Position Two:

Chad DeRose, McFarland

Cooperative Grower:
Member Position One (three-year term):
George Goshgarian Jr., Fowler

Alternate Position One:
Christine Gemperle, Ceres

Cooperative Handler:
Member Position Two (three-year term):
Bill Morecraft, Sacramento

Alternate Position Two:
Alicia Rockwell, Sacramento

Almonds from California are a healthy, natural, wholesome and quality food. The Almond Board of California promotes almonds with a research-based approach to responsible farming, production and marketing on behalf of the more than 7,600 almond growers and processors in California, many of whom have third- and fourth-generation family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit or check out California Almonds on FacebookTwitterInstagram and the California Almonds blog.

Almond Board Election Underway

Voting Starts Today for Many Positions on Almond Board

 Voting will begin April 29 to select one independent grower member and alternate position and two independent handler members and alternate positions on the Almond Board of California (ABC) Board of Directors. These positions will serve terms beginning on August 1, 2020.

Candidates for the independent grower position are:

Position One, Member (One-year term):
Paul Ewing, Los Banos (petitioner)
Louie Ott, Modesto (petitioner)
Mike Mason, Wasco (petitioner)

Position One, Alternate:
Joe Gardiner, Earlimart (petitioner)
Brad Klump, Escalon (petitioner)

Candidates for the independent handler positions are:
Position One, Member (Three-year term):
Terry Boone, Modesto (petitioner)
Alexi Rodriguez, Caruthers (petitioner)
Micah Zeff, Modesto (petitioner)

Position One, Alternate:
Ron Fisher, Modesto (incumbent)

Position Three, Member (One-year term):
Jonathan Hoff, Denair (petitioner)
Darren Rigg, Le Grand (petitioner)

Position Three, Alternate:

Chad DeRose, McFarland (petitioner)
Dave Phippen, Manteca (petitioner)
Ballots and instructions have been mailed to all independent growers whose names are on file with ABC. The Almond Board must receive ballots by May 27, 2020, for them to be counted. If an independent grower or a handler does not receive a ballot, one may be obtained by contacting ABC’s Bunnie Ibrahim, senior analyst, Government Affairs, at (209) 343-3228 or a governing body for the industry, the ABC Board of Directors is comprised of five handler and five grower representatives who set policy and recommend budgets in several major areas including production research, global market development, public relations and advertising, nutrition research, statistical reporting, quality control and food safety.

Sanitation for Navel Orangeworm Critical

Mandatory Sanitation and Almonds and Pistachios to Fight Navel Orangeworm?

By Patrick Cavanaugh

In the cotton pink bollworm program sanitation, a mandatory plow down of cotton stubble was a big part of the bollworm eradication strategy. Similarly in tree nuts the mummy nuts left in the tree post-harvest must be removed as they often harbor navel orangeworm larvae.

Joel Siegel is a USDA ARS entomologist based at Kearney near Fresno. He spoke recently at the American pistachio growers annual conference.

“Sanitation was a key element of the pink bollworm program. In fact, it was mandatory sanitation complete with people going out and checking and there were penalties for people that didn’t sanitize.,” noted Siegel. “One of the things that government does is they like to repeat all of the elements of what they think of as a successful program. If APHIS is making the investment, which they are in terms of providing the sterile insects for this navel orange worm program, logically they’re probably going to want mandatory sanitation as well.”

Again, it may be required to follow through with mandatory sanitation.

“There are challenges because we don’t have a standard. So what I tell people is to plan on getting everything out of the tree,” Siegel said.

Almond Board of California Announces 2020 Election


Almond Board Nomination Petitions Due April 1 2020

The Almond Board of California (ABC) announced April 1, 2020 as the deadline for filing nomination petitions for one independent grower member position and one independent grower alternate position on the ABC Board of Directors.

To be considered for the position, each candidate must be a California almond grower and must submit a petition signed by at least 15 independent almond growers (verified by the ABC). The petition should state the position for which the candidate is nominated and be filed with Almond Board of California at 1150 9th Street, Suite 1500, Modesto, California 95354.

Additionally, two independent handler member positions and two independent handler alternate positions are available. Handlers must declare their candidacy, in writing, to the Almond Board no later than April 1, 2020, to be considered for these positions.

A cooperative grower member and alternate nominee and a cooperative handler member and alternate nominee will be selected through their cooperative association.

The Almond Board of California is the organization that administers the Federal Marketing Order for almonds. The Almond Board assures industry compliance with marketing order regulations and is responsible for administering all aspects of the marketing order. It also serves the almond industry in other major areas, including production research, global market development via advertising and public relations, and accumulation, compilation and dissemination of statistical information.

The ABC encourages eligible women, minorities and people with disabilities to consider running for a position on the Board of Directors as it believes this committee should reflect the diversity of the industry it serves.

For further information, please contact ABC’s Bunnie Ibrahim, senior analyst in Government Affairs, at (209) 343-3228.


Almond Board Announces 2020 Almond Leadership Program

17 Industry Professionals will Embark on a Year-Long Experience to Further Their Leadership Skills and Involvement in the California Almond Industry

The Almond Board of California (ABC) is proud to announce the Almond Leadership Program Class of 2020. These 17 promising leaders represent diverse backgrounds across multiple industries, from almond growers to processors, sales representatives to regulatory consultants, researchers to pest control advisors, and more.

In this year-long program, participants will grow in their roles as the future generation of California almond industry leaders, learning from volunteer mentors who will help equip them with the knowledge and experience necessary to improve their leadership skills, the industry and their communities. The class will also complete specialized training in a wide variety of topic areas, many of which are tied to ABC activities in global marketing, production and nutrition research, food safety and more. Through monthly seminars spanning topics across all aspects of the industry, participants will sharpen their communication skills while building lasting relationships with each other, ABC staff and others through networking opportunities.

“It is an honor to go through this program with so many intelligent and like-minded people who all have the same goal: to better the California almond industry and give back to our communities. I love that the main thing connecting all the participants is our drive to make an impact on this industry,” said participant Michelle Brasil of Olam Farming.

As a kickoff to the program, the Leadership class participated in a two-day orientation that included an address from ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott and Chair of ABC’s Board of Directors Holly A. King. Waycott and King highlighted the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals and the almond community’s roadmap to achieving them, two cornerstones of this year’s Almond Leadership Program.

As they progress through the program, Leadership participants will gain a stronger understanding of how social, economic and environmental issues — combined with the current political climate — affect the industry. They’ll also learn how all sectors in the almond supply chain work together to provide a safe, sustainable product to consumers worldwide.


“It’s important now more than ever before to help pay-it-forward by empowering the next generation of talented leaders to sustain and propel the tremendous benefits of modern agriculture, making a positive contribution toward feeding and nourishing our growing and connected world,” said program mentor Nassar Dean of Bayer Crop Science, the official sponsor of the 2020 Almond Leadership Program.

Participants are also required to pursue an area of interest as part of a yearlong self-directed project that they will present to fellow classmates, mentors and the ABC Board of Directors at the end of the program. The purpose of the project is to challenge participants to take a deep dive into a topic that interests them, try a new technology or innovative practice on their operation or explore a new or novel idea that advances the industry in some capacity.

These projects will all focus on ways to improve the California almond community, and some past projects have even led to important breakthroughs for the industry. At the end of the year, one participant will be selected to present their project at The Almond Conference 2020 in Sacramento.

“This program helps mold great people into even greater leaders — the leaders we will one day look toward to shape the future of the almond industry,” said Jenny Nicolau, senior manager, Industry Relations and Communications, ABC. “Each graduate from the Almond Leadership Program has gone on to be a leader of change in the industry or their community in some capacity, and this group will be no different. They are bright and talented, and obviously problem-solvers, and we are honored to be partners on this yearlong journey.”

Over the past eleven years, the Almond Leadership Program has graduated more than 160 participants and supported many key initiatives benefiting the industry. This year’s class will continue the tradition of raising funds for California Future Farmers of America (FFA) and has pledged to raise more than $25,000 in scholarships for high school students interested in pursuing agriculture in college.

Members of this year’s class include: Nicole Assali, California Grown Nut Company; Jason Bayer, Exact Corporation; Michelle Brasil, Olam Farming; Steve Dail, T.A.D. Farming, Inc.; Jason DeGraff, Mid Valley Ag Services; Angad Dhadda, Dhadda Farms; Stephen Dotta, Poythress Farms; Eric Lahargou, Campos Brothers Farms; Daniel Lawson, Treehouse Almonds; Kyle McClintock, IB Farming/San Joaquin Fertilizer; Chris McGlothlin, Western Agricultural Processors Association; Michael Navarrete, Protect Your Nuts; Nathaniel Roberts, Wonderful Orchards; Justin Rose, Redox Chemicals, LLC; Raj Samran, Samran Sons & Farming Co. Inc.; Haley Seeger, Blue Diamond Growers; Matthew Wilson, Bayer Crop Science.

Almond Board Funds Big Projects For Future of Farming

One Big Project is Navel Orangeworm Control

By Tim Hammerich,  Ag Information Network

The Almond Board of California recently announced an investment of $5.9 million in 85 independent research projects exploring next-generation farming practices. We will be exploring some of these initiatives this week, as they offer insights into challenges faced by California growers.

Josette Lewis, Director of Agricultural Affairs for the Almond Board of California, says one area of focus is the almond producers largest pest.

“Some significant investments in the area of navel orangeworm that affects everything from farmer management in the orchard during the growing season to cost at the handler level to sort out nuts that have been damaged by insects to our exporters who may face questions around aflatoxin and checks at export markets that could be very costly if aflatoxin rates, which are often associated with navel orangeworm, are found,”said Lewis.

“We continue to invest in integrated pest management systems or navel orangeworm,”she said. “We’re very excited to validate the value proposition of use of mating disruption as a new tool. And then also this year made a historic investment in looking at the use of sterile insect technology for navel orangeworm, which would be a powerful new IPM tool.”

Devol Hired by Almond Board To Help Growers

Almond Board Hires Devol to Lead  

 The Almond Board of California (ABC) welcomes Tom Devol as its new Senior Manager of Field Outreach and Education. In his position, Devol will lead a team that engages directly with growers to help them tackle in-orchard challenges and create advancements and efficiencies on their operations. Before arriving at ABC, Devol worked as director of grower services in Field Monitoring and Control for Jain Irrigation, Inc.

“The Almond Board is committed to providing growers with boots-on-the-ground support in our journey toward the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals. We believe walking alongside growers to help them push past barriers to producing a better crop is vital to the future of the California almond industry,” said ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott.

Devol’s resume includes nearly 20 years of experience in irrigation technology. Though he started his career in sales, in 2003 he transitioned to an irrigation design role at Durham Pump & Irrigation. In this position, Devol had the opportunity to meet with growers to define their irrigation needs, design a system that met those needs and then deliver a final, installed system.

Devol recalls the day a grower pulled him aside and told him that while he was grateful for being sold a valuable irrigation system, he had no way of knowing how it was performing and what he could do to maintain it. That comment struck a cord with Devol, so much so that he switched his career focus to field monitoring and grower support and remained in those jobs up until joining the Almond Board.

“Growers are some of the best people to work with, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve them in this capacity,” Devol said.

In his role at the Almond Board, Devol will work with growers to help them solve the issues that keep them up at night – irrigation system efficiency, effective pest management, etc. – while also encouraging them to continue advancing towards the almond orchard of the future. Two major industry efforts will drive Devol and Field Outreach and Education Specialist Ashley Correia, who joined ABC this past year, in their outreach to growers: the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) and the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals.

Devol and Correia will assist growers in self-assessing their orchards using the nine CASP modules, a process that shows growers the progress they’ve made and the opportunities for improvement that lie ahead. Each time a grower completes an assessment and initiates improvements on their operation, they support the entire California almond industry in its effort achieve the 2025 Goals, not only by providing data that helps the industry track progress towards the goals but also by implementing better practices in the areas of water use, pest management, zero waste and dust that will help them farm more efficiently for years to come.

“I feel like my whole career has built me up to this point and I’m excited to share all I’ve learned in the past decades with growers. There’s a real need for grower support in the area of new technology. Knowing how to determine what technology works well in their orchards and then, equally important, knowing how to use, it is a passion area of mine and is key for the industry to understand in order for it to continue advancing towards a more sustainable future,” Devol said. 

Devol will lead the Field Outreach and Education team from his base in Chico while Correia will continue to focus her efforts in the southern part of the valley from her home near Tulare area. The Almond Board is in the process of hiring a third member of the Field Outreach and Education team to round out the grower expertise and geographic coverage of the team. 

“The Almond Board invests heavily in research to improve growing practices, but the return on that investment only pays off if growers have access to the information they need to implement those practices in their orchard,” said ABC’s Senior Director of Global Communications Daren Williams. “Through our Field Outreach and Education program, the Almond Board hand-delivers production tips and best practices to the growers we are here to serve.” 

Those interested to learn more about CASP are invited to arrange an in-orchard visit with Devol, who may be reached at and (530) 570-5558. Industry members are also encouraged to hear Devol present on a panel titled, “Research Update: How Much and When to Irrigate,” on Wednesday, December 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at The Almond Conference 2019.

Almond Alliance Fights for Growers

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.

Elaine Trevino

“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.

Measuring Crop Protection Material Tolerances

Biological Tolerances May Be Needed

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

California Ag Today recently spoke with Gabrielle Ludwig, Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs for the Almond Board of California, about the issue of crop protection in almonds. Almonds are the number one specialty crop export. Almonds also remain the number one nut in global production and are California’s number two agricultural crop.

Ludwig explained that pesticides are used and necessary in today’s almond production. Pesticide residue is a concern for not only domestic production, but also for international distribution. And with biological products such as friendly fungi and bacteria, the biological industry noted that they are safe and free of residue tolerance.

“I would say for this industry, there’s a couple of things going on in parallel, and they don’t have exactly the same problems. So one is you have the sector where it is still a chemical that you’re applying, but it may not have very much toxicity or the residues are, for whatever reason, vanished,” Ludwig said.

“In the United States, we can get an exemption from a tolerance, where EPA has looked at and said there’s no health risk, and there’s no need to set a maximum residue limit. For those products then the question becomes: Do you have the same standards in other markets?” Ludwig asked.

“And again, one example is that the EU does have an exemption for tolerance process, but they don’t always have the same standards so EU is more likely to set a number than United States. And we have also seen examples where the United States is setting a number and the rest of the world says there’s no need to set a number because it’s a natural occurring compound.”

“So if you look at a pheromone, which falls into a natural occurring arena, there, you’re not even spraying the trees so it’s a totally different ball game,” Ludwig said.

“With biologicals, again, it’s a different ball game. You still need to have someone say, look at it, say it’s safe; because it’s going to be exempt from a tolerance.”

“But currently, there’s no testing for it,” Ludwig said. “With DNA technology, it probably wouldn’t be that hard to start testing for biological products’ lack of residue, especially ones that go on the produce that is eaten.”

“So again, what we’re saying here is, don’t rely on the fact you can’t be tested for it because we did that in the conventional pesticide arena and it’s caught up with us,” Ludwig said.

Almond Achievement Award Nominations Being Accepted

Deadline for Almond Achievement Award Nominations is Oct. 19

News Release

Since 2011, the Almond Achievement Award has honored an industry or allied-industry member who has added value to the California Almond industry through long-term service, contributions or innovations.

Nominations for the Almond Achievement Award are being accepted now. Winners must:

  • Be an individual with long-standing and direct involvement with the California Almond industry.
  • Demonstrate lasting impact on and commitment to the California Almond industry.
  • Have a record of proven service to the visibility and growth of the industry.
  • Contribute to California Almonds becoming a Crop of Choice and supporting California Almonds becoming the Nut of Choice.

Almond Board of California’s (ABC’s) Industry Services Sub-Committee will evaluate the candidates and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors. The 2017 recipient will be selected by ABC’s Board of Directors and recognized during the gala dinner at The Almond Conference by ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott.

The names of the award winners are placed on the wall of the Nonpareil Conference Room at the Almond Board of California office.

Nominating an almond industry professional for the 2017 Almond Achievement Award is easy. Simply email Jenny Nicolau ( and state your nominee’s name and company, as well as your reasons for the nomination. Applications must be received on or before October 19 for consideration.