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.

Almond Board CEO Talks About Group’s Mission

An Ongoing Series on the Value of the Almond Industry

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Because it takes a while to harvest more than one million acres, the 2017 almond harvest is still going strong. The Modesto-based Almond Board of California is a federal marketing order charged to market those almonds both domestically and globally. A board composed of 10 grower members oversees committees focused on production research, almond quality and food safety, nutrition research and the environment, just to name a few.

Richard Waycott is president and CEO of the Almond Board. He noted that he’s proud to be part of this massively growing industry. “It’s just been a wonderful pleasure for me, and it’s such a great career opportunity to be part of this industry and try and have vision and work with my board of directors on agreeing on that vision and then with the great staff and all of the industry volunteers we have to implement the vision,” he said.

Waycott is suitably biased toward the almond industry. “We do see almonds as being a crop that should be grown in California. It’s producing a product that should be consumed more by humans,” Waycott said.

“Our efforts to farm more sustainably in the future, than we do today, and to provide for more automation in the industry and better grower practices, et cetera, is what our mission is. I think we’re very much on a road to executing that in a very responsible and an innovative way,” he said

This is part of a series on the big value of the California almond industry.

Big Almond Crops Coming, Marketing Efforts Shift to Higher Gear

The Almond Board of California Has Eyes on European Consumers

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

The Almond Conference was held recently in Sacramento, and growers and pest control advisors heard lots of news from forward-thinking industry leaders. Stacey Humble is Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications for the Almond Board of California, which hosts the annual event. She told California Ag Today that extra big crops are coming.

Almond Board of California
Stacy Humble

“You know, we have a dramatic increase in production coming online – about 500 million pounds. So, in terms of marketing, we need to make sure that we are utilizing all the resources that we have to their maximum benefit and that we’re reflecting on lessons learned in synergies and opportunities that we can take from one market to the next,” Humble said.

The Almond Board is looking at how they can strengthen sales in new markets as well as existing markets.

“How we can do more in existing markets so that we’re balancing our investment portfolio?” Humble said. “We’re trying to do more quickly in some markets and establish ourselves for success in the long term in other markets.”

A good example of possible increasing sales is the big European market, such as Germany. They are the biggest importer of almonds, but consumers there do not eat them as a nutritious snack.

“The German consumer loves the flavor of almonds, loves almond products and is very familiar with it, but has the lowest top of mind awareness in any market that we work in when it comes to thinking of almonds as a snack,” Humble said. “That is a huge opportunity. It’s essentially a new market for us, within an established market where we have existing trade relationships, where the consumer is familiar with the product and seeks it out already but just does so as a bakery ingredient.”





Permission to farm?

Must We Ask Permission to Farm What Consumers Want?

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Associate Editor, California Ag Today

Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board of California, discussed the availability of land to grow the crops that consumers want to eat with California Ag Today.

“It’s interesting,” said Waycott, “because we have our current population, plus the anticipated growth in population–not just in the US–but globally. And to the extent we all foresee a future in which people are eating a sufficient number of calories and enjoying a decent standard of living, we must be supportive and understand that land and natural resources will have to be employed judiciously to do that,” said Waycott.

“All crops can’t be grown everywhere,” Waycott noted. “First, the percentage of total land that is arable is pretty small, so you can’t grow anything anywhere. And many times, water availability affects which crops you can grow.”

“With so many people taking issue with irrigating almonds, should we have to ask permission to farm?” asked Waycott.

“There has to be a better understanding that permission to farm is critical so we can meet the dietary and lifestyle needs of generations to come,” he said.