Almond Alliance Helps Growers with Advocacy

Almond Alliance Lent a Hand on Tariff Relief

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Like many agricultural sectors, almond growers have also been affected by recent tariff wars. However, almond growers have a true friend in the Modesto-based Almond Alliance.

“We are definitely an advocacy organization, that is the core of what we do,” said Elaine Trevino, president of the Almond Alliance.

Elaine Trevino

“The Almond Alliance educates our legislators, their department officials and cabinet about issues that are important to the almond industry. It is very critical that our elected officials, specifically the urban [ones] that are not familiar with agriculture, understand agriculture. They need to understand … the inputs and the natural resources needed for agriculture, and also understand the best practices that we put into place to be good corporate and small businesses,” Trevino said.

“Obviously with almonds, you have hulls and shells and the biomass that comes with almonds, and so we focus on all aspects of that,” she explained.

Almond growers are being affected by tariffs increases into China. Beginning on April 2nd, the first 232 retaliatory tariffs was seen that affected China. Since then, our turkey has also been affected by the tariffs.

The almond industry exports 67 percent of its production to more than 100 countries.

“Looking at export markets and how they impact the industry is critical. Secretary Purdue came out with the mitigation package,” Trevino said.

The almond industry fought very hard to be included in direct payments. While many say it’s just three cents a pound, the allocation to almonds was $63.3 million.

“It’s our intention that the alliance fight for every penny of that goes back to the growers, and if they are not eligible for the direct payments, then we’ll make sure that they receive it through market promotion that will help move their product and hopefully get those prices back up if they haven’t been affected,” Trevino said.

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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.

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Ricchiuti on World Nut & Dried Fruit Conference

Ricchiuti is Positive on Almond Industry 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Pat Ricchiuti, a third-generation diversified fresh fruit, olive and nut crop grower-packer-shipper and owner of P-R Farms in Clovis, attended the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council  (INC) World Congress on Nuts & Dried Fruit in San Diego early this month. Having met with industry handlers and traders from countries across the globe to discuss international almond prices, Ricchiuti’s observations were very positive for American nut growers.

Pat Ricchiuti, owner of P-R Farms
Pat Ricchiuti, owner of P-R Farms

“The greatest part of the conference was meeting a lot of good people—current customers and new people who handle and trade almonds globally,” said Ricchiuti.“We talked about the economic defaults in the Middle East, India and China and how they have affected current supply and demand.”

Ricchiuti said, “Everyone was questioning the 2 billion pound-subjective estimate for the almond crop,” USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) early forecast about the coming Fall 2016 California almond crop developed after it is set [unripe nuts have emerged, ready to mature].

Many thought the subjective estimate was low—that more of a crop is out there. Some handlers and traders,fear that if we don’t have a good progress shipment report for this next month, it would be a disadvantage,” he said.

But, having a more positive outlook, Ricchiuti held that the crop is at least that amount and could be more. “It’s a reality but it shouldn’t scare everyone in the marketplace that tP-R Farms Logo Ricchiutihe price should go down any more. We need to be positive and I think the price can even move up a little more with the shipment reports being positive,” he said.

“We keep positive on shipment reports because everyone’s been buying hand-to-mouth. The warehouses are empty; there’s no one stockpiling almonds, even at the low prices. There’s hesitation in buying, but they’re buying on need and it’s picking up,” noted Ricchiuti.

Ricchiuti stated, “We just need to get these people away from thinking it’s doom and gloom and the sky is falling. It is not; it’s something that is very positive. First of all, there will be plenty of almonds to sell,” he elaborated.

We had a good shipment month last month and this month looks like it’s going to be good. People are still hungry for almonds; they still want almonds, but pricing is disrupting the market.”

“Even if it’s more than two billion,” Ricchiuti commented, “we think there’s a world market and demand from the consumer for almonds will continue.” He expects they will have less carryover [unsold crop], which will help with diminishing supply. “We feel it’s stabilized now. It has come up somewhat, about 50 cents a pound in the last few weeks.” he said, “so that’s been very positive.”

Ricchiuti explained, “We are looking forward to the objective estimate [in late June to early July] to really hone in where we are, what the May shipment reports will be, and move on from there. We just need to keep a very positive marketing attitude, keep selling almonds and keep selling the consumer on how nutritious and how good they are for you.”

Ricchiuti said conference topics included the immense nutritional value of almonds, how good they are for you and the diversified uses—”more so than any of the other nuts. We need to teach this younger generation to include almonds into their lifestyle. ‘Hey, have a handful of almonds every day.'”

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