The 2019 Almond Conference carried a message of positivity and solidarity as the industry looks to the future. The Almond Board of California (ABC) presented several industry successes over the past year, while also calling on industry members to come together to ensure the industry remains vibrant. One of the highlights of the 2018-2019 season was a record number of shipments, despite a troubling trade atmosphere in China.
“We’ve been building more demand and what that says is that it’s working,” said ABC Chairman Holly King. “It also indicates that even with the uncertainties that have been created by the tariff situation, we’re still moving almonds and it’s because we’ve diversified our markets around the world.”
Described as the almond ‘trinity,’ the Almond Alliance, industry members, and ABC will continue to be a critical point of cooperation moving forward. Coordination among all industry stakeholders working towards a common goal is a key factor for addressing concerns and needs. The collective effort of the three groups was a significant factor in getting almonds included in the Market Facilitation Program.
“Washington D.C. knows who we are and we got on the map from that; because we were one of two specialty crops and it was because of us all working together,” King noted. “The second thing is when the program was originally designed it had limitation in it related to the gross ag revenue and that limitation was removed because we went back and said ‘this doesn’t work for us.’”
Strong relationships within the almond industry also help growers continue to move towards the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals. King noted an ambitious goal of achieving 100 percent industry participation in the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) by 2022. The effort required from growers to participate will be significantly less than the benefits that will be provided for the entire industry as a whole.
“Yes, you need to spend some time inputting the data into the modules, but it has the potential to make us better growers. It has the potential to differentiate ourselves from other nuts and from other businesses and differentiate ourselves in the supply chain,” said King. “You can’t be successful as an industry unless you collectively work on it.”
Listen to King’s full interview.