Thanksgiving can serve as a time to acknowledge the underlying almond industry resilience in making it through a hard year of challenges. Almond Board of California President and CEO Richard Waycott expressed gratitude for the work that industry members have put into ensuring California almonds remain successful. Each year can present any number of challenges, but the almond industry has traditionally found innovative ways to overcome various obstacles.
“Despite every year’s challenges, there’s always something for which to be grateful. If we talk about the last fiscal year which was a total COVID year that ended in July, we had the largest crop ever in 2020 by far. We had the largest shipments ever by far despite some of the port problems that we’re currently experiencing that were also occurring then, as well as just the COVID disruptions,” said Waycott. “Again – to be thankful for – all the work that this industry has done to develop consumers. Markets around the world really responded during COVID in a very positive way.”
Challenges were many over the past year. Complicating issues related to COVID even further has been California’s water situation. The industry has also been struggling with a lack of labor and logistical issues related to exports and product transportation. However, Waycott remains confident that the almond industry will again push through the ongoing difficulties. “We’ve definitely continued to have these export issues at our ports which unfortunately is diminishing our export capability right now. But I’m sure we’ll live through this, and we’ll find happier days in the months ahead,” said Waycott.
Industry resilience will be one of the many issues covered during the upcoming Almond Conference happening December 7-9 in Sacramento. The last in-person Almond Conference was held in 2019 at Cal Expo. This year, the event returns to the newly renovated SAFE Credit Union Convention Center and will feature four educational tracks to keep industry members informed. “We’ll also be having keynote luncheon speakers. Then we’re bringing back the very popular gala evening on Thursday night with entertainment. It will just be a time enjoy each other and be thankful,” Waycott noted.
Listen to Waycott’s interview below.