Educating federal agencies, legislators and staff members about the complexities of issues affecting the California almond industry was the focus of a June trip to Washington D.C. by a delegation of Almond Board of California staff and almond industry members.
Almond production and market development issues topped the list of topics covered. The group included Martin Pohl with Hughson Nut Company, Van Soetaert with Baldwin Minkler Farms, Kent Stenderup with Stenderup Ag Partners, and Kyle McClintock with San Joaquin Fertilizer, Kelly Covello, President, Almond Alliance of California (AAC), along with the Almond Board’s Richard Waycott, President & CEO, Julie Adams, Vice President of Technical Regulatory Affairs and Gabriele Ludwig, Director of Sustainability & Environmental Affairs.
“This visit was a great opportunity for members of the California almond industry to meet face to face with key agency officials and elected representatives,” pointed out Julie Adams, Vice President of Technical Regulatory Affairs. “These meetings allow the industry to present the latest information about the considerable scientific research conducted by the board, as well as offer up educational materials about the many production and trade issues that affect the California almond industry.”
ABC hosted an educational briefing for legislative staffers about the almond industry, ABC research programs, the California Almond Sustainability Program and the Accelerated Innovation Management initiatives. Many of the staffers attending were from urban areas and interested in learning more about one of California’s top crops. “These types of briefings allow us to reach out to urban audiences and educate them about California almonds,” explained Adams. “Many times these staff members are unfamiliar with how almonds are produced or some of the issues involved with shipping them overseas. It’s beneficial for all of us to talk about those issues and provide a baseline of information.”
During the week, the group met with government agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The delegation also met with a number of federal legislators to educate them on key issues impacting the almond industry including the offices of Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno), Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Modesto), Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), and Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield).