The Role of the Almond Board of California
To assist the Secretary in the operation of this program, the Marketing Order establishes a 10-member Board, selected by March 1 each year, which is composed of five handler members and five grower members. Of the 10 members, two represent cooperative handlers; two represent handlers, other than cooperative; two represent cooperative growers; and two represent growers not associated with a cooperative. The fifth handler member and the fifth grower member are selected by and represent the group (whether cooperative or other than cooperative), which received more than 50% of the almonds delivered by growers in the then-current crop year through Dec. 31.
The Board is responsible for administering the provisions of the Marketing Order. This includes making rules and regulations, investigating complaints of violations, recommending amendments to the Marketing Order, and other functions necessary to the operation of the program.
All actions of the Board are by majority vote, with a quorum requirement of six members. There are two voting exceptions:
- Recommendations to the secretary concerning production research, marketing research and development projects, and marketing promotion, including paid advertising, and crediting the pro-rata expense assessment obligation of handlers require seven affirmative votes; and
- Recommendations concerning salable and reserve percentages and related crop estimates require six affirmative votes.
The Almond Handler (Processors or Packers)
All handlers of almonds are under the jurisdiction of the Marketing Order. A handler is an individual, partnership, corporation, association or any other business unit that uses almonds commercially; that is, to sell, consign, transport, ship (except as a common carrier) or in any other way put almonds into the channels of trade, either within the state of California or outside of the state. Handlers are required to register with the Almond Board of California (ABC) on an annual basis, and agree to abide by the Marketing Order Rules and Regulations.
As requested by the Board and detailed in the Marketing Order, each handler shall file with the Board written reports, certified to the Board and the secretary as to completeness and correctness, such information as may be prescribed by the Board for use in redetermination of kernel weight and marketing policy considerations. All information contained in handler records made available to the Board or to the secretary, or in reports to the Board constituting a trade secret or disclosing the trade position, financial condition or business operations of any handler shall be considered as confidential information.
Almond handlers are required to have an official USDA incoming inspection to determine the amount of edible and inedible kernels in each lot of almonds delivered.
Growers Acting as Handlers
The following rules determine whether a grower is also acting as a handler:
- Sale or delivery of almonds to a recognized almond handler within the production area exempts the grower from obligations under the Marketing Order. The handler is required to comply with all the regulations.
- Sales of almonds to consumers from a grower’s own production at a roadside stand operated by the grower or at a California certified farmer’s market when limited to 100 pounds per person per day are exempt from obligations under the Marketing Order.
- Any grower sale or shipment of almonds (edible or inedible) to a person who is not an almond handler, or the commercial usage of almonds of his or her own production in products, causes such a grower to be a handler, and therefore, they are required to register with the ABC and comply with the rules of the marketing order.
If you would like to know more about becoming a handler, please contact Marketing Order Services.
Almond Board Assessment
The Board is authorized to incur such expenses as the secretary may find reasonable for the maintenance and function of the Board. Each handler pays to the Board, on demand, a sum based on a rate per pound of almonds, kernel weight basis, received for his own account.
Handlers are billed four times per year for assessments: November, January, April and August.
The expenses of production research, market research and development projects, and nutrition research are included in the pro-rata assessment levied on handlers.
The assessment rate for the 2014/2015 crop year is $0.030 per pound. Almond handlers may apply for Credit-Back of up to $0.018 per pound for their own promotion of California Almonds.
Quality Control Program
At the time almonds are received for the handler’s own account, either from growers, accumulators or of their own production, handlers are required to have the Federal-State Inspection Service determine the percent of inedible kernels in each variety received. The weight of inedible kernels in excess of 0.5% of kernel weight reported to the Board of any variety received by a handler shall constitute the weight of that handler’s disposition obligation to be delivered to the Board, a crusher, feed manufacturer or feeder approved by the Board.
Handler Treatment Plan (HTP)
The California Almond industry, working with the USDA, expanded its food safety program in 2007 to include a mandatory pasteurization program. The purpose of this program is to ensure consumers are provided with safe, wholesome food products, free from potentially harmful levels of unsafe bacteria that can cause illness, without compromising the almond qualities that consumers expect and appreciate. Pasteurization has been proven to reduce the presence of harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Independent nutritional lab analyses commissioned by the Almond Board indicate that the pasteurization processes adopted do not degrade the taste, quality or nutritional value of almonds.
It is the responsibility of a handler to submit a Handler Treatment Plan for approval by the Almond Board of California.