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2020 Board Election: Meet the Candidates


(May 1, 2020) – The annual Almond Board of California (ABC) Board of Directors election is underway – in fact, you may have already received your ballot as they were mailed this week to over 5,800 growers and 103 handlers. 

This year brings a rather exciting election season as there are an unprecedented number of candidates running: six independent positions are open, and 13 candidates are running. On the grower side, there is a one-year grower member position open as well as a one-year alternate position.

There are three candidates in the running for the grower member position:

  • Paul Ewing of RPAC in Los Banos has been growing almonds and involved in ABC global marketing committees since 2005.
  • Mike Mason of Supreme Almonds in Wasco has been growing almonds for over 20 years. Mason has served on several ABC committees and the Board of Directors, in addition to serving as Chair of the Board for a total of five years.
  • Louie Ott of Modesto serves as general manager on his family’s operation, Joseph Gallo Farms.

There are two candidates for the grower alternate position:

  • Joe Gardiner of Earlimart is a third-generation almond grower.
  • Brad Klump of Escalon has been a member of the California almond industry since 1992. Klump has previously served on the Board as both a member and an alternate.

There are also two independent handler member positions and two alternate positions open, with a total of eight candidates. The three-year member position candidates are:

  • Terry Boone of BL Nut Company has 43 years of experience in the almond industry.
  • Alexi Rodriguez of Campos Brothers Farms has over 11 years of experience in the almond industry. Rodriguez is an Almond Leadership Program graduate and has been involved with several ABC committees.
  • Micah Zeff of Montpelier Nut Company is a third-generation almond grower and processor. He is a graduate of the first Almond Industry Leadership Program class and has served on the Board since 2017.

There is only one candidate up for the three-year handler alternate position: incumbent Ron Fisher, president and CEO of Fisher Nut Company.

The second open independent handler position is a one-year position. Candidates for the member position are:

  • Jonathan Hoff of Monte Visa Farming Company in Denair is a third-generation almond grower and second-generation processor. He has served as an alternate on the Board for past last three years and participated in ABC’s annual Almond Delegation to Washington, D.C. for the past two years.
  • Darren Rigg of Minturn Nut Company has been involved in the almond industry since 2008. Like Zeff, Darren is a graduate of the first Almond Industry Leadership Program class and has served on various ABC committees.

There are two candidates running for the one-year alternate position. They are:

  • Chad DeRose has worked at Famoso Nut Company in McFarland for 14 years, gaining experience at all levels of the company.
  • Dave Phippen of Travaille & Phippen in Manteca has served on several ABC committees over the years. He has also served as both a Board member and alternate, including two years served as Board Chair.

In addition to the independent grower and handler positions open this year, there is also a cooperative grower member and alternate position and a cooperative handler member and alternate position open. Those positions will be filled by cooperative industry members.

Full candidate statements are included with the ballots that each grower and handler received. The Almond Board urges you to participate in this year’s election by returning your ballot to ABC before the May 27 deadline. Ballots are opened and counted by a third-party auditor, who then provides the results to USDA by June 1. The new Board will be seated on August. 1, 2020.

If you have any questions or do not receive a ballot, please contact ABC’s Senior Analyst in Government Affairs Bunnie Ibrahim at or at 209-343-3228.

2019 2020 Board of Directors