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2021 Board Election: Meet the Candidates

5/4/2021

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Estimated read time: 3 minutes

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 last week to over 6,100 growers and 105 handlers. 

This year brings another exciting election season as there are 15 candidates running, total, with eight open independent positions. On the grower side, there is a one-year grower member position and alternate position open and a three-year grower member position and alternate position open.

There are two candidates in the running for the one-year grower member position:

  • Paul Ewing of RPAC in Los Banos. Ewing currently serves in this member position.
  • Ross Franson of Woolf Farming & Processing in Fresno. Franson is a third-generation grower, and Woolf Farming & Processing grows almonds throughout the state.

There are two candidates for the one-year grower alternate position:

  • Michael Anderson is a fourth-generation grower based in Vina. In addition to growing almonds in the North Valley, his family also owns and operates Andersen & Sons Shelling Inc.
  • Brandon Rebiero is a first-generation grower in Modesto. In addition to growing, he is a PCA and CCA, and is also a graduate of the 2017 California Almond Leadership Program.

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

  • Dave DeFrank is from Fresno and grows over 11,000 acres of almonds.
  • Joe Gardiner is a third-generation grower from Earlimart and is currently serving as an alternate on ABC’s Board of Directors.
  • Caleb Gervase is a third-generation grower from Ripon and is currently serving as an alternate on ABC’s Board of Directors.
  • Kash Gill grows almonds in Sutter and Yolo counties. Gill is a banker by day who oversees agricultural lending.

There are two candidates for the three-year grower alternate position:

  • Dinesh Bajaj is a grower from Orland. He has previously served as both a member and an alternate on ABC’s Board of Directors.
  • Chris Bettencourt is a third-generation grower from Westley.

There are also two independent handler member positions and two alternate positions open, with a total of five candidates.

The three-year member position candidates are:

  • Todd Meyer of Bear Republic Nut. Meyer has been part of the almond industry for over 20 years and is currently serving in this member position.
  • Bob Silveira of Vann Family Orchards has been an almond grower since 2004.

There is only one candidate for the three-year handler alternate position: incumbent Dexter Long of Hilltop Ranch in Ballico.

Regarding the second independent handler member position – which is a one-year position – one candidate is running: incumbent Darren Rigg of Minturn Nut Co. in Le Grand. Similarly, there is one candidate running for the one-year alternate position: incumbent Chad DeRose of Famoso Nut Company in McFarland.

In addition to the independent grower and handler positions open this year, there is also a cooperative grower 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. The Almond Board then provides the results to USDA by June 1. The new Board will be seated on August 1, 2021.

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