Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) is being honored as the Almond Alliance of California’s 2021 Almond Champion of the Year for his effective leadership in authoring legislation that supports California’s pollinator habitats, as well as leading efforts to educate his fellow legislators about the importance of a sustainable California almond industry to the state’s economic health.
The legislature this year approved a budget containing funding that will help almond growers implement those important conservation practices that benefit honey bees as they forage for pollen and nectar in the orchard. Assemblymember Villapudua’s leadership on AB 391, which highlighted the need for funds to accelerate the adoption of conservation practices designed to integrate pollinator habitat and forage on working lands, was critical in getting these funds approved.
Almond Alliance Chair Mike Curry praised Villapudua for his work on legislation of importance to the California almond industry. “Assemblymember Villapudua as a freshman legislator has really taken the time to get to know the many facets of our industry,” explained Curry. “As one of the few legislators representing agriculture, he has done a great job of educating his fellow legislators about how important farming is to this state. His most recent efforts in obtaining funding for pollinator habitat conservation practices will benefit honey bees as they forage for pollen and nectar in almond orchards.”
The Almond Champion of the Year Award is presented annually to those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in education, coalition building, partnerships and promoting legislation and policies that encourage the advancement and protection of California agriculture and the California almond industry. The award recipient is decided on by our Government Relations committee members. Committee members include:
- Micah Zeff, Montpelier Orchards
- Mike Curry, Johnson Farms
- Dick Cunningham, Cunningham Ranch Inc.
- Jeannine Grech, Campos Brothers Farms
- Alicia Rockwell, Blue Diamond Growers
- Dave Phippen, Travaille & Phippen
- Melissa Frank, The Wonderful Company
- Steve Van Duyn, Van Duyn Family Farms
- Todd Meyer, Bear Republic Nut
- Bill Lyons, Mapes Ranch
- Assemblymember Adam Gray
- Assemblymember Heath Flora
- Connie Conway, former Director of Farm Service Agency
The award will be presented by the Almond Alliance at the California Almond Industry Political Action Committee’s Annual Modesto Fundraiser at Del Rio Country Club on October 27, 2021, at 5:30 pm. This event brings together members of the almond community as well as FFA students, elected officials and designated special guests. RSVPs can be made to Annie Romero at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-300-7140.
About the Almond Alliance
The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the California almond community. California almonds generate more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly contribute more than $11 billion to the state’s total economy. California’s top agricultural export, almonds create approximately 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, which suffers from chronic unemployment. The AAC is dedicated to educating state legislators, policy makers and regulatory officials about the California almond community. As a membership-based organization, our members include almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers and allied businesses. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, social media and personal meetings, AAC works to raise awareness, knowledge and provide a better understanding about the scope, size, value and sustainability of the California almond community.