Home Industry News Almonds Growers, Researchers & Leaders Exchange Ideas at Almond Board Conference

Growers, Researchers & Leaders Exchange Ideas at Almond Board Conference

Almond Board of California — The Almond Conference 2023 drew the largest turnout since 2019 as attendees met new Almond Board of California president and CEO Clarice Turner and heard about the array of programs – ranging from building global demand to increased trade efforts to research to maximize grower efficiency – aimed at helping the industry face difficult times.

As always, the gathering at Sacramento’s SAFE Credit Union Convention Center was the largest of the year for the almond industry, drawing 3,819 attendees and providing an opportunity to further relationships, build new ones and exchange ideas and information.

“This year, we were able to share what we learned about the challenges we’re facing as well as outline the efforts ABC is making to address each,” said Alexi Rodriguez, chair of ABC’s Board of Directors. “The best path for our industry is going to be together, and The Almond Conference offered a great opportunity to take into account all the ideas and experiences that were shared to help us move forward.”

During the State of the Industry presentation, Turner talked about what she called a great strength of the almond industry – the supportive nature of everyone in it.

“I’m so impressed with how you all work together, help each other, and care so deeply,” Turner said. “As the industry struggles to deal with challenges, many we don’t control, it’s critical to pull together and focus on what we can control or influence to find our way forward … We have some difficult times to endure, but I’m certain that strong leadership, focus and the industry DNA of ‘grit and innovation’ will get us to a better place.”

The theme of The Almond Conference 2023 was “Connecting the Dots,” and sessions offered practical information for growers in many forms as well as a forum to exchange knowledge. One focus was providing information about the range of assistance available to the industry, and the conference again included an Incentive and Grower Support Zone, a popular offering that helped attendees get their questions answered by more than a dozen agencies and organizations that offer incentives or help getting them.

Attendees also heard from Doug McKalip, Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, who was part of the State of the Industry presentation, and from CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, who spent time with McKalip visiting the trade show floor.

The annual awards given to long-time industry leaders during the Gala dinner were also highlights, as they are every year.

Dick Cunningham was given the 2023 Almond Achievement Award for his remarkable commitment to the advancement of the almond industry over a 50-year career, and Wes Asai was awarded the 2023 Almond Technical Achievement Award, which recognizes an industry member who has contributed to significant technical advancement for the betterment of the California almond industry through research, innovation or facilitating the adoption of practices.

And Richard Waycott, ABC’s outgoing president and CEO, was recognized for his 20-plus years of service to the industry with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Attendees at The Almond Conference 2023 visit the Incentive and Grower Support Zone to get information and questions answered by more than a dozen agencies and organizations that offer incentives or help getting them. Photo courtesy of the Almond Board of California.

What’s next

  • PDF versions of the slide presentations covering a wide range of topics and featuring expert speakers are available at Conferences Presentations (almonds.com). Video recordings will be posted and available in the new year.
  • Save the date for 2024: Dec. 10-12 again at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Sacramento.

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