How We Grow

2020 Jan/Feb How We Grow

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18 years, starting out by serving on several committees and eventually moving up to serve on the Board. There is always a saying rolling around in the back of my head (I believe I got it from my father), "Either you're at the table or you're on the menu." The Almond Board provides the growers a voice, a spot at the table, and it keeps us off the menu. I am proud to be part of that, protecting and growing our industry. What about the industry do you most appreciate and take pride in? GG: Innovation. The ability to change, grow, and adapt. Having grown up in agriculture, it's easy to see that most other agricultural industries are very resistant to any change. So much so that many of those industries are now gone. The almond industry has not only grown but thrived. Even in the most difficult of times, we have endured by working together and rising stronger and better prepared for future challenges. What industry accomplishment are you most proud of? GG: There are many accomplishments that spring to mind. But, having been involved with the Almond Board of California during the drought when we had to educate the public about our water usage, I would say increasing our water use efficiency. We are cutting edge in our use of water – decreasing the amount of water to produce a pound of almonds by 33% is huge. But instead of stopping there and being content, we have continued to push ourselves to adopt new technologies and to educate ourselves on better practices. What advice would you give someone starting off in the almond industry? GG: Get involved. It never ceases to amaze me how much I've learned by serving and volunteering in many capacities through ABC. Yes, it takes time and commitment. But what you gain in return really can't be measured. In farming, it's really easy to want to just "stay on the farm." It's difficult to put yourself out there and engage with other industries, entities, and other growers. But in the end, engagement is what makes our corner of agriculture the envy of all the others. What's your favorite way to eat almonds? GG: A can of Blue Diamond roasted and salted almonds, washed down with a cold beer. Simple, satisfying, perfect. The Almond Board of California's 2019-2020 Board of Directors: (first row, left to right) Mark Jansen, alternate; Alicia Rockwell, alternate; Micah Zeff, member; Lisa Giannini, alternate; Bill Harp, alternate; Holly A. King, chair; Mike Mason, alternate; Bill Morecraft, member; Christine Gemperle, alternate; Brad Klump, member; Ron Fisher, alternate; (back row, left to right) Caleb Gervase, alternate; Brian Wahlbrink, member; Jonathan Hoff, alternate; Dexter Long, alternate; Mel Machado, member; Todd Meyer, member; George Goshgarian Jr., member; Kent Stenderup, vice chair. Not pictured: Dave Phippen, member.

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