How We Grow

2021 Nov/Dec How We Grow

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Meet the Board When did you first become involved in the California almond industry? Brandon: I was raised on my grandpa's 30-acre almond orchard in Modesto, where I learned a hands-on approach to almond production and developed a strong work ethic – and blisters! I developed a passion to understand the science behind successfully growing almonds. After graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a Pomology major and Plant Protection minor, I became a licensed PCA specializing in almonds. Serving growers in the community gave me a unique "boots on the ground" perspective and allowed me to connect with growers on a personal level. I now run my own farming operation, Gold Leaf Farming, where we implement state-of-the-art farming practices and a forward-thinking mindset to maximize our yields while reducing our impact on natural resources. Chad: I first became involved in the almond industry in 2006. I was working as a flight instructor building my hour requirements and was a few weeks away from getting married. I realized then that it may not be the best thing for my family to be away from home all the time in the aviation industry. A family friend and owner of Famoso Nut Company asked if I would be interested in working for him. I said yes and he gave me a shot, assigning me to beginner huller tasks often given to the new hires that aren't as fun as others. I guess I passed the test as I am still with the company today, working as the CEO and handling all our sales. What does it mean to you to sit on ABC's Board of Directors? Brandon: It's quite humbling to be a voice for all the hard-working almond growers in California. There is a huge responsibility that comes with having influence on the strategic direction of the industry. I strive to add value to the Board by tapping into my experiences as an agronomist and grower. I am committed to maximizing our assessment dollars and creating a sustainable almond industry for future generations. Chad: To me, it means that my peers feel that I can help look after their best interests and I am honored to serve in this role. Each member in the industry has made a genuine investment to allow the Almond Board of California to help market and protect the industry. I feel that having a voice in which direction the Board takes is a responsibility that more industry members should value. What about the industry do you appreciate or take pride in? Brandon: I'm proud of the fact that we grow an affordable and healthy food source that feeds people around the globe. I also appreciate the proactive nature of the almond industry in standing out as the premier leader amongst other crops. Many other agriculture industries have found themselves flat footed and trying to recover from low demand and poor grower pricing. Fortunately, the Almond Board of California leadership has continued to grow demand while adapting to a constantly changing world. Chad: I feel very fortunate to be involved in an industry that is growing, packing and marketing a great product. I think that the Almond Board of California has done an amazing job with nutrition research, giving the marketing team a phenomenal message to promote to several different markets and channels. What advice would you give someone starting off in the almond industry? Brandon: Get dirty. Whether you're in production, marketing or research, it all starts in the orchard. You'll never have proper context or credibility if you haven't walked in a grower's shoes. Chad: I would say you really need to have patience and look for good mentors. There is no school that teaches you about the nuances of this industry. Much of the learning comes from other's experiences and your own trials and errors. Also, you need to remain flexible from season to season. Every year is different and you can't get to stuck in your ways. What's your favorite way to eat almonds? Brandon: Straight off the tree while walking through the orchard at harvest and checking on shake timing. By the way, Aldrich is by far the most underrated and best tasting nut! Chad: I love eating Nonpareil fresh out of the field. Raw and sweet! Brandon Rebiero Co-Founder & Partner, Gold Leaf Farming Chad DeRose CEO, Famoso Nut Company ALMOND COMMUNITY Almond Board of California 2

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