Annual Meeting 2021
Today, we recognize partnership as one of Blue Diamond’s 5 core values. Last year, the importance of partnership was never more important.
In 2020, Blue Diamond Growers harvested a monster crop. The additional 120 million pounds alone were equivalent in size to the 3rd largest almond handler. Years of investment in markets, infrastructure and people made it possible for your co-op to gracefully handle all those almonds.
Mark Jansen President & CEO
executive team went proactively to your Board of Directors and said, “We can deliver incremental competitive return with these low almond prices. Instead of our planned $.13 beat, we want to deliver $.20.” As you can imagine, your board agreed. What we could not have anticipated was the heroic performance of team Blue Diamond . As many of you have already seen in your patronage payment, Blue Diamond delivered an incredible $.23 competitive return advantage. For a grower, this could have been the difference between losing money and having the profitability to continue investing in your farming operations. Amazingly, in part due to your record yields, our total distributable payments were within 3% of last year. With higher prices for the 2021 crop, we not only survived, we thrived. I am confident you agree, Blue Diamond ’s executive team is a dream team with the best people in the business. When you get the chance to meet them in person, please thank them for their integrity, partnership, and for finding ways to deliver extra payments when you most needed it. Special congratulations to Dean LaVallee for taking on new responsibilities in his promotion to COO and CFO.
Lesser known and as important as our impressive performance, is how the spirit of our partnership allowed Blue Diamond to deliver a record competitive return advantage. In the spring of 2020, with very healthy trees and perfect bloom weather prices plummeted by over $.80 a pound. Your executive team recognized that at these prices, many growers would no longer be profitable. We understood that the costs of all your key farm inputs were also increasing. Lower prices and higher costs are an ugly combination. I recall our CFO, Dean LaVallee, saying “We need to help our growers.” Fortunately, by building our global branded consumer franchise we are able to deliver incremental profit in lower priced almond markets. Last year, that work created a unique windfall. Any public company would have buried the profits and spent the money to make next year’s targets easier. That is not who we are. We are a co-op in partnership with our growers. Our
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