This year, one of our growers took on a very visible and time-consuming role on behalf of Blue Diamond , serving as the face of water efficiency for our industry on behalf of countless international and national media interviews. In the face of a drought that gained worldwide attention and questioned the very future of our industry, this grower offered viewers and readers an authentic portrait of almond farmers that was smart, strategic, and focused on the future. This year’s Chairman Ambassador of the Year is Christine Gemperle from District 6, an exceptional ambassador for our industry and for our Blue Diamond cooperative.
We are committed to fostering the next generation of ag leaders and are proud of Blue Diamond ’s long-term partnership with the California Future Farmers of America. What an incredible legacy. This year, Giving Tuesday is on November 30, and I’m proud that Blue Diamond will once again match donations to FFA up to $25,000 to help raise funds for those iconic blue jackets. To further help nurture our future leaders, we remain committed to our Blue Diamond Growers Scholarship Foundation. This year, 24 aspiring young men and women were awarded scholarships so they can build a bright future for agriculture and in our communities. Thank you for the generosity of our growers in making these scholarships possible. Thank you, John Monroe, for your contagious energy and leadership of the foundation committee this year. For the first time, we have a new way to increase financial support for our scholarship program through online donations. I also look forward to the fundraising golf tournament returning this spring. Finally, I want to highlight a program designed to inspire the next generation of leaders in our Blue Diamond co-op. We changed the name of the program from “Young Leaders” to “ Blue Diamond Leadership” to broaden participation of all those interested in leadership. Due to COVID restrictions, the 2020 class that kicked off in January 2020 had a unique experience. Given all the starts and stops, we have invited those class members to return in June 2022 to finish their program alongside the new 2022 class that will kick off in January.
One of the keys to our success as a co-op is the connection between our grower-owners and our cooperatives’ leadership, processing facilities and business functions. This year, Mark and his team restructured our Member Relations organization to make sure our field staff, our Regional Managers, had the resources needed to provide superior customer service to our growers. We created a northern and southern region and assembled a top-notch team within each.
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