Weathering the Challenges
The old adage, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” seems especially appropriate this spring. The unpredictable weather patterns over the last few months will certainly play a critical role in the success and size of this year’s crop.
Unseasonably warm weather that accelerated almond bloom, followed by significant frost events across the state, was an unfortunate combination that resulted in freeze damage to many growers’ orchards. While the extent of impact is still being assessed as I write this, growers in the Sacramento Valley were particularly affected. Our advocacy work through the Almond Alliance to secure disaster declaration for the impacted counties should bring growers much needed assistance. I also want to acknowledge the increased costs you are incurring on production inputs such as gas, diesel and fertilizer as well as the services and equipment needed to deliver your almonds. Fortunately, as you have demonstrated countless times throughout my tenure as your CEO, Blue Diamond growers are both resilient and resourceful. These attributes were highlighted through conversations I had with many of you during my recent visits with groups of growers throughout the valley. Through the strength of our growers and our co-op partnerships, I’m confident we’ll be able to face upcoming challenges and stay focused on maximizing grower returns. Speaking of partners, as part of Women’s History Month in March, we were honored to have four Blue Diamond growers — Cathy Marsh, Kelli Evans, Christine Gemperle, and Samantha Lewis — participate in a video discussion session with our team members. The group shared personal insights about life in the orchard and their roles as women leaders in ag
and business. I want to personally thank those four inspiring women again for taking the time out of their busy schedules to share with our team. It was nice to see that, this year, National Agriculture Day and California Agriculture Day were recognized back-to-back on March 22 and 23 respectively. We certainly appreciate any opportunity to shine a spotlight on the importance of the ag industry and America’s hard-working farmers and ranchers. The message themes for both days focused on sustainability and climate change — the national theme was “Growing a Climate for Tomorrow,” and the state theme was “Working lands. Human hands. Healthy plans.” With the impressive level of grower participation in Blue Diamond ’s Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program, our co-op has a great story to tell around sustainability. Key metrics and narrative being developed across all areas of the co-op will be captured in our first Sustainability Report to be released this November in conjunction with our co-op’s standard Annual Report. As you can see on the cover of this magazine issue, Blue Diamond is rolling out two new snack nut flavors in early summer — Korean BBQ and Elote. We’ve heard fantastic reviews of both, and I’m thrilled that we’re once again pushing the envelope of innovation to remain relevant with our consumers and deliver added value to our growers.
Mark Jansen President & CEO
A L M O N D F A C T S
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