The Almond Hullers and Processors Association (AHPA) officially became the Almond Alliance of California (AAC) on Aug. 1, capping an 18-month process by the organization’s leadership team.
In explaining the changes, AAC Board Chairman Dick Cunningham said the changes reflect actions of the organization in previous years to serve a broader base of the almond industry than simply hullers and processors.
Earlier this year Cunningham told Western Farm Press that the organization’s core membership – hullers and processors – will continue to be served as the group’s mission expands to include growers.
“It’s crystal clear that the need has never been greater for advocacy on behalf of our multi-billion dollar industry on issues ranging from fumigants, pesticides, and food safety to water and trade,” said Cunningham. “There is a need for a unified advocacy voice and leadership in the California almond industry. Our leadership firmly believes the time is now to act and ensure the sustainability and future success of the California almond community.”
According to Cunningham, the organization has represented growers for years. It also partnered with the Almond Board of California (ABC) to advocate on behalf of the industry. As a federal marketing order the ABC is prohibited from advocacy and lobbying.
“Our memorandum of agreement with the Almond Board of California empowers us to pick up where ABC must leave off - advocating at any level of government - utilizing the investment growers have already made in research via the Almond Board to the fullest extent possible,” said AAC President Kelly Covello.
Almond Board President and CEO Richard Waycott applauded the AAC’s new direction and focus.
“Both of our organizations are focused squarely on the California almond community,” said Waycott.
The transition from the Almond Hullers and Processors Association to the AAC has been a lengthy and deliberate process over the past 18 months with a clear goal, Covello said.
“The Almond Alliance of California is the only trade association fully dedicated to advocating and protecting our members’ investment in the almond industry. A new focus means we are not the same organization. We continue to value and serve our core members, but our vision and name need to reflect a broader mandate.”