California almonds in the shell

California almonds in the shell

Almond conference blossoms as industry grows

I like attending industry meetings not only for the information shared during formal presentations, but the nuggets of news one can gather from impromptu conversations with others.

The almond conference in Sacramento is one of the events I’ve been fortunate to attend over the years. I go back to the days the Almond Board of California (ABC) was located in a small office building at 12th and K streets in downtown Modesto and held its annual meeting up the street at the Modesto Convention Center.

Like the industry it represents, the Almond Board has grown and venues have changed. ABC offices are now on the top floor of a downtown Modesto high rise a few blocks from the old office location and the annual industry gathering has since moved to the Sacramento Convention Center because it simply outgrew the Modesto facilities.

The December gathering of the almond industry in downtown Sacramento is the fourth such meeting in the capital city, according to ABC Industry Relations Manager Jenny Nicolau.

Since moving to Sacramento attendance has risen dramatically. Nicolau tells me that over 3,500 people attended the event, of which 1,900 checked in on the first day, a number equal to the total attendance at the last almond conference held in Modesto.

This year’s conference included 45 sessions on four concurrent tracks with information vital to growers, PCA’s, processors and food safety folks. This year’s trade show had 270 exhibit spaces, up 100 from four years ago.

I want to say how much I appreciate those taking time to stop me in the trade show or elsewhere at the convention to compliment me personally or to say nice things about Western Farm Press. It’s certainly appreciated.

To me agriculture is an industry about people – human beings with a passion for what they do that, at the end of the day, has an intrinsic value to us all. Agriculture has a story that is as rich in history as it is interesting in its use of technology to achieve remarkable things.

I encourage everyone to find a way in this New Year to share agriculture’s story beyond the social media meme and help someone else better understand the process of moving food from farm to fork.

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