With a theme of “Rising to the Challenge,” the 111th Blue Diamond Growers Annual Meeting highlighted the people that help power California’s largest almond cooperative.
In a virtual presentation to Blue Diamond almond growers, Mark Jansen, president and CEO of Blue Diamond Growers, and Dan Cummings, Blue Diamond Growers Board chairman and director, District 1, provided business updates and acknowledged key milestones for the cooperative.
Cummings and two board members either new to the board or recently re-elected to continue service were also announced, including:
- George A. te Velde, director, District 4, Escalon, California; and
- Nick Blom, director, District 6, Modesto, California.
Following the meeting, Cummings was selected to continue his role as board chair and board member Steve Van Duyn, District 5, Modesto, California, was named vice chair for the board. Additionally, in August, Kristen Daley of San Francisco was named as a new director-at-large, completing the 11-person board.
“The exceptional leadership and dedication of our board is invaluable in guiding Blue Diamond Growers toward a continued successful future,” said Jansen. “I’m grateful for each of them and the wisdom and perspectives they bring to the co-op, along with their willingness to invest their time and talents to help address challenges and embrace opportunities.”
Retiring board members Charles Crivelli III of District 6, Turlock, California, and Kevin Fondse of, District 4, Ripon/Escalon, California, also were recognized as part of the annual meeting program.
During his presentation, Cummings announced Christine Gemperle, District 6, as the 2021 Chairman’s Grower Ambassador of the Year. A self-described “science nerd,” Gemperle and her brother farm 135 acres of almonds in Ceres, California. She is dedicated to sustainable almond production and focuses extensively on water savings, orchard weed control, integrated pest management, soil health and more.
“Christine is a remarkable ambassador for Blue Diamond Growers and the California almond industry as a whole,” said Cummings. “Each day, she practices what she preaches in terms of hands-on, ‘real-world’ sustainability, and she also helps to educate countless consumers about what the almond industry is doing to produce a wholesome, sustainable crop for all to enjoy – generation after generation.”
Cummings announced that in 2021, one-third of Blue Diamond almond growers achieved the gold level of the California Almond Sustainability Program rigorous assessment initiative, while another two-thirds accomplished either the silver or bronze CASP achievement level.
In his meeting remarks, Jansen acknowledged numerous challenges facing California agriculture and Blue Diamond almond growers, including the drought, supply chain disruptions, ongoing pandemic impacts, rising input costs, labor shortages, inflation and more.
“Even with the remarkable headwinds that we face, we are capable of extraordinary success and rising to the challenges,” said Jansen. “We are resilient and were able to exceed targeted grower returns in 2021 – thanks to the perseverance of the growers themselves and the strength of the Blue Diamond Growers team. I truly believe the best is yet to come.”
Blue Diamond Growers, a grower-owned cooperative representing more than 3,000 of California’s almond growers, is the world’s leading almond marketer and processor. Established in 1910, it created the California almond industry and opened world markets for almonds.
Headquartered in Sacramento, the company employs more than 1,800 people throughout its processing plants, receiving stations and gift shops. To learn more about Blue Diamond Growers, visit bluediamond.com.