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California Prune Board Announces Incoming Officers, Members

California Prunes

The California Prune Board has seated its 22-member board and 16 alternates for the 2022-24 term. Following certification of the election by the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture, the new board approved the 2022-23 fiscal year programs and budget at its June board meeting.

The California Prune Board officers are:

  • Chair: George Sousa Jr., president of Mariani Packing Co., Vacaville, California;
  • Vice Chair: Mike Vereschagin, Vereschagin Farms, Orland, California;
  • Secretary: Dan Bozzo, Triple B Ranch, Gridley, California; and
  • Treasurer: Rajeev Davit, Davit Ranches, Yuba City, California.

“Our values as a board keep us driven towards quality and continuous improvement, and I’m honored to continue serving as board chairman alongside dedicated individuals who share a vision of creating a world more enthusiastic about California Prunes,” Sousa Jr. said.

“Our industry – like all of agriculture today – has its challenges, but the CPB has been around for 70 years, and we believe in the power of our product and the importance of a vital industry for generations to come.” 

The newly seated board will serve through May 2024.

“California Prune growers and handlers have proven to be resilient, strategic and disciplined in producing a premium fruit that is enjoyed domestically and in export markets around the world,” said Donn Zea, executive director, California Prune Board.

“Alongside our industry stakeholders, we are dedicated to helping the trade and consumers alike discover the many wonders that California Prunes offer – from health and nutrition benefits, exceptional taste, premium quality, unmatched versatility – and so much more.”

The board will focus on advancing the key CPB priority areas that have been determined with input from numerous industry members and the executive committee. Focus areas include:

  • Nutrition research;
  • Trade policy and market support;
  • Industry unification;
  • Production research; and
  • Expanding global visibility for California Prunes.

California Prune Board membership is composed of 22 board seats that are elected by the industry, organized by seven districts and a non-industry public member. The officers are selected by the newly seated board members for their leadership roles.

The California Prune Board was established in 1952 to represent growers and handlers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture. California is the world’s largest producer of prunes, providing about 40 percent of the world’s supply and more than 90 percent of the U.S. supply. There are more than 36,000 bearing acres of California Prune orchards producing an average of 80,000 tons each year.

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