In an overwhelming show of confidence in the Almond Board of California, the state's almond growers once again voted in favor of continuing the federal marketing order for California almonds. Federal Marketing Order 981 requires the continuance referendum to take place every five years.
Voting in the referendum took place from Feb. 18 through March 7; growers who produced almonds within the state of California between Aug. 1, 2012, and July 31, 2013, were eligible to vote.
In order for the referendum to pass, at least two-thirds of eligible producers voting or two-thirds of the volume represented by those voting needed to vote in favor of continuance.
In this referendum, 91 percent of eligible growers who voted and 94 percent of the volume represented favored continuing the marketing order, Martin Engeler, regional director of the California Marketing Field Office of U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service, wrote in a letter to ABC Chairman Bill Harp. USDA-ARS administers federal marketing orders.
"It is gratifying to know that the work of the Almond Board is recognized by the growers we serve as essential to their success, and contributes to keeping California almonds the nut of choice around the world, and a crop of choice here at home," Harp said upon receiving the news.
The Federal Marketing Order for almonds was established in 1950 at the request of the almond industry. At that time, it dealt primarily with compliance issues, and accordingly, was called the Almond Control Board. In the 1970s, recognizing a need to address market development, the name was changed to the Almond Board of California.
While compliance is still a crucial part of its activities, the board now engages in production, environmental, food safety, nutrition and market research, as well as advertising and promotion in domestic and international markets, quality control and statistical analysis and dissemination.