Earlimart grower seated on state’s Almond Board

Joe Gardiner from Earlimart is one of 10 total member, one of five grower members on newly seated Almond Board of California

MODESTO – An Earlimart grower is now one of 10 members on one of the Valley’s most important agricultural boards.

Last week, the Almond Board of California (ABC) seated Joe Gardiner as a new voting member. According to an ABC press release, Gardiner took his seat on Wednesday, Aug. 11. The ABC board sets policy and recommends budgets in major areas including production research, public relations and advertising, nutrition research, statistical reporting, quality control and food safety.

“This is a knowledgeable, talented board and Joe is an outstanding addition,” Board Chair Brian Wahlbrink said. “Our board members come from across our industry and around our state. They bring a great energy and an impressive range of experience, and we’re all eager to continue moving.

There are 10 members on the board in whole, five of which are growers. Three represent independent growers and two represent growers working with cooperatives. The other five members “handler members.”

The other new grower representatives are:

  • Paul Ewing, an independent from RPAC Almonds in Los Banos. He was re-elected and takes a 1-year term.
  • Christine Gemperle, a co-op grower from Gemperle Orchards in Ceres. She was also a former alternate and takes a 3-year term.

The new handler representatives are:

  • Darren Rigg, an independent handler from Minturn Nut Co in Le Grand. He was re-elected and takes a 1-year term.
  • Bob Silveria, an independent handler from Vann Family Orchards in Williams. He will serve a 3-year term.

In addition, the board has five new alternates:

  • Brandon Rebeiro, an independent grower from Gold Leaf Farming in Modesto.
  • Chris Bettencourt, an independent grower from Westley.
  • Kent Stenderup, a co-op grower from Stenderup Ag Partners in Bakersfield and former chair of the ABC Board.
  • Dexter Long, an independent handler from Hilltop Ranch in Ballico. He was re-elected as an alternate.
  • Chad DeRose, an independent handler from Famoso Nut Co. in McFarland. He was also re-elected as an alternate.

ABC is a Federal Marketing Order dedicated to promoting California almonds to domestic and international audiences through marketing efforts and by funding and promoting research about almonds’ health benefits, efficient and sustainable farming, food safety and more. ABC works on behalf of the more than 7,600 almond growers and processors in California, many of whom are multi-generational family operations.

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