By Audrey Hill
Student at Cal Poly
The results are in! The California Almond Board has just elected its 10 members for the new year and welcomes Chad DeRose to represent Kern County as one of its four Independent Handlers for a one-year term. DeRose works at Famoso Nut Company in McFarland where the company has processed and marketed California almonds to customers worldwide. The California Almond Board works with all 7,600 almond growers and 99 almond handlers of California. Mainly, the Board works with UC Davis to research health and nutrition of almonds, as well as help market almonds worldwide for California producers. These producers make up roughly 60% of the world’s supply of almonds, making the job for any board member a big one to say the least, but that does not discourage DeRose.
Mr. DeRose has been in the Central Valley almond industry for 14 years. Starting at the bottom in 2006, DeRose says he was “basically working in the huller doing maintenance and odd jobs.” He then worked his way to production oversight, then operations manager, and eventually global bulk almond sales. Aside from being living proof of the American Dream, he comments that he has “been fortunate enough to see most all aspects of our organization.” By working his way through the different levels of the almond producing industry, DeRose understands the production process like no other.
With a background in production and sales, DeRose knows that “getting a better understanding of the administrative and trade side will help [him] best represent our grower base.” DeRose also comments that “it is very important to be an active participant, especially in something that you are fully invested in.” By running and fortunately receiving the opportunity to be on the board, he is increasing his administrative and trade focused opportunities as well as being an active member of the almond growers community.
As the world changes—seemingly by the second these days—industries everywhere must too in order to stay current and relevant. DeRose comments that his main goals during his time in office are to “help drive the almond industry forward in an ever-changing world, through experience and understanding,” as well as by thinking critically and challenging complacency. From his many years of experience, DeRose understands the larger issues that face the almond industry today and how much these problems impact the producers of the Central Valley. DeRose says that these issues are mainly “water, trade barriers and relations, and building global demand with the increasing production,” and more currently, market crashes. As production expands, it is crucial for the industry to work around the tradeoffs that come with these issues. As with most things, complex problems need complex solutions, and no one answer can solve these large questions posed by the whole almond industry. DeRose understands this delicacy and will be “putting time into thinking about these problems and helping the board work towards solving these problems.”
The first step in understanding and making solutions to these larger issues is reflecting on the issues that are seen inside our local California almond producing market. DeRose commented that communication can be improved between board members in the southern and northern parts of the valley as well as between the relatively high amounts of growers and low amounts of handlers. DeRose says the board can also work more closely with other nations to increase consumption outside of the US. This would most likely include marketing with advertisements and social media and finding ways to reduce risk for importers, however difficult during a market crash.
Chad DeRose says that he is very excited to begin his term on the California Almond Board and is proud to continue to work in this industry he calls home. He is committed to representing Central Valley almond producers the best he can, and willing to ask the hard questions to do so. He comments that in the almond industry “each day is something new—you really don’t know what challenges you will be facing,” but that is what keeps him coming back day after day.
Congratulations to Mr. Chad DeRose on your election to the California Almond Board!