Blue Diamond Almond Facts July-August 2021

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Both Salida and Turlock facilities become California Green Business Certified by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

Meet the BDG Foundation Scholarship Recipients

Salida and Turlock Sites Receive Green Business Network Certification

NEW Article Series: Sustainably Speaking with Dr. Dan

Blue Diamond Growers does not endorse or verify statements made by advertisers within this publication.





26 Meet the Blue Diamond Growers Foundation Scholarship Recipients

6 President’s Corner Mark looks forward to harvest season and the potential for another large crop Blue Diamond will be receiving. He also speaks of Blue Diamond ’s commitment to efficiently using our water in the face of the drought. 13 Big Win for Salida and Turlock: Green Business Certified The BDG plants in Salida and Turlock have become Green Business Certified by the Modesto CoC’s California Green Business Network, Stanislaus County program. Blue Diamond is the first business in the county to receive this recognition for demonstrating sustainability as a top business priority.

24 young people were selected to receive a scholarship for the 2021–2022 academic year. Learn a little about these students who strive to be positive influences on the future of agriculture and in their communities. 36 “Sustainably Speaking” with Dr. Dan BDG’s Director of Sustainability, Dr. Dan Sonke, dives into the real deal on water and almonds. Stay up to speed on the latest from Dr. Dan as he launches this new column, which will appear in every other issue of Almond Facts.

ON THE COVER: “Blue Diamond Goes Green” Both Stanislaus County Facilities Now Recognized as Part of Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s California Green Business Network, Stanislaus.


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BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dan Cummings, Chairman of the Board | Chico Dale Van Groningen, Vice Chairman | Ripon John Monroe | Arbuckle Kevin Fondse | Ripon

Stephen Van Duyn | Modesto Charles Crivelli III | Turlock Dan Mendenhall | Winton

Blue Diamond , the world’s largest processor and marketer of almonds, exports to over 100 countries. Almond Facts , established in 1922, is published bimonthly by Blue Diamond Growers , 1802 C Street, Sacramento, California 95811, phone: 916.442.0771. Address all correspondence to the Editor, Almond Facts , P.O. Box 1768, Sacramento, California 95812. Advertising subscription rates provided upon request. Blue Diamond is a registered trademark and marketing brand of Blue Diamond Growers . Other registered trademarks are The Almond People, Smokehouse, Golden State, Celebration, From the Valleys of California, Confetti and Almond Facts . Blue Diamond Growers does not endorse or verify statements made by advertisers within this publication. Blue Diamond reserves the right to refuse advertising. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Matthew Efird | Fresno Kent Stenderup | Arvin Joe Huston | Monterey OFFICERS Mark Jansen, President and CEO Dean LaVallee, Chief Financial Officer ALMOND FACTS STAFF Blue Diamond Growers Communications Department, Mel Machado, Contributing Photographer Gray Allen, Advertising Sales 916.783.4334 & 916.765.3234

© Blue Diamond Growers 2021

THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP In a year like no other, your partnership made all the difference. American AgCredit is pleased to distribute a full 1% in cash patronage to our members — a record $142 million for 2020, and more than $830 million since 2005.

It pays to be a member.


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Unwavering Confidence in Our Future At this time last year, our industry was bracing for a monster, record-sized almond harvest, unlike any we had seen before. Coupled with the supply chain obstacles such as global shipping challenges and the height of the pandemic, there was a fair amount of uncertainty, even for those of us who had been strategically planning for a record crop.

As we near the end of the 2020 crop year, we can certainly look back with a sense of accomplishment. To date, almond industry shipments have already surpassed last year’s record shipments and are expected to exceed 2.8 billion lbs. by the end of August. As a result, we were able to successfully absorb 2020’s record 3.1 billion lb. crop in a single year, with modest carryover. The confidence we gained should serve us well in the upcoming year. This year’s National Statistical Service (NASS) Objective estimate calls for a 2.8 billion lb. almond crop. Many of us were surprised to see such wide variation between the Subjective (3.2 billion) and Objective estimates and the explanations behind the 13% swing are complex. Frankly, we won’t really know precise numbers until we have substantially received the crop, likely not until December. From your co-op’s standpoint, we anticipate and are operationally planning for a good- sized crop. Harvest is right around the corner, and I know many growers are pulling out their equipment and getting ready to shake. In the southern part of the central valley, we are already seeing nuts on the ground which signals harvest a week earlier than in most years. We will be watching the yield numbers and observing any stress on the trees from last year’s record crop that reduces kernel size and weight.

I’m sure you’ve seen that the drought in California is garnering attention around the globe. The media has reached out to the Almond Board as well as to me and some of our grower members to discuss the impacts of the drought on the crop. A consistent theme this year, that we didn’t really see in 2015/2016, is transparent discussion of climate change. Fortunately, through that conversation, the almond industry and agriculture in general have appropriately been painted as a victim of a changing climate versus a villain in terms of water consumption. Our key messaging as a co-op has been to highlight our growers’ commitment to sustainability and water efficiency. You can read more about our efforts in a new regular Almond Facts column by Sustainability Director Dr. Dan Sonke on page 36. We’ve also been able to successfully promote the sustainability of our Blue Diamond facilities as both our Salida and Turlock campuses earned certification as Green Businesses over the last few months. More information about that recognition can be found on page 13. Best of luck to you, our growers, as we enter the busiest time of the year – we’re here to support you during harvest and every step of the way.

Mark Jansen President & CEO

Mark Jansen President & CEO




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Regional Managers

Vice President Member Relations Mel Machado

Glenn, Butte, Tehama, Placer, Yuba & Sutter Christine Ivory, (530) 518-9109

Colusa, Yolo & Solano John Aja, (530) 338-6440

(209) 545-6222 – Salida (209) 531-6352 – Cellular Director, Northern Region Ben Goudie (209) 225-0413 Director, Southern Region Jeremy Basich (209) 446-2107

Sacramento, Calaveras, Alameda & San Joaquin West of Austin Rd Ben Goudie, (209) 225-0413 Stanislaus County North of Tuolumne River & West of San Joaquin River Justin Elam, (209) 303-7306 San Joaquin East of Austin Rd; Stanislaus South of Tuolumne, East of San Joaquin River & West of Hwy 99; Merced North of the Merced River, West of Hwy 99 KC Stone, (209) 596-5375 Stanislaus South of Tuolumne River, East of 99 & Merced North of Merced River, East of 99 Brian Noeller, (209) 417-2010 Merced County, West of 99 & South of Merced River, East of 99, North of Hwy 140 Trent Voss, (209) 470-5981 Merced County, South of Hwy 140 & Madera County, North of Ave 12 Membership Office, (209) 545-6225 Southern Madera County & Northern Fresno County Ashley Correia, (559) 356-1584


Southern Fresno & Kings Counties Meggie Gilbert, (559) 470-9731

Tulare & Kern Counties Jeremy Basich, (209) 446-2107

South Valley Training & Development Mike Griffin, (559) 779-6400 Membership Office Jennifer Claussen – Membership Coordinator (209) 545-6225 Daniel Dekeyrel – Membership Assistant ( Delivery Tags ) (209) 545-6261 Grower Accounting Joe Lavagnino – Grower Accounting Manager (916) 446-8591 Kristie Ezell – Grower Accounting Coordinator (916) 446-8368 Erika Martin – Grower Accounting Assistant (916) 446-8385



2021 Grower Liaisons




Brian Erickson Stacy Gore Jerry Montz Kevin Davies John Nock Raymond Antonowich Darren Rice P. Samantha Lewis

Don Bransford Ryan Finnen Brian Cahill Michael F. Doherty Kelli Evans Jim Peart Brook Bachmann Cathy Marsh Sid La Grande

Chairman Vice-Chairman Ex-Of ficio Director Appointed (Member-at-Large)

Almond Board Alternate Almond Board Director Almond Board Chair

Chris Alves Luke Konyn Robert Thill Dan Cummings W. Howard Isom Steve Carlos

Joe Martinez Sarah Pippit t John Monroe

Elaine Rominger Gerald Rominger Maryann Warmerdam



Don Van Vliet Rick Phillips Louie Tallerico

Kevin Van Laar Rick Morris Paul Adrian Will Drost Wes Eisenga Robin Giuntoli Joe Gasper John Almeida

Michael M. Petz Lloyd Van Dyken Bruce Oosterkamp Craig Miller Ian Koetsier Nick Alta Chris Rishwain Jack Dalton Dale Van Groningen

Phil Mohler Jake Sonke Bryan Van Groningen

For Grower Liaison contact information, please contact your regional manager.

Kevin Fondse Kenneth Roos Wayne Bruns

John Thoming Mike Boget ti






John De Visser Manuel Furtado Lucas Van Duyn Jack Hoekstra Sonny Johns Sid Miller Gary Darpinian Eric Heinrich Naomi A. Layland Alex Vanderstoel Ryan Valk Stephen Van Duyn Neil Van Duyn Grant Ardis

Frank Borba Trent Voss Michael Mora

Ryan Indart Lee Erickson

Gurcharon Dhillon Kyle Balakian Keith Gilbert David Snell

Galen Miyamoto Joe Sansoni Jimmi Atwal Jim Snyder Victor Yamamoto Bobby Deol Alan Sano Frank Fagundes Jef frey Baize Tim Lohman Rick Scoto Dan Mendenhall Robert J. Weimer Louie Bandoni

Norman Pretzer David Massaro Jerry Rai Anthony Basila Dan Wat tenbarger David Tolmosof f Robert Allen Jens Finderup RJ Maan Mat t Efird George Goshgarian Aldo Sansoni Steve Bains

Richard Gemperle David M. Genzoli Paul Lara Darryl Starn Christine Gemperle Don Clark Jared Serpa Hal Carlton Charles Crivelli III Steve Vilas Bill Brush Paul Danborn

John Allen Don Davis

Chris Vanborg Mark Fanucchi Doug Kindig Ray Van Beek Kent Stenderup Clinton Shick Karamjit Jhandi


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Blue Diamond Growers Member Relations Re-Organization For many Blue Diamond members, the first, and occasionally only contact with cooperative management is through their Regional Manager. The local Regional Manager serves as the day-to-day liaison between Blue Diamond’s management and the member/growers on their farming operations providing a wealth of information, covering all facets of almond production to the member community.

Throughout the history the Blue Diamond Growers cooperative, the legacy of our field staff is quite rich. Daryl Brun, Rob Kiss, Dave Baker, Bob Ketcher, Steve Rothenberg and Gerry Guthrie each served growers in their areas for 25 to 30 years and are renowned for their expertise in almond production. Recent years have brought about significant changes in Blue Diamond operations. Industry acreage continues to grow and annual production either challenges or surpasses previous records nearly every year. The increasing statewide production necessitated a review of Blue Diamond operations and marketing programs, ultimately driving the cooperative to close membership. This allowed Blue Diamond to optimize its operations on all levels, maximizing production efficiencies within the plants while expanding marketing programs. All efforts focus on the cooperativeʼs mission – to maximize the return to the growers who entrust Blue Diamond with their almonds. The evolution of Blue Diamond ’s strategic direction also brought about a change in the role of the Regional Manager. While Field Staff at one point had a primary role in recruiting growers to join the cooperative, with membership closure, other activities have assumed greater priority. These activities, in the form of “Strategic Initiatives” serve to minimize risks to the cooperative’s operations and maximize value to the membership. Examples of the initiatives include: •Delivery Quality Working with huller/shellers to minimize chipped and broken kernels. Presentations to grower groups and Pest Control Advisors to minimize reject levels.

•Sustainability Enrolling members in the California Almond Sustainability Program and the Blue Diamond Sustainability Incentive Program. •Social Media Identifying and providing support to growers who wish to participate in social media outreach campaigns to promote almond growing and the cooperative and connect growers to consumers and the general public. •Mapping Identifying member orchards on Land IQ base maps to facilitate production risk analysis. During 2020 & 2021, a full Member Relations program review was completed utilizing the services of an external consultant, with input from Blue Diamond management, the Board of Directors, current and former Regional Managers, and Blue Diamond members. The central purpose of the review was:

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“To define Member Relations Division’s organizational structure and roles of the Regional Managers to more effectively drive the Blue Diamond Growers supply strategy and build even stronger member relationships.” The program review identified several key changes in the structure of the Member Relations Division aimed at optimizing field staff activities while enhancing the services and value delivered to the membership. •Transition Mel Machado away from the daily management of the team into a more strategic role to increase his impact throughout the cooperative enterprise. •Divide the daily management and leadership of the field staff between two Director positions to provide daily leadership and team management. •Create a framework to enhance two-way communication with member/growers. •Identify Service Levels to meet the specific needs of the membership. •Create a capability development program to increase Regional Manager team knowledge and skills. Resulting Staff Changes As a result of the review, several changes in the Member Relations organization have occurred over the past few months. •Mel Machado was named Vice President of Member Relations. •Ben Goudie, who previously served as Membership Development Manager, has been named the new Director, Member Relations-North. Ben is now responsible for management of the Regional Manager team from Stanislaus County, north to Tehama County. In addition to his management responsibilities, Ben will also serve Blue Diamond ’s members in District 3, covering Alameda, Calaveras, Sacramento, and San Joaquin County west of Austin Road.

•Jeremy Basich joined the staff as Director, Member Relations-South. Jeremy brings experience in produce marketing and from the Independent handling side of the almond industry. Jeremy is responsible for managing the Regional Manager team from Merced County, south to Kern County. Jeremy will also serve the Blue Diamond members in Tulare and Kern counties. •Kabir Tumber previously served Blue Diamond within the Global Consumer Marketing organization as a Senior Category Management Analyst. Kabir joined the Member Relations team as Membership Development Manager, which was previously filled by Ben Goudie. Kabir holds a Bachelors in Managerial Economic and a Masters in Agricultural Economics from UC Davis. Prior to joining Blue Diamond , Kabir served as an analyst gaining working knowledge on Geographic Information Systems and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. There have also been changes within the ranks of the Regional Managers, realigning staff assignments in some areas and adding several new people to the team.

Continuing as members of the Member Relations Team:

Christine Ivory KC Stone Justin Elam

Brian Noeller Mike Griffin

Joining the Member Relations Team John Aja, joins the staff, bringing experience in grower relations from Foster Farms. Trent Voss, previously served as a Pest Control Advisor for tree nut growers in Stanislaus County. Ken Miyamoto, joins the team after serving as an Agricultural Biologist with the Merced County Department of Agriculture.* Ashley Correia brings her experience with the field relations staff at the Almond Board of California. Meggie Gilbert comes to Blue Diamond after working as an area manager for Simplot and BASF Crop Protection.


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The changes to the Member Relations organization also necessitated a few adjustments in area assignments.

Finally, Mike Griffin, who has served Blue Diamond ’s members in Madera and Fresno counties for 28 years has announced his intent to retire at the end of 2021. Mike will complete his career coordinating the training and development of the new Regional Managers, passing on the wealth of experience he possesses.

•Districts 1 & 2 Glenn, Butte, Tehama, Placer, Yuba & Sutter – Christine Ivory Colusa, Yolo & Solano – John Aja

Commitment to Members Each of the changes above in the Member Relations

•District 3 Sacramento, Calaveras, Alameda, & San Joaquin west of Austin Rd – Ben Goudie

organization has been focused on demonstrating commitment to Blue Diamond ’s members and increasing the value delivered to the member/grower community. In the coming months, the Member Relations team will be working to optimize their activities. This will include identifying service levels to efficiently deliver the services and support members require while maximizing the opportunities to fulfill the strategic needs of the cooperative. * Ken Miyamoto’s start date with Blue Diamond Growers is August 16, 2021.

•District 4 San Joaquin east of Austin Rd – KC Stone

•District 5 Stanislaus north of Tuolumne River and west of San Joaquin River- Justin Elam , who previously served as Regional Manager in District 7. •District 6 Stanislaus south of Tuolumne River, west of 99 & east of San Joaquin River – KC Stone Stanislaus south of Tuolumne River, east of 99 & Merced north of Merced River, east of 99 – Brian Noeller •District 7 Merced County, West of 99 & South of Merced River, East of 99, North of Hwy 140 – Trent Voss Merced County, South of Hwy 140 and Madera County, North of Ave 12 – Ken Miyamoto

Mel Machado VP Member Relations Blue Diamond Growers

•District 8 Madera & Fresno south of Ave 12 north of Central Ave – Ashley Correia Fresno south of Central Ave and all of Kings – Meggie Gilbert

•District 9 Tulare and Kern – Jeremy Basich



Blue Diamond Goes Green! Two Sites Certified With the Green Business Network

Both Stanislaus County Facilities Now Recognized as Part of Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s California Green Business Network, Stanislaus

Following a comprehensive certification process, the Blue Diamond Growers plants in Salida and Turlock have earned distinction by becoming Green Business Certified by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s California Green Business Network, Stanislaus County

Dennis Bettencourt, the site has successfully diverted more than 18 tons of waste from the landfill for more optimal uses, among other achievements in reducing water and energy usage. “We are proud that Blue Diamond ’s priority on sustainability is being recognized” said Bettencourt. “We are honored by this recognition, as well as motivated to continue providing Blue Diamond almonds to the world in a way that honors, respects and preserves the planet and the natural resources that mean so much to all of us.” Both Green Business Certified recognitions were organized by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce just as Turlock’s state-of-the-art 250,000-square-foot plant celebrated its eight anniversary in June. “ Blue Diamond Growers has a long-standing commitment to implementing sustainable practices across all of our facilities and in our almond orchards, too,” said Mark Jansen, President and CEO of Blue Diamond Growers . “This recognition further demonstrates that we are committed to doing our part to build a healthier and more sustainable future for our local communities through adopting new technologies and practices that improve our sustainability efforts. We are proud to have not one, but two facilities to have earned this honor and important recognition.”

program. Blue Diamond is the first business in the county to receive this recognition for demonstrating sustainability as a top business priority. The Salida plant earned their certification in April with the Turlock site following close behind in June. The Green Business Certified honor goes to companies that achieve a verified set of standards, including reducing water use, conserving energy, preventing pollution, increasing recycling, avoiding waste, encouraging alternative transportation, and partnering with other local vendors. Salida’s certification came on the heels of growth and positive milestones at the Salida facility. In 2020, a multi-year construction plan was completed including the addition of a 50-million-pound-capacity Brown Almond Bulk Warehouse. The new warehouse is the second facility of similar capacity recently built at the site. According to Salida Site Leader,

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2021 Board of Directors and Grower Liaison Committee Election Reminder

Petition forms for both Board of Directors and Grower Liaison Committee are available from your Regional Manager or the Blue Diamond Growers Website at

Blue Diamond members are encouraged to exercise one of their rights and responsibilities as owners of the cooperative: electing members of the Board of Directors and Grower Liaison Committees. The annual election is an opportunity to help shape policy or represent your district by running for a seat on the Board of Directors or the Grower Liaison Committee. Board of Directors: Each Blue Diamond district elects one Director to shape Cooperative policy and affirm the Cooperative business strategy. The Director positions from Districts 1, 4 and 6 are standing for election during the 2021 cycle. Incumbent Dan Cummings (District 1) is seeking reelection. Incumbents Kevin Fondse (District 4) and Charles Crivelli III (District 6) are not seeking re-election. To learn more about the responsibilities of a Director, we strongly encourage you to contact any current Director. Requirement for nomination: • A petition signed by 15 Blue Diamond members from the district in which the potential nominee wishes to run, filed by September 1st .

The following are the directorial district designations:

District 1: Tehama, Butte, Glenn, Shasta, Plumas, Lassen, Modoc, Siskiyou, Trinity, Humboldt, Del Norte Counties. District 2: Colusa, Yolo, Solano, Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, Sutter, Yuba, Sacramento, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador Counties. District 3: Contra Costa, Alameda, Calaveras, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara Counties and the portion of San Joaquin County west and north of a line described as follows: from the southern San Joaquin County line one-fourth mile west of Austin Road north to Highway 99; then one-fourth mile east of Austin Road north to Road J7; then east to Jack Tone Road; then north to Highway 4; then east to the San Joaquin County line. District 4: The portion of San Joaquin County east and south of the same line described in District 3. District 5: The portion of Stanislaus County north of the Tuolumne River and east of the San Joaquin River. District 6: The portion of Stanislaus County south of the Tuolumne River and west of the San Joaquin River. District 7: Merced County north of Highway 140 and the San Joaquin River. District 8: Merced County south of Highway 140 and the San Joaquin River, Madera, Mariposa and Fresno Counties.

Grower Liaison Committees: Each Blue Diamond district has a Grower Liaison

Committee (GLC) made up of nine growers elected by the membership in their respective districts for three-year terms, plus three members appointed by the committee. Three GLC positions in each district are up for election each year. The GLCs meet twice each year with their district director and management to receive business and crop updates. Requirement for nomination: • A petition signed by five Blue Diamond members from the district in which the potential nominee wishes to run, filed by September 1st .

District 9: Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties.

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Big Win for XTREMES in the People Food Awards!

After taste testers sampled over 2,000 different foods to find the very best new products on grocery store shelves, Blue Diamond ´s XTREMES Cayenne Pepper Almonds won People magazine´s ‘Best Nuts’ in their ‘Best Supermarket Products of the Year’ exclusive. One staff member from People said: ˝It´s hard not to eat the whole can!˝

Blue Diamond an Official Sponsor of USA Surfing Team Surf’s up! The Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympic Games kicked off on Friday, July 23. We’re so excited that Blue Diamond is an official sponsor of the USA Surfing Team in Surfing’s debut as a new Olympic competition. Go Team USA!



BLUE DIAMOND INVESTMENT PROGRAMS Current Investment Rates available as of June 1, 2021

Blue Diamond Growers offers members short-term and long- term investment programs. The objective of these programs is to serve as a competitive investment alternative for our members and provide Blue Diamond Growers with a steady source of funds. The interest rates effective June 1, 2021, for the program are listed here:

Short-Term Investment Certificate (STIC)

Long-Term Investment Certificate (LTIC) (Maturity Date of 6/30/2024)

Initial Investment Required



Interest Rate



(Variable, subject to change)

(Fixed rate)

For more information, contact your local Regional Manager, or Member Services at (209) 545-6225.

This summary does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to purchase investment certificates. We will provide a package of documents for the programs to those members who are California residents and who express an interest in participating in the program.


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#WeAreBlueDiamond Social Media Activity

Take a look at how the summer stacked up for Blue Diamond ! The Nut & Gift Shop celebrated the 4th of July with a patriotic display. Dip into the celebration of Pollinator Week. Take a quick glance at the success of our summer intern program. And applaud the nonprofit organizations that received grants from Blue Diamond ’s Community Giving Program.

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Almond Flour Arepas with Black Beans, Guacamole, & Radishes (Gluten-Free) Cooking Time: 46 minutes Difficulty: Easy Serves: Up to 4

Ingredients • 1 cup Blue Diamond Almond Flour • ¼ teaspoon salt • ¼ teaspoon baking soda • 1 egg white • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 1 teaspoon lime juice • ½ cup prepared guacamole • ¾ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed • 2 thinly sliced radishes • Crumbled queso fresco, optional

Directions 1. S tir the first 6 ingredients in a bowl to form a dough. Divide into 4 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time, roll into a ball and place on a sheet of plastic wrap. Top with a second sheet. Roll or press into a 5-inch circle. Place tostada, still in plastic, in the refrigerator. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill tostadas 30 minutes. 2. Heat a non-stick skillet lightly sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. Working with one tostada at a time, peel off top layer of plastic. Invert into pan, and peel away top sheet of plastic. Cook 45 seconds per side or until set and beginning to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Continue with remaining tostadas, lightly spraying the pan with cooking spray between each one. 3. Top each tostada with 2 tablespoons guacamole and 3 tablespoons black beans. Top evenly with sliced radish and top with queso fresco, if desired.

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Blue Diamond Summer Internship off to a Great Start! Blue Diamond welcomed 14 college interns across all three sites for a 12-week summer internship. The goal of Blue Diamond ’s Intern Program is to develop future talent through meaningful, project-based work, cohort group meetings, development sessions, team building events, field and site tours, and regular coaching. Our interns will be involved in Manufacturing, Engineering, Innovation, R&D, Process Improvement, IT and Procurement. We are certain that they will absorb valuable insight into the almond industry while learning new marketable skills and developing key relationships within their teams in Sacramento, Salida, and Turlock. The first collective session kicked off in Sacramento where Jheri Anderson led the interns through their DISC profiles, showing them the significant benefits that diverse personality types bring to the workplace. Then, Director of Sustainability Dan Sonke, taught the interns more about the co-op and the almond industry and engaged them in a vibrant Q&A session.

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Introducing: Ashley Correia, BDG’s Newest Regional Manager

AF: What led you to become a Regional Manager ?

A: A couple of my field mentors were Field Representatives at Blue Diamond and taught me the Blue Diamond Way. I would go on industry ride-alongs with them and knew that one day I would enjoy this type of position.

AF: What is one of your greatest passions in this industry ?

A: I love what the industry stands for. It is great to work with family organizations that have been around for many years. AF: We heard you helped create a GPS application that locates pest detection traps in the county. Could you tell us about that ? A: Yes, I helped create a program that allowed the Pest Detection Trappers to properly GPS locate the insect traps in different trees and plants around the county. As an inspector overseeing the process, we were easily able to monitor our team as they completed servicing the traps in the county. AF: What are you looking forward to the most as you begin your career with Blue Diamond ? A: I am looking forward to working with a great team and building relationships with growers and industry members in my coverage area.

Almond Facts (AF): You’re no stranger to the almond industry. How did you get involved in agriculture ? Ashley (A): I grew up in a small farm town of Lemoore and joined the FFA program at Lemoore High. I enjoyed learning about the agriculture industry and knew that I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture. I went to Fresno State and graduated in 2013 with a B.S in Ag Business. AF: Could you share an exciting highlight about working in agriculture ? A: Helping a grower fix an irrigation issue in their orchard that helped fix an issue that was causing their orchard to not produce as well. AF: What brought you to Blue Diamond ? What was the greatest appeal to you ? A: The role as a Regional Manager. This position is the best of both worlds, I get to work with growers and be out in the field as well as making sure their individual contracts are up to date.

AF: What is your favorite Blue Diamond product ?

A: My favorite Blue Diamond product is chocolate covered almonds.

AF: What are some of your hobbies ?

A: I enjoy crafting, hanging out with friends and family and riding my dirt bike.

AF: What else would you like our growers to know ?

A: I love being outdoors.

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Blue Diamond Growers does not endorse or verify statements made by advertisers within this publication.


BDG Foundation Announces Scholarship Awards For agriculture to succeed for years to come, it will require the dedication and hard work of the next generation. The Blue Diamond Growers Foundation selected 24 young people to receive a scholarship for the 2021 – 2022 academic year. The Foundation assists students whose goals are to be positive influences on the future of agriculture and who want to make a difference in their communities. Here are the profiles of this year’s Blue Diamond Growers Foundation scholarship recipients with an excerpt from each of their essays where they were asked to describe their future goals.

Ashleigh Sorensen Fall 2021 School: Fresno State University Major: Agribusiness Growing up with a farming family involved in the agriculture industry, I have always been interested in the field. After college I have aspirations to obtain my law degree and work as an agricultural

Averie Konefat Fall 2021 School: Cal Poly SLO Major: Ag Science I am a member of the FFA and my weekends are usually full of competition days or other activities. I have a passion for educating the public about agriculture. I love teaching others so

lawyer. This career goal will allow me to be an advocate for the agriculture field and further my interest of bringing light to issues prevalent in the agriculture industry.

much that education is what I want to pursue as a career. Our country is suffering from a lack of ag literacy, and I hope to make an impact to change this. Being an ag teacher would give me a platform to inform the next generation about agriculture, which many feel is the backbone of our country.

Ashlyn Wooldridge Fall 2021 School: Cal Poly SLO

Major: Plant and Environment Sciences I plan to become a PCA. My desired degree would allow me to come back to Arbuckle and start my own crops as well as custom spraying. Many think being a PCA is just about pushing farmers to buy

Cal Muxlow Fall 2021 School: Fresno State University Major: Agribusiness Both the business side and the farming side of ag business correlate to make a great business, so that's why I want to grow in my understanding of both sides. For either managing a farm for someone

certain chemicals but I want to help farmers choose the right ones, give my own advice, and more importantly, be honest with all my clients. My goal is to be someone that young women look up to in agriculture because there should be more women in the agricultural field and I want to be a part of changing that.

or farming my own land one day, I want to be able to help the community the farm is by. I want to benefit society by being a farmer that prioritizes family, God, and hard work. My goal is to be a person that shows joy when I work. Hopefully, one day I will be farming my own land and my goal will be to have workers that have joy in the work they do.

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Gabriela Moreno Fall 2021 School: Merced Community College then Fresno State University Major: Ag Education and Communications I would like to become an agriculture teacher and teach Ag leadership and Floriculture. I would also like to be a mentor to teens who suffer from mental

Jane Saenz Fall 2021 School: Cal Poly SLO Major: Ag Systems Management, Wine and Viticulture With the same dedication I put into my school and extra-curricular activities, I see myself playing a role in California agriculture in the future by making great

illness. As someone who has struggled with it for so long, I know that life can get rough, but I have found such great support that I can now, not only better myself but also help others who suffer in silence. I also give back to the agriculture industry, an industry that was my motivation and happiness. I want to be an advisor, teacher, and mentor in the industry that helped me through the toughest time in my life. Without my advisors and family, I wouldn't have become this year's Chapter President, receiving awards and becoming an inspiration to younger kids who suffer from mental illnesses.

leaps into the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. My career will help find more ways to conserve water and help try to solve the finite fuel issue. Earning a college degree will help me be able to find internships and later become an asset to either a business or own one.

Jenna Keller Fall 2021 School: Cal Poly or Cornell University Major: Plant Science and International Ag Living in the country and on my family's farm has greatly influenced who I am as a person. It has allowed me to feel the satisfaction of planting and growing

Gunnar Kale Fall 2021 School: Morningside University Major: Ag and Food Sciences (minor in Agronomy) All kids, no matter what their socio- economic background, should be able have access to quality, safe playing fields for both recreational and

something from nothing but a little seed, to the food we put on our tables. I have always been interested in being a Foreign Service Agriculture Officer or working for the USDA. I believe I can use my degree to help communicate the importance of the Agricultural Industry to the world. I strive to become a more knowledgeable and effective advocate for this industry and its members as I pursue a college education.

competitive activities. I will learn the best way to grow and maintain many different grasses and other plants. During the fall of my senior year, I will extern for our local city parks and rec department. I will learn the ins and outs of creating and maintaining public parks and sports fields. I want to take my knowledge of building and maintaining athletic fields back to my hometown of Merced. I want to provide beautiful, safe, top of the line sports facilities for our low- income community.

Kalifornia Kindelt Fall 2021 School: Cal Poly SLO Major: Ag Communications

Reflecting on the sacrifice of the relatives who paved the way for future generations to grow and thrive, I realize that the history of my family has instilled a love for community and agriculture in me. Agriculture is our way

of life. Iʼve been involved in 4-H since the age of seven and have raised a pig each year starting at the age of nine. As a student, a farmer and a female, itʼs important to note the lack of women within the field of Agribusiness. With my degree, Iʼll influence the occupation and pave the way for my daughters and great granddaughters just as was done for me over 100 years ago.

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Kathryn Williams Fall 2021 Major: Ag Communications

Lauren Schaap Fall 2021 School: Cal Poly SLO Major: Ag Communications

I thought of exactly what I wanted to do with my life while I was sitting under the walnut trees that my great, great grandfather planted on our seventh- generation family farm. I wanted others

Once I graduate, I will seek out a job as a marketing specialist at an agricultural firm in which I can apply my knowledge, utilize my gifts, and enjoy what I do. I have always had a passion for

to understand this strong connection to the land that farmers have. Growing up on a family farm has taught me about hard work, determination, and perseverance. I want to educate people that it takes all these characteristics to work in agriculture. I have been involved in FFA all four years of high school and have learned how to share my views to the public. Agricultural Communication will help me reach consumers and help them understand the risks, challenges and pride that farmers have in producing food for the world.

agriculture. I want the public to know how the agricultural industry works because it has positively impacted my life, and I believe that it would benefit others as well.

Laynee Haywood Fall 2021 School: Texas Tech University Major: Agribusiness (Concentration in International Agribusiness)

After earning my Bachelor of Science degree, I plan to return to California to pursue a career in agricultural sales or marketing. I love knowing where and how our food is grown and want to promote the importance of California farmers. A misconception of some consumers today is farmers waste resources and produce unhealthy food with use of pesticides and chemicals. Expanding on the marketing of our products domestically and internationally and educating those consumers on the benefits California grown products provide, will not only strengthen the California farmer but also help feed the world with high quality nutritional commodities.

Lauren McEwen Fall 2021 School: Cal Poly SLO Major: Ag Communications

I aspire to work as a journalist for a publication in the San Joaquin Valley, bringing the stories of agriculturists to the less informed. While pursuing a Spanish minor, I also hope to study

abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, where I can further develop an appreciation for other cultures. Being bilingual will prove relevant as a correspondent because of the high demographic of Latinos in America, and the popularity of the Spanish language worldwide. My reporting of agricultural pursuits in the Valley will ensure that farmers, laborers, and consumers will have their voices and concerns addressed.

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Madalyn Nissen Fall 2021 School: Oklahoma State University Major: Ag Education and Ag Communications After I graduate, I plan to come back to California and give back to my small agricultural community for all that they have done for me by becoming a high school agricultural educator. In ten

M’Lyssa Frago Fall 2021 School: Cal Poly SLO Major:Ag Communications

After I earn my undergraduate degree, I plan to attend Law school. In the future, I plan to use the Ag Communications degree and the Law degree to become an ag lawyer. As an ag lawyer, I will

years, I see myself as an agriculture education teacher here in Glenn County giving out my best effort every day to give back to my small agriculturally based community for all that it has done for me to help me in finding my passion for agriculture.

be helping make sure that things concerning agriculture are fair and just. I would like to be an ag lawyer specifically because I have grown up surrounded by agriculture and it is a very important part of my life. Also, many farmers, such as my father, need legal representation when it comes to things like their rights and property, so I want to help.

Matthew Freitas Fall 2021 School: Cal Poly SLO Major: Ag Systems Management I have been dedicated to life in Agriculture ever since I can remember between working with my family in the almond orchards, olive orchards, rice, alfalfa, and walnuts. I have always enjoyed going out

Natalie Machon Fall 2021 School: University of Colorado, Boulder Major: Psychology I am very interested in the mind and why people think the way they do. With this degree I am able to help people with mental illnesses and struggling with

and working in the orchards throughout the day alongside my family. I have been very blessed to do many things through FFA like attending the National FFA convention, State FFA conference, and numerous field days. After college I would love to come back home and become a PCA or Farm Manager.

themselves so they can live a happier life. I know a lot of people who have been depressed and struggling silently and I want to help and be there for them. After that, I plan to go into law enforcement.

Rachel Mancebo Fall 2021 School: Fresno State University Major: Ag Education Ag teaching requires a different level of commitment. I have learned this through my experiences in FFA. Having such a strong background in agriculture, as well as my amazing experiences

Michaela Mederos Fall 2021 School: Fresno State University

Major: Agribusiness Management My overall career goal upon

graduating from college is to own and operate my own agricultural business in the valley. I would like to own a floral business, as I have learned through my

with my own teachers, I am confident that I will be able to become a valuable asset to a high school FFA program, and become the type of mentor to students that I have been lucky to have.

Floriculture class that I have a passion for plant science and creating floral arrangements. I hope to be able to also give back to my community upon attaining my degree by coming back to Tulare and to become a volunteer leader at the local 4-H and FFA clubs. I hope to give back to the organizations that gave me so much growing up.


Sarah Williams Fall 2021 School: Virginia Tech University Major: Agribusiness The first time I zipped up my FFA jacket, I had no idea the influence it would have on my life. My jacket led me toward my true career passion, agriculture. Becoming a policy lobbyist

Tanner Cardoza Fall 2021 School: McPherson College Major: Business In college, I hope to gain ‘field’ experience in Agricultural Business so that I can ‘do’ rather than ‘just learn’ from a book or a computer. The most memorable learning that I had in high

with the Department of Agriculture will allow me to communicate through speaking, debating, and writing, work to make sure government officials hear the position of agricultural industries, and explain the importance of a bill and its impact. Women make up more than half of the U.S. population yet are under-represented on the boards of policy-making bodies. Being a woman leading and participating as a lobbyist will help bring a voice to female demographics in agriculture, while bringing us all together to create a stronger industry.

school was when we were physically doing things as we were learning. I do not know where my career path will lead, but I do know that I will always be a strong advocate for the agriculture community, the agricultural industry and the FFA program. For without all the FFA and Ag community has done for me thus far, I would not be the person I am today.

Taylor Trigueiro Fall 2021 School: Oklahoma State University Major: Ag Education My goal as an Ag teacher is to be able to teach and encourage my students from my prior experiences. I want to be able

Sydney Vieira Fall 2021 School: Oklahoma State University Major: Agribusiness (Pre-Law Concentration) I was raised on an almond farm which inspired my passion for agriculture. I was able to watch my father and grandfather work hard every day to provide for our family. After earning my degree,

to lead them by example. The lack of education about the agriculture industry is only growing throughout the next generations. Becoming an Ag teacher is my way of closing the gap between agriculturists and future generations.

I plan on attending law school to become an attorney to represent farmers and ranchers in court. I will use my education in agribusiness to help these smaller farmers and ranchers understand new laws and regulations and how they affect them. I plan to use my degree to represent smaller family farms like my own. If you wish to donate to the Blue Diamond Growers Foundation to support next year’s students, please make checks payable to “ Blue Diamond Growers Foundation” and mail it in using the remit envelope. Thank you for your contributions and support!

William Vannucci Fall 2021 School: American River College Major: Horticulture Using what I learn from college, I plan to come back to my hometown and start my own small-scale farm, participating in Farm to Fork agriculture supporting my family, and giving back to my

community. My family owns 10 acres of Ag land, and I hope to be able to start my own farm. Iʼve been working on my familyʼs backyard garden and also been harvesting the walnut and almond trees that border our property. I enjoy working in the garden because one I just find it very peaceful, and two, it is very rewarding when I can taste the work that I put into the garden.

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