Central California Almond Growers Association (CCAGA) is a non-profit grower-owned cooperative governed by a member-elected Board of Directors. Its service area is Valley-wide and generally from Merced to Pixley. The Association was organized as an Agricultural Service Cooperative under Chapter 4 of Division VI of the Agricultural Code of the State of California in 1963 for the purpose of hulling and shelling almonds delivered by its patrons. After hulling and shelling, the Association delivers the almonds to the members’ marketing organization, which takes title to the almonds and handles the proceeds from sale. The Association sells all hulls and shells through a brokerage association. CCAGA is the largest Sheller and Huller of Almonds in the World with 453 members farming 42,653 acres of almonds.
The Association maintains two plant sites. The Kerman site consists of three huller/sheller plants, a stockpile yard and the Association office. The Sanger site consists of one huller/sheller plant, a stockpile yard and a satellite office. The operating office hours of the Association are 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM throughout the year; however, seasonal operations at harvest time run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Generally starting in early August, field-run almonds are delivered to the plant sites in truck/trailer loads. Running twenty-four/seven, the plants are capable of processing about 4,500,000 lbs. of field run or 1,000,000 meat pounds (raw almonds) per 24-hour period. During the August – October period, deliveries are “stockpiled” at the plant sites for later processing. A single stockpile consists of four truck/trailer loads, which create a pile 80 feet long, 35 feet wide and 10 feet high. Each pile is covered with plastic and fumigated to halt insect damage. The plastic also protects the almonds and hulls from rain damage. As field harvest winds down in mid-October, these stockpiles are reloaded into trucks for processing through the plants. Processing is usually completed in mid-December.
The Sanger stockpile site can only accommodate a limited number of stockpiles. Several million more pounds can be stockpiled at the Kerman site, nearer to where they’re grown.
CCAGA is operated by the growers themselves. The members of the cooperative elect the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors hires a President and CEO, and he hires other employees to conduct the day-to-day operation of the Association.
As well as being the largest hulling and shelling operation in the world, CCAGA is also the oldest hulling and shelling operation in the San Joaquin Valley. It came into being when a number of like minded almond growers believed almonds could grow and prosper in this area. Prior to CCAGA’s inception, Almond production had historically been propagated in the Sacramento Valley. In 1963 a cotton gin facility located on the current site of the Association’s Sanger operation was converted to an Almond Huller by these entrepreneurs. From there the membership growth and acreage has been continuous. The success of CCAGA is directly related to its strategic location, the size of the membership and a well-defined and proven business model.
Central California Almond Growers Association is focused on the highest levels of service and performance on behalf of its members. The membership of the Association enjoys returns that help offset the cost of delivery and a nominal hulling fee. They also have the satisfaction in knowing that each and every member is treated exactly the same no matter what size. This is well articulated in our value statement which is the driving force guiding each and every activity by the Board of Directors, Management and Staff.