President’s Report – COVID-19 and Your Association
We have had a great many things to attend to in preparing for future crops. As almond production increases, we have stayed ahead of the game by constantly improving our plants and equipment. In doing so, we have strived to stay ahead of the curve in meeting this future growth, while at the same time providing a competitive return to ourmembers. Our substantial improvement to Kerman Plant #1 was conceived and discussed four years ago with our Board of Directors and now that dream is just about reality. At every turn we have tried to be pro-active and not reactive. We have tried to plan for every incident that could affect normal operations, but nothing could have prepared us for this “Black Swan” moment – COVID 19.
Now, we are amidst a global pandemic and it is important for all our members to know about the current state of our affairs at CCAGA and explain from our perspective how the COVID-19 virus will affect us in the days and months ahead. Clearly, the concern will diminish when ample tests are available, treatments for the symptoms of the disease become known and more importantly, a vaccine is discovered. For now, there is just great uncertainty.
Central California Almond Growers Association is currently operating with full staff. We are recognized as an essential industry and therefore we are allowed to continue operating in order to process members’ crops. We also provide a critical component (hulls) to our dairy customers, which are used in their feed ration. Currently, between 4 to 12 lbs. of hulls are fed to each dairy cow on a daily basis. Almond hulls can make upward of 5 to 20 percent of the feed ration, and are essential to our dairy friends whom we have under contract. We must ensure that they are supplied with hulls and shells. As such, we are an important element in their creation of dairy products to feed our nation and the world.
Our entire staff has been trained on the current status of COVID-19 and we are taking this pandemic very seriously. Physical access to our offices has been strictly limited, but please feel free to call our office with any concerns or questions. Staff is practicing social distancing even within the office and we have all of the necessary Personal Protective Equipment to make sure we are as safe as possible.
I truly enjoy writing this section of the quarterly newsletter as we often have so much good news to tell. We are coming off a record volume processing season and what I believe was the finest quality crop we have ever shelled during my tenure. Now, we take pause for this Pandemic to play out. But I am confident that those in the medical profession and our scientists and leaders will mitigate and cure this horrible disease soon. In the meantime, we are still in full operation mode and getting ready for the shelling season ahead. We are actively shipping out hulls and shells from last year’s crop to our dairy friends as normal. It is business as usual at Central California Almond Growers Association, until and unless conditions change.
We wish you and your families safety and great health in the days ahead!