A year after she was hired by the Almond Board of California, one-time environmental advocate Josette Lewis has been promoted to the position of chief scientific officer, the board announced last week.
As the board’s director of agricultural affairs, Lewis has led the development, funding and strategy of the board’s development programs. When current scientific officer Karen Lapsley officially retires on July 31, Lewis will take responsibility for human nutrition and biomass research, according to a news release.
“Josette’s promotion as chief scientific officer is exciting for all of us at ABC,” said Richard Waycott, the board’s president and chief executive officer. “Her insight and expertise will continue the work ABC has accomplished under the leadership of Dr. Karen Lapsley, further building a foundation of knowledge in human nutrition and responsible farming practices in keeping with our vision to make life better by what we grow and how we grow.”
Though her expertise is in molecular biology, the 54-year-old Lewis has spent much of her career trying to make agriculture more sustainable. She had a 16-year stint with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and more recently was associate vice president of sustainable agriculture at the Environmental Defense Fund.
At EDF, she joined with large food companies, agribusiness, grower associations and other entities to push for an end to fertilizer pollution by reducing nutrient runoff from farms. She said last year she went to EDF because it took a pragmatic approach to resolving issues related to agriculture.
Lewis has played a key role in promoting the Almond Board’s 2025 Goals – to cut industry water use by an additional 20%, increase use of environmentally friendly pest management tools by 25%, eliminate orchard waste by making better use of byproducts and halve the amount of dust kicked up during harvest.
“I look forward to continuing almond research that supports the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals and positions California almonds in away that they remain profitable and of the highest quality in the future,” Lewis said of her promotion.
In other tree nut-related news:
The USDA will hold a public hearing March 16 on proposed changes to the federal marketing order for California walnuts.
The hearing will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sacramento Marriott Rancho Cordova, 11211 Point East Drive, Rancho Cordova, Calif. If necessary, the hearing will be continued at 9 a.m. March 17.
The proposed amendments would allow the California Walnut Board to provide credit for market promotion expenses paid by handlers against their annual assessments and establish rules for the board to begin exercising the new authority, according to a news release.
More information about federal marketing orders is available on the AMS Marketing Orders and Agreements web page or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at 202-720-2491.
Pistachio panel positions
The Administrative Committee for Pistachios, which administers the federal marketing order for pistachios grown in California, Arizona and New Mexico, is soliciting nominations for the annual election to fill positions that expire on June 30.
Four producer members (two in District 1, one in District 2, one in District 3), one handler member, as well as each member’s alternate, are needed for the term of office that begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2022, according to the committee. The panel is composed of nine producer members, two handler members, one public member and each member’s alternate.
The committee meets periodically to review order issues and make recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the order. Through the order, the pistachio industry implements programs designed to improve producer returns.
To qualify for a member or alternate member position, you must produce or handle pistachios, have a proprietary interest in the production or handling of pistachios or be an employee of a person who produces or handles pistachios. In order to enhance membership diversity, eligible women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to seek nomination for a position on the committee.
Nomination forms were mailed to handlers and producers Feb. 28. The deadline for submitting nominations is March 13. Pistachio producers and handlers will vote for the candidates of their choice between April 3 and April 24.
More information about the committee, the marketing order, and a list of the current committee members can be found at www.acpistachios.org.
If you have questions, contact Bob Klein, Manager of the Administrative Committee for Pistachios at 559-255-6480 or email@example.com.
The happiness nut?
Pistachios are known as “the happy nut” in China, but almonds could be dubbed “the happiness nut” in the United States if an Almond Board of California survey is correct.
The survey of American consumers found that almond eaters are more likely to be happier than their peers. A big reason could be that almond eaters are more likely to prioritize their health and report that “nothing prevents them from eating healthy” (52% of almond-eaters versus 41% of non-almond-eaters), according to the survey.
“You can feel good about eating almonds as they contain nutrients that will help keep you feeling satisfied and fueled no matter what the day brings,” said registered dietitian Maya Feller. “Almonds are also an easy to pack and highly portable snack for busy people who want to prioritize their energy and health.”
We are continuing the roundup format in Tree Nut Farm Press in honor of long-time Farm Press contributor Logan Hawkes, 69, who passed away recently. A resident of Corpus Christi, Texas, he produced most of the content for the tree nut e-newsletter since late 2018.
Farm Press salutes Logan for his 20 years as a freelance writer and video editor and sends best wishes to his family.
For more news on tree nuts as reported by growers and farm advisors, subscribe to the Tree Nut Farm Press e-newsletter.