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Walnut, pistachio marketing boards seek nominations

Tim Hearden WFP-tim-hearden-walnuts1.JPG
Walnuts are harvested near Red Bluff, Calif., in 2018.
Both panels are seeking members for terms that begin this summer.

The California Walnut Board and the Administrative Committee for Pistachios are seeking nominations for elections that will be held this spring, with terms set to begin this summer.

For the Walnut Board, which is the official body that administers the federal marketing order for walnuts, petitions are open for two members and alternates from each of the two districts in California, divided along the southern boundaries of San Mateo, Alameda, San Joaquin, Calaveras and Alpine counties and one member and alternate at-large to represent the entire state, according to a news release.

The new members and alternates would serve two-year term beginning on Sept. 1 and ending on August 31, 2023. Walnut growers are eligible to petition the California Walnut Board to have the name of their candidate included on the 2021 nomination ballot.

“The diversity of our growing and evolving membership brings valuable perspective to industry," said Michelle Connelly, the board's executive director. "The CWB in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) welcomes participation of women, minorities and people with disabilities."

Petition forms were mailed to walnut growers in late February and are to be filed and received by the California Walnut Board no later than April 1. 

Ballots will be mailed to growers in mid-April. Growers will nominate two members and alternates to represent their district as well as one member and alternate for the statewide position. U.S. Agriculture Tom Vilsack will select the nominees receiving the most votes in each district and at-large for representatives on the board.

Pistachio committee

The Administrative Committee for Pistachios, which administers the federal 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. 

Five producer members (two in District 1, two in District 2, one in District 4), 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, 2023. The committee is composed of nine producer members, two handler members, one public member and each member’s alternate.

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, according to a release. The panel encourages applications from women, minorities and people with disabilities.

Nomination forms will be mailed to handlers and producers today, Feb. 26.  The deadline for submitting nominations is March 12 and voting will take place April 2-23.

More information about the Committee, the Marketing Order, and a list of the current committee members can be found on the Committee’s website:

Walnut referendum passes

The appeals for nominations come as the USDA recently announced amendments to the federal marketing order regulating the handling of walnuts grown in California. These amendments authorize the California Walnut Board to provide credit for market promotion expenses paid by handlers against their annual assessments due under the program, according to a news release.

The amendments were approved in a referendum conducted Nov. 30 through Dec. 11, 2020. They were favored by 80.57% of the growers voting, representing 82.81% of the total volume of walnuts.

To gain approval, the amendments needed support of at least two-thirds of the growers voting in the referendum or at least two-thirds of the volume of walnuts grown by those voting in the referendum. A final rule amending the marketing order will be published in the Federal Register.

USDA’s process for considering this change included an administrative hearing conducted last spring.

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