Daren Williams joins the show to help us better understand the role of producer-led commodity groups. Daren is the Senior Director of Global Communications at the Almond Board of California. He has worked in agricultural communications for over 30 years, much of that with producer-led commodity groups like almonds, beef, apple, dairy and pork.
The Almond Board of California supports all 7,600 almond growers, as well as many others in the almond growing community from suppliers and beekeepers to farmers and buyers. Almonds are one of the fastest growing crops in California, and the Almond Board has cast a vision for the industry that includes goals to improve by 2025 in water use efficiency, dust reduction, zero waste, and pest management.
“We fund research and production techniques. We validate techniques at work and if it's beneficial and cost effective and can help improve the return on investment for the grower, we roll it out to the industry and make sure everybody knows about it.” Daren Williams
While the Almond Board of California is a federal marketing order program, we also discuss checkoff programs in this episode. Operating under a slightly different framework, the purpose of these groups also relates to the research and promotion of the commodity. In Daren’s previous position, he worked with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which is a contractor to the beef checkoff.
“If (consumers) see us working together and trying to solve the issues and things that they’re concerned about, they develop trust in them, the industries, and I think trust is a critical issue for farmers and ranchers. In many cases, we’ve lost it and we need to regain it with consumers and let them know we really do have their best interests at heart when we make decisions about how we’re going to grow their food because we’re also going to be putting it on our dinner tables.” - Daren Williams
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