Aug 21, 2023
Almond Board of California welcomes new directors

The new Board of Directors of the Almond Board of California (ABC) was officially welcomed as members took seats on Thursday with five voting members elected in 2023 – four of them incumbents – beginning new terms to help guide ABC’s support of one of California’s largest crops.

Board members, whose terms officially began Aug. 1, also re-elected Alexi Rodriguez as chair and elected Alicia Rockwell as the new vice chair.

“Our industry continues to endure hard times,” said Rodriguez. “This board understands that intimately, and we have a strong group of individuals who are incredibly committed to doing our part to get beyond our current challenges successfully.”

The 10-member ABC board has five grower members – three representing independent growers and two representing cooperative growers – and five handler members, also with three independent and two co-op representatives. Some members sit in three-year seats, others in one-year positions.

The grower representatives elected or re-elected in the 2023 elections are: Paul Ewing and Kelli Evans. Paul Ewing is an independent from RPAC, LLC in Los Banos, who was re-elected to a one- year term. Kelli Evans, a co-op grower from Evans Farming in Live Oak and who previously served as an alternate, was elected to a three-year term.

The handler representatives were re-elected in all three positions this year and include: Alexi Rodriguez, an independent handler with Campos Brothers in Caruthers, who was re-elected to a three-year term; Darren Rigg, an independent handler from Minturn Nut Co. Inc. in Le Grand, who was re-elected to a one-year term; and Alicia Rockwell, a co-op handler with Blue Diamond Growers from Sacramento, who was re-elected to a three-year term. Additionally, three grower and three handler alternates were elected or re-elected.

Full board


  • Grower #1: Paul Ewing, RPAC | 1 year
  • Grower #2: Brandon Rebiero, Gold Leaf Farming | 3 years
  • Grower #3: Joe Gardiner, Treehouse California Almonds | 3 years
  • Handler #1: Alexi Rodriguez, Campos Brothers | 3 years
  • Handler #2: Bob Silveira, Vann Family Orchards | 3 years
  • Handler #3: Darren Rigg, Minturn Nut Co. Inc. | 1 year
  • Co-op Grower #1: Kelli Evans, Evans Farming | 3 years
  • Co-op Grower #2: Christine Gemperle, Gemperle Orchards | 3 years
  • Co-op Handler #1: Mel Machado, Blue Diamond Growers | 3 years
  • Co-op Handler #2: Alicia Rockwell, Blue Diamond Growers | 3 years


  • Grower #1: Katie Staack, Grizzly Nut
  • Grower #2: Brad Klump, BKI Exports, Inc.
  • Grower #3: Chris Bettencourt, Suvik Farms
  • Handler #1: Ron Fisher, Fisher Nut Company
  • Handler #2: Dexter Long, Hilltop Ranch, Inc.
  • Handler #3: Chad DeRose, Famoso Nut Company
  • Co-op Grower #1: George Goshgarian Jr., Goshgarian Farming Co.
  • Co-op Grower #2: Kent Stenderup, Stenderup Ag Partners
  • Co-op Handler #1: Laura Gerhard, Blue Diamond Growers
  • Co-op Handler #2: Dean LaVallee, Blue Diamond Growers

The ABC board sets policy and approves budgets in major areas, including global market development, production research, public relations and advertising, nutrition research, statistical reporting, quality control and food safety.

ABC is a Federal Marketing Order dedicated to promoting California almonds to domestic and international audiences through marketing efforts and by funding and promoting studies about almonds; health benefits, as well as ensuring sustainable agricultural practices and food safety.

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