Rich Kreps at the 2024 American Pistachio Growers Annual Conference

Feb 27, 2024
APG’s kick-off welcomes attendees, provides industry insights

The American Pistachio Growers (APG) kicked off its annual conference on Feb. 26 with a resounding message of growth, dedication and innovation. 

The opening sessions of the APG Annual Conference in Monterey, California, provided a platform for dialogue, collaboration and shared learning.

Rich Kreps, chair of the board for APG, set the tone for the guest speakers and for the conference itself.

Rich Kreps, chair of the board for American Pistachio Growers, at the 2024 Pistachio Industry Annual ConferenceOne of the highlights of Kreps’ remarks was the reflection on the remarkable growth of the conference itself. From its humble beginnings, the conference has expanded to encompass four hotels to accommodate the growing number of attendees. 

A significant portion of Kreps’ address was dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of women in agriculture within the APG community. He highlighted numerous women who have played pivotal roles, describing them as “rock stars” with unwavering dedication and immense hearts. Kreps emphasized that the women on the APG team and in the industry are “inspiration to all” in the industry.

The familial spirit of APG was palpable throughout the remarks, as Kreps touched upon the next generation of farmers, underscoring the generational continuity and deep-rooted connections within the community. He stressed the collective commitment to elevate farming practices to new heights of sustainability. 

Kreps also took a moment to honor the memory of Stephen Burcham, board member for APG, a poignant reminder of the impact and interconnectedness of the APG family. Burcham, 63, died Nov. 30. He and his wife Klytia ran Gage Farms, located in Firebaugh, California.  

The theme of optimism, active involvement and engagement resonated strongly throughout Kreps’ address. He emphasized the importance of collective action and participation in shaping the future of APG and the broader agricultural industry. Kreps encouraged attendees to embrace new technologies, engage with industry advancements, and actively contribute to the growth and prosperity of APG.

Joel Neslen at the APG Annual Conference 2024
Joel Nelsen

Following Kreps’ welcome remarks, various speakers took the stage to share insights and initiatives driving progress within the industry. Joel Nelsen, interim president for APG, reiterated the organization’s commitment to advocating for growers and fostering strong governmental relations. He underscored the importance of effective communication, urging stakeholders to listen attentively and engage meaningfully with relevant issues.

The conference also featured discussions on market trends, global export dynamics and emerging opportunities. Wes Wilson, a fourth-generation farmer and APG’s director of member services and communications, provided a comprehensive overview of the state of the industry, highlighting key trends and developments shaping the future of pistachio production and distribution.

Wes Wilson, American Pistachio Growers
Wes Wilson

Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board, delivered a thought-provoking analysis of economic trends and potential challenges facing the agricultural sector. He offered insights into market projections, production estimates and the impact of external factors on industry dynamics.

Dr. Bob Klein, APG 2024 annual conference
Dr. Bob Klein

Throughout the conference, there was a palpable sense of optimism tempered with a pragmatic awareness of the challenges ahead. Attendees were encouraged to embrace innovation, adapt to evolving market conditions and collaborate towards shared goals of sustainability and growth.

Debbie Eisele, Editorial Director

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