American Pistachio Growers: Our Organization’s History
Three decades have passed since the founders of the Western Pistachio Association (WPA) first came together to form the California Pistachio Association (CPA). Optimistic about the future of the fledgling pistachio industry, these visionaries believed forming a trade association would help introduce their relatively new product to consumers and provide a forum to educate growers and industry members on improved methods of production and processing of pistachios.
In 1981, growers voted to implement the California Pistachio Commission (CPC) to collect mandatory grower assessments that would provide necessary financial support to help grow the industry. Then as now, many major issues of the day were not coming out of the fields; but, rather, the halls of Congress. Among them, Iranian unfair trade activities; federal research and promotion support; regulatory affairs; food safety; country of origin labeling; aflatoxin and multilateral/bilateral trade agreements.
The CPC was governed by State regulations and laws that prohibited certain types of political activity necessary for the health of the industry. As a voluntary organization, the WPA was not bound by these restrictions and expanded activities in 1989 to help give the industry a voice in Washington D.C.
Formation of the WPA also allowed the recruitment of members from other pistachio producing states to broaden the industry’s political support that has proven critical to the recent Federal Marketing Order for Pistachios expansion that benefits all U.S. growers. Today’s APG members represent all major U.S. pistachio producing states, with members from California, Arizona and New Mexico.
Our organization has long served the industry by championing the interests of U.S. pistachio growers and allowing their issues to remain front and center. With the termination of the CPC in June of 2007 by grower referendum vote, WPA's Board of Directors immediately stepped in to ensure substantial grower investment in vital programs and a diversified yet unified industry voice were not lost. Critical programs, such as governmental affairs, production research, nutrition research and promotion of the heart-healthy message continued with diversified yet unified representation provided by our Board of Directors.
In July 2011, the organization committed to expanded marketing efforts in international markets. To better communicate the makeup of the organization, we changed our name to AMERICAN PISTACHIO GROWERS.
Our mission encompasses nutrition research and promotion, market development, new product development and the ongoing work to do away with unfair barriers to trade. We also host the Pistachio Industry Annual Conference and produce an Annual Report for the benefit of its membership and the entire American pistachio industry.
Partnering with our Board and grower-member base are associate members that include a wide variety of processors, investors and industry-related businesses, as well as other grower-related industry organizations. Increased membership support since 2007 has allowed expansion of APG programs to better serve the American pistachio industry.