Your APG and Pistachio 101

Everything you need to know about pistachio production
The first LeadOn class of the year is always exciting! Participants were welcomed by APG Executive Director, Richard Matoian and Kristi Robinson, APG LeadOn Chair and Board Member. After initial introductions and a few ice-breaker exercises, Mr. Matoian discussed APG’s mission statement and core messaging, organization structure, committee involvement and how to contribute to the future of the pistachio industry. The class received an in-depth, scientific discussion about pistachios led by APG Farm Advisor Emeritus, Bob Beede. The class reviewed the botany and physiology of the pistachio tree.

Quotes from participants:

"I really have no knowledge about what was discussed today, so everything that was discussed today I liked. I have had the pleasure of hearing Bob speak a few times and I don't want to miss a second."

"All the information was informative and helpful and presented in an understandable manner. Always a pleasure to hear from Bob Beede."

"I found Bob to be an well of endless knowledge. The information was scientific and intimidating but he was able to present it in a fully, relatable and comprehensive manner. Instead of feeling inundated with information, I am walking away feeling like I have a solid base to begin from. Great story teller - great anecdotes."

"Such details that I was looking for in learning. I am very glad to see this is not just generalized information. But it is teaching me information that I can go out to my field and actually see what was discussed."

Water Issues & Irrigation Solutions

Discussion and understanding the political and regulatory issues facing farms. Discussion on water impacts affecting production of pistachios
This eye-opening class concerning water issues facing farmers was led by Mike Wade, Executive Director, California Water Coalition and Bob Beede, APG Farm Advisor Emeritus. Mike Wade educated the class about California’s water supply and water way infrastructure as well as discussing the affects related to the drought. Bob Beede, APG Farm Advisor Emeritus, continued the lecture with regulated deficit irrigation and drought strategies to help pistachio farmers produce better quality nuts during water restricted times.

Quotes from participants:

"Water information was related perfectly to us."

"I liked learning the details of California's water ways and the politics to each area."

"It was helpful learning how to maximize/optimize watering/irrigating of pistachio in the most efficient way."

"Water will be the issue for years to come and managing it will be crucial. Both topics very relevant."

Legislative and Regulatory Activities of APG 101

The class continued their legislative education with both State and Federal APG lobbyists coming to speaking in depth of the political process which directly affect pistachio growers
APG State lobbyist George Soares, Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP and APG Federal Lobbyist, Robert Schramm, Schramm, Williams & Associates, Inc. informed the participants about the legislative, regulatory, trade and administrative issues affecting APG members. This engaging topic is critical for the next generation to learn about for the survival of the pistachio industry. Many regulations and laws affect the daily life of growers and how significant it is to get involved.

Legislative and Regulatory Activities of APG 102

Field trip to Sacramento and meet with APG state lobbyist along with integral valley representatives that support the pistachio industry
The LeadOn class toured the state capital with APG Lobbyist, George Soares, Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP. The group visited state officials that support the pistachio industry endeavors. Participants had the opportunity to meet with Senator Tom Berryhill; Senator Andy Vidak; Undersecretary Jim Houston, Department of Food and Agriculture; Dee Dee D’Adamo, State Water Resources Control Board; Chief Consultant Jim Collin and Director Brian Leahy, Department of Pesticide Regulation. The class learned about all aspects of the legislative process and the impact of how certain decisions can affect the farming community.

Quotes from participants:

"I really enjoyed the whole trip. What I liked the most about the trip was having the opportunity to meet the Senators, Dee Dee D'Adamo, and the two gentlemen from the Department of Pesticide Regulations. It was a different experience to meet these individuals and hear them talk about their positions."

"I liked that we were actually in Sacramento. I loved meeting the Senators and George was GREAT!! I learned so much from him and it was interesting to see how lobbyist and legislatures work and think. It made me feel like some did understand and care about our issues and it helped to see that they are working on certain situations. It's nice to know you have some good people in your corner."

"I liked that we were able to get out of the office and get to experience the political dilemma first hand. Getting to see the actual capital building and speak with these politicians in there own element was a great experience."

Pistachio 102

Continuation of Pistachio 101 class, field trip to a pistachio nursery and processing facility
APG LeadOn class continued their education from Pistachio 101 with a “hands on” field trip. The day started with a visit to Pioneer Nursery and receiving in-depth industry information from experienced farm manager and APG Board Emeritus Brian Blackwell. The class viewed different stages of pistachio development from seed to tree.

Next the group visited Horizon Nut Company processing facility. Tours were led by Kirk Squire, Richard Barela, John Beaulieu and Donovan Linebarger around the state-of-the art facility. The class got to see how pistachios are processed and ready for consumer consumption.

Quotes from participants:

"I liked that we were able to get out of the room and see it first hand. It was nice to hear some history on the pistachio industry and get to see how pistachios are grown from one of the original pistachio orchards and how they look to help the industry. The Horizon tour was interesting because you don't understand what it takes to prepare a pistachio for a sale till you see all the machines."

"I really enjoyed meeting with Brian Blackwell at Pioneer Nursery. He was a wealth of knowledge and experience. One thing I have really started to appreciate about the pistachio industry is its history. Meeting with individuals like Brian Blackwell and Bob Beede who are so passionate about pistachio only furthers my eagerness to learn more about the industry. Overall, I truly enjoyed the time we had at the nursery and the things we were able to see and learn."

"I felt seeing the trees from seed to greenhouse is an excellent way to help us understand the entire process of the pistachio tree."

Food Safety

Learn about the ethical, moral, legal and financial issues regarding food safety in the pistachio industry
Roger Isom, President/CEO, Western Agricultural Processor Association presented an overview of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the consequences it will have on future production. The second half of the session was presented by Bob Klein, Manager, Administrative Committee for Pistachios, which focused on FSMA directly involving pistachios and food safety issues which impact pistachios such as aflatoxin, recalls, equipment and employee health and hygiene.

Quotes from participants:

"I enjoyed learning about the specific pathogens that affect tree nuts and how those compare to other foods."

"I liked that it gave a look into food safety world and what to expect and things we can get a jump on."

"Learning about what rules/regulations are (going to be) in place for food safety."

"The proposed rules and regulations of FSMA."

"Excellent presentations. Great Information."