I loved to compete and win. I never wanted the other guy to do badly; I just wanted to do a little better than he did. T. Boone Pickens
T. Boone Pickens, a well-known business magnate, lived his life with a passion for entrepreneurship and a love for America. He passed away on September 11, 2019, but shared his final thoughts in a farewell message inspired by life lessons and key principles for achieving success. Pickens understood the importance of competition and how it inspires us to raise our performance. Blue Diamond’s success is possible because we continue to think innovatively. We play to win as a core value just like Pickens did.
We are once again proud of Blue Diamond’s crop return versus others in the industry. Blue Diamond remains competitive and diligent in our efforts to increase the value for our almonds and maximize grower returns. For a deeper understanding of this successful year, the final value of the 2018 crop is published in our September-October issue of Almond Facts.
Although the ongoing trade wars drove almond prices down a small amount, it is wonderful to know that almond shipments were at an overall all-time high for the year. While trade with China is down 25 percent and Turkey is down 30 percent, India has become our largest export recipient, receiving 231 million pounds per year which helps make up for the deficit. The U.S. remains our largest market at 731 million pounds a year.
As always, the Blue Diamond team was hard at work on behalf of the almond industry. Our federal efforts included securing a second round of Market Facilitation Program Direct Payments and $3.67 million from the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program. We received $2.5 million from the Market Access Program, and almonds as an industry received a 10 percent increase in program funds for the first time. We are pleased with these results and proud of what we accomplished together to ensure California almond growers and the industry remain prosperous.
Now in our 109th year, Blue Diamond’s Annual Meeting in Modesto on November 20, 2019 will celebrate our achievements and outline our plans for continuing success. Mark your calendar and plan on arriving early to learn valuable information at the seminars, walk the exhibit hall, and visit with your Blue Diamond team. I look forward to seeing you there as we show you, again, why the Best is Yet to Come!