We can agree that this has been an extraordinary year. I know the challenges and uncertainty presented by this COVID-19 health crisis have been far reaching in both the personal and professional lives of our team members and grower-owners. In agriculture, the seasons continue even with the challenges of the day. Many of us find it reassuring that we can find certainty in our mission and the work that needs to be done. We are now focused on almond harvest, for our industry, the busiest and most demanding season.
I am proud of how Blue Diamond has been able to respond and keep our operations running during the global pandemic. With already the highest standards for workplace safety, we’ve been aggressive in implementing even more robust safety measures and protocols, including reengineered workspaces, installation of physical barriers, daily temperature screening, social distancing, and mask requirements. In general, our COVID-19 protocols have been more restrictive than CDC’s guidelines and wherever we can, we have gone above and beyond to help protect our team members from virus exposure while at work.
Most of the world will look back at the year 2020 and say, “that was the year of COVID.” For Blue Diamond and the almond world, 10 years from now we’ll look back and say this was the year of the massive almond crop. The National Statistical Service (NASS) Objective Estimate for the California almond crop is 3 billion pounds — over 400 million pounds larger than the highest ever. As a co-op, our commitment will be to successfully receive, process and market our growers’ record-breaking almond supply. Over the past five years, Blue Diamond has been planning for just this harvest through thoughtful investments to expand our production lines, our storage capabilities, and the capabilities of our people skills to manage a crop this size.
Our team is rallying around the challenge of riding this big wave of almonds. Blue Diamond has prepared for this crop just as surfers prepare for a big wave — reading the water, seeing when the wave is coming, and paddling furiously to get up to speed for it.
While the news of this record crop comes with challenges, it also brings excitement for Blue Diamond as we see potential growth opportunities. We are continuing to innovate and find new ways to utilize our growers’ almonds, introducing the Blue Diamond brand to new countries around the world, and over the last six years, building our brands with investments in advertising. Because of this, our brands are driving consistent growth and we are winning the hearts and minds of consumers. For four years running, Blue Diamond has been named one of the fastest-growing large companies in the U.S. This unique recognition demonstrates our ability to adapt to the changing world.
We’re in a fiercely competitive industry and our strength lies in the integrity of our people and in our commitment to quality, innovation and playing to win. We are stronger together and I believe that strength will sustain us through this season.
Thank you to our grower-owners for inspiring dedication and commitment to our co-op and each other. I firmly believe that Blue Diamond’s growers and team members are our greatest asset — our competitive advantage. And with the size of the 2020 crop, I know The Best is Yet to Come!