Following a successful public hearing, the California Prune Board (CPB) has been authorized by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to continue for another five years through July 31, 2025 – without the need for an industry referendum. At the hearing, prune growers and processors voiced unanimous support for the CPB, along with sharing numerous examples of the board’s favorable results on behalf of the California Prune industry.
“The CPB continuation is a major win for California Prune growers, processors and handlers,” said Joe Turkovich, California Prune grower and Chairman of the California Prune Board. “The board’s work is vitally important to the success of the prune industry. It has carefully considered strategic priorities that will continue building industry momentum for the next five years and beyond.”
California Prune Board: Delivering Leadership and Value
The hearing comes amid industry headwinds facing California agriculture in general, such as rising labor costs and increasing regulations. Additionally, the California Prune industry has specific challenges including a global market driven by low prices and smaller, inferior quality imported fruit.
“We have navigated through many challenges and are currently addressing others – such as tariffs that create major impediments to growing markets – all while knowing there are many challenges around the corner. Yet, we believe in the values the industry has together set forth,” said Donn Zea, Executive Director of the California Prune Board. “Our board and committee members are dedicated to the industry’s success and bring integrity and unique perspective to each discussion. The CPB team around the world is both humbled and proud to join them for the hard work that lies ahead.”
Together, we have achieved much as a board and as an industry, added Zea, citing examples such as:
- Securing more than $50 million in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases of California Prunes during a three-year timeframe (2017 – 2019) for school nutrition programs and food banks
- Dedicating more than $1.25 million during the past three years to nutrition research to scientifically validate the remarkable health benefits of California Prunes for gut and bone health, as well as
- Investing more than $1.3 million during the past three years to crop production research, including important findings and advancements related to mechanical pruning, rootstock anchorage, new varietal development, and pest and disease control
- Securing $11.4 million in federal grant funding for export programs, while partnering with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) each year to defend, grow and develop international markets
- Being recognized by FAS as “highly effective” in CPB proposal quality, strategic execution, and financial and regulatory compliance
- Developing an extensively researched, thoroughly vetted new California Prunes brand to unite the global industry under a cohesive banner to communicate the one-of-a-kind premium nature of California Prunes
California Prune Board: Building on the Momentum, Advancing Priorities
With input from numerous industry members and under the leadership of the CPB executive committee, the board has outlined key priority areas to rally the industry’s efforts. Focus areas include:
- Nutrition research
- Trade policy and market support
- Industry unification
- Production research
- Global visibility expansion for California Prunes
“We have listened intently to California Prune growers and handlers to identify these priority areas that will inform our focus, guide our decisions, and ultimately, make a positive and sustained difference for the global California Prune industry,” said Zea.
California is the world’s largest producer of prunes providing about 40 percent of the world’s supply and more than 90% of the U.S. supply. Today, there are more than 40,000 bearing acres of California Prune orchards concentrated in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA PRUNE BOARD
Created in 1952, The California Prune Board aims to amplify the premium positioning and top-of-mind awareness of California Prunes through advertising, public relations, promotion, nutrition research, crop management and sustainability research, and issues management. The California Prune Board represents approximately 800 prune growers and 28 prune, juice, and ingredient handlers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture.