Preparing for coming Fiscal Year, the American Pecan Council holds its last meeting for 2019
“I don’t want the council or stakeholders to forget why we’re doing this,” APC Chairman Mike Adams said to open the meeting. “This whole effort was begun for the sake of our industry that all of us have a passion for. The reason should never be pushed to the background. Our general purpose is to increase consumer demand for pecans…I can’t eat everything I grow.”
Finishing up his opening remarks, Adams stated the committees were working as predicted and lauded the APC staff for creating the Council’s first annual report. Each association that attended the Congress received a copy of this annual report, which highlights all of the Council’s activities and successes in the past year.
From there, the meeting moved at a rapid pace. Each committee had met via conference call prior to the Council meeting and finalized recommendations, which were then presented to the entire Council. September marks the end of this financial year and the beginning of the next; so, much of this meeting revolved around the Council approving the budget for the coming fiscal year.
After first approving the financials, the 2020 budget, and a number of housekeeping items, the Council moved forward through the agenda and approved the 2019-2020 budgets for the International and Industry Relations Committees.
Additionally, the Council reviewed and approved the proposed marketing activities recommended by the Marketing Committee. These activities include funding two health studies on cardiovascular and satiety, partnering with a PR firm—Eat Well Global—that works exclusively with registered dietitians, conducting focused promotion on iHeartMedia, utilizing a new tool to connect directly with influencers, and advertising through Learfield IMG during NCAA football season. This proposal represents a changing approach for the APC which now has an established team to create the marketing budget and more tools at the staff’s disposal to manage promotions.
After approving the 2020 Marketing Committee Budget and Marketing Policy Statement, the Council moved to discuss the recommendations from the Grades and Standards Committee.
During this part of the meeting, council members discussed the number of pecans coming into the United States from Mexico. At the moment, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service does not clarify the number of U.S. pecans going to Mexico, being shelled there, and then being sent back. While mandated grades and standards would give the industry the ability to capture that data and set quality requirements for imports, the industry has told the APC it prefers voluntary grades and standards. Following the industry’s wish, the Council approved the Grades and Standards Committee’s budget, which allocates $82,000 to K-Coe Isom, a national food and agriculture consulting and business advisory company. K-Coe Isom will create a voluntary quality assurance and sustainability program for the industry. Once approved and implemented, this program will allow the industry to codify quality and safety practices so that those using them can differentiate themselves with a seal from others.
As the final order of business, the Council approved the revised inshell standards, which will now be submitted with the recently approved revised shelled meats standards as a package to the USDA. These inshell standards will remain voluntary and provide parameters for the industry so that buyers and growers are on the same page.
The American Pecan Council quickly wrapped its meeting and adjourned after a brief Closed Executive Session, during which it discussed some housekeeping. Although the next council meeting will be in April 2020, APC committees will meet in the meantime via conference calls. If industry members wish to attend, they can find all future meetings’ dates on the APC’s website in the “For Industry” section.
To read the minutes for this APC meeting and the previous Committee conference calls, visit https://americanpecan.com/for-industry/pecan-fmo/.