TURLOCK, CA – The Almond Alliance today proudly announced their 2023 Champions of the Year. This year’s award recipients are the LandFlex team at the Department of Water Resources. They are being honored for their leadership and partnership in developing the LandFlex program, which has emerged as a proactive and versatile solution safeguarding rural drinking water systems, increasing groundwater sustainability, and bolstering climate resilience. 

“The Almond Alliance is proud to give the Champion of the Year Award for the bold and creative leadership of this agency and team, who joined us in finding innovative solutions to a drought and flood crisis that was hurting our communities and our businesses,” said Mike Curry, chairman of the Almond Alliance. “Through voluntary collaboration and innovative on-the-ground strategies, LandFlex exemplifies the potential of community-driven initiatives to achieve meaningful and impactful results. We thank DWR, Director Nemeth, and the LandFlex team for their dedication to helping keep farmers farming and protecting our rural communities in California.” 

The Almond Champion of the Year Award is presented annually to those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in education, coalition building, partnerships, and promoting legislation and policies encouraging the advancement and protection of California agriculture and the California almond industry. The award recipient is decided on by our Government Relations committee members. Committee members include:

  • Mike Curry, Johnson Farms 
  • Dick Cunningham, Cunningham Ranch Inc. 
  • Blake Vann, Vann Brothers
  • Jeannine Grech, Campos Brothers Farms 
  • Alicia Rockwell, Blue Diamond Growers 
  • Dave Phippen, Travaille & Phippen 
  • Melissa Frank, The Wonderful Company 
  • Steve Van Duyn, Van Duyn Family Farms 
  • Todd Meyer, Bear Republic Nut 
  • Bill Lyons, Mapes Ranch 
  • Sebastian Silvera, Gladstone Farms
  • Taj Samran, Hilltop Ranch

Past recipients of this award include Assemblymember Adam Gray, Assemblymember Heath Flora, Connie Conway, former USDA State Executive Director of Farm Service Agency, Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua, and CDFA Undersecretary Christie Birdsong.

The award will be presented by the Almond Alliance at the California Almond Industry Political Action Committee’s Annual Modesto Fundraiser at Del Rio Country Club on Thursday, November 2, 2023, at 5:30 pm. This event brings together members of the Almond community as well as FFA students, elected officials, and designated special guests. 

RSVPs can be made to Annie Romero at aromero@almondalliance.org or 209-300-7140.


About the Almond Alliance

Almond Alliance is the leading authority in state and national policy, championing American almond farmers, industry, and community for the continued global growth, innovation, and success of American almonds and agriculture.

Established in 1980, the Almond Alliance is a non-profit trade association with a local and international network of almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers, and allied businesses. The Alliance is dedicated to providing resources and solutions for our members, ensuring industry success and growth opportunities. Learn more at almondalliance.org