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From Dairy to Pecans: A New Industry CEO

As pecan growers across the US struggle to make their marketing efforts ad value at the farmgate level, a group of growers believe they have found the solution with Ms. Anne Warden’s impressive track record in the Dairy industry where she worked closely with thousands of Dairy farmers across the US to bring solutions to the farm level. 


In 2016 pecan growers across the US finalized the federal marketing order for pecans now known as the American Pecan Council (APC). Soon after its formation we learned of efforts to utilize APC funds to market pecans of Mexican origin. 


With the APC unable to assess Mexican pecans, growers again went to work and created what is now known as the American Pecan Promotion Board that allows for assessments to be paid on imported pecans. 


The journey to this point has been a challenge with the near loss of the APC in the last election cycle, growers decided it was time for a change in leadership. Ms. Warden has been hired to run both the APC and the APPB to move us forward with both organizations. 


Ms. Warden, as previously mentioned, comes from the dairy industry where worked with a grower pool of around 30,000 growers and dairy importers identifying challenges and opportunities for dairy farms across the US. Prior to that Ms. Warden worked in the political arena as a Chief of Staff to Mr. Thompson. 


Ms. Warden began her official role for the pecan industry on the 1st of October 2023 and has been making her way around our industry touring pecan farms across the south, meeting with pecan shellers, and listening to industry concerns.


While few meetings are currently taking place as most of us are in the orchards and the plants harvesting and packing pecans, Ms. Warden made her way to Georgia to speak at a Georgia Pecan Growers board meeting and take questions and concerns. With only a couple weeks into the job I was appreciative of her efforts to travel across the southern US to hear from growers first hand. 


One takeaway for me is her persistence on the fact that everything done by these organizations must have “growers fingerprints” on it, and demands that her staff constantly evaluate decisions and actions with this in mind. As we move forward I am excited to see what the change in leadership can do for our industry. 


I would like to thank Mr. Justin Jones from Georgia for his work showing Ms. Warden around our industry in the southeast.