As a staunch supporter of the American Pecan Council and the American Pecan Promotion Board and the pecan industry as a whole, I find this article disheartening to write, but the facts are the facts and we need to keep marketing pecans.
I recently had a discussion with a grower from Arizona that was expressing his dissatisfaction with the current efforts of the APC and the APPB, and as usual I found myself defending their work.
In between the back and forth of our conversation both of the boards had a basic house keeping meetings that I will sit in on and listen to in an effort to keep up with whats going on. I will occasionally ask questions for clarification, as most of the items on the agenda have been previously worked on by our board members.
I’m not quite sure how to describe the hostility and aggression toward me for asking a few very basic questions. For example our new APPB has been able to get up and running and I wanted to know if they would be doing any reporting similar to the APC. The executive director Alexander Ott decided to jump in before anyone else could answer and I was made to feel very uncomfortable for asking a very basic question. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I have to assume was meant to dissuade me from asking questions.
This got me thinking back through the years at other meetings and I began to notice a pattern of hostility toward basic questions by a grower who is very supportive of our industry, and the work being done by both the APC and the APPB. And who I might add, shares the information via pecanreport.com that I receive to all growers.
After the meetings were over I needed to reply back to the grower in Arizona before heading back outside. I had already drafted a rebuttal to my fellow grower, but after I was made to feel so poorly and unwelcome at an open meeting, I found it harder to stand up for these boards. I realized many of his points were correct, any transparency we have has come only with pressure, and when I ask about anything I am made to feel unwelcome.
I have only ever received that sort of treatment from a very small handful of shellers and brokers in our industry, and it got me wondering who is really in charge of the grower funded pecan boards.
We are required to vote to keep these boards active, which I am still a supporter of both, but if other growers are treated in the same way that I am for asking basic questions about programs that we fund, then I think we could have a very tough time keeping these very valuable marketing efforts in place. In my humble opinion, we’ve got to do better.
I also want to thank ALL of our board members for volunteering their time and resources to these boards and the industry. Your work is appreciated.