GROWING THE GOODNESS Kelli Evans Gushes on Young Leader Program Graduate of the 2019 Blue Diamond Young Leader Program, and 3rd generation almond farmer, Kelli Evans, explains how the program enhanced her participation in the cooperative and how it is a can’t-miss opportunity for other young growers and leaders. As a member of multiple co-ops, Evans wished to understand why and how Blue Diamond is different and what she could expect for her future as a Blue Diamond grower-owner. Her experience excited her for what’s next in the almond industry. During the winter session, which was held in Sacramento, Evans finally realized the magnitude of her role in the cooperative. She, and every Blue Diamond grower, plays a critical part in maintaining momentum in the industry. She produces the crop and Blue Diamond works hard to use her crop to dive into new markets while continually expanding on existing ones. The summer session brought her and the other young leaders to the Salida campus where she was awestruck to witness the fascinating processes. The facility tour gave her a fresh perspective on her work as a grower going beyond the orchard and into the plant. Many growers don’t get the opportunity to see what happens to their crops after harvest, and Evans wishes every one of them could. This provided insight and gave her a new appreciation for each team member’s hard work. It came as no surprise to her that Blue Diamond is a coveted co- op to build a lifelong career with. Kelli was one of two Blue Diamond young leaders who traveled to Washington D.C. for what she describes as “one of the most amazing things I will ever do in my life.” She attended meetings and seminars and met with Congressmen and numerous representatives to discuss trade and her personal farm. An invaluable portion of her trip was the meetings she attended where she spoke about her livelihood with those making federal decisions that would affect her and the almond industry as a whole. She was thrilled to be truly heard and encouraged Kelli Evans joins fellow Young Leader Nevin Eberhardt- Sandstrom in a meeting with Congressman Jim Costa. It was amazing to see how state-of-the-art Blue Diamond Growers is. The attention to detail when it came to quality of product and safety was out of this world. I can really see why we have employees that have been with us for 20 or 30 years. —Kelli Evans 3 2 A L M O N D F A C T S