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Almond Conference will return to in-person format
The Almond Conference 2021 will be the first major business event to be held in Sacramento’s SAFE Credit Union Convention Center later this year (Journal file photo). - photo by Journal file photo

After being forced into a virtual format last year by the coronavirus pandemic, the 49th annual Almond Conference is back in person this December. 

The Almond Conference 2021 will be the first major business event to be held in Sacramento’s SAFE Credit Union Convention Center later this year following a decision by the Almond Board of California’s Board of Directors. The yearly conference is the almond industry’s premiere event and draws attendees and exhibitors from around the globe as one of Sacramento’s largest business gatherings. 

“Everyone was disappointed we couldn’t meet in person last year. Now we’re excited to be getting back together in Sacramento’s beautiful, cutting-edge convention center,” said Kent Stenderup, Board of Directors Chair and a third-generation farmer. “These gatherings are enormously productive for people in our industry, and this year we’re especially eager to see each other again and to be back in Sacramento’s re-energized city core.”

The 2021 conference is expected to draw about 4,000 participants and will be the Sacramento convention center’s first large returning business event after its more than two-year, $350 million renovation and expansion.

The expanded SAFE Credit Union Convention Center now has a furnished second-floor outdoor terrace, a new street level plaza for events, three-story glass lobbies, expanded exhibit space, easy connections between all the meeting rooms and a range of new amenities. In 2019 during construction, The Almond Conference temporarily moved to Cal Expo.

“We’re thrilled to have the Almond Board of California returning to Sacramento for this important event,” said Visit Sacramento President & CEO Mike Testa. “As America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, this is really an ideal partnership and we look forward to welcoming the organizers and attendees back to our city and to this incredible new building.”

The Almond Conference offers growers, processors and others in the industry three days to explore the latest production and consumer research, regulatory updates, global market developments, sustainable farming practices and more. It also draws hundreds of exhibitors. The virtual 2020 conference drew participants from 35 states and 45 countries during a pandemic which, surprisingly, didn’t negatively impact the industry. 

While COVID coupled with increasing tariffs from China posed a challenging environment last year for almond growers, California produced 2.55 billion pounds of almonds during the 2019-2020 crop year. Nearly 1.6 billion pounds were exported, while domestic shipments accounted for 774 million pounds. 

This represented nearly parallel growth between the two compared to 2018-2019, when domestic shipments grew 4.5 percent and exports grew five percent. The ABC credited this continued growth to the industry’s investment in nutrition research, as well as development of the global market.

All of these market topics and the ABC’s work will be on display during the Almond Conference 2021 scheduled for Dec. 7 through 9. 

“We know our members and everyone who attends will really enjoy the reimagined building,” said Richard Waycott, Almond Board president and CEO. “There are beautiful views of the architecture, murals and greenery of the vibrant city all around the building. We hope our large presence will help rebuild many Sacramento businesses still recovering from the pandemic. What’s more, being in person this year presents a great opportunity for farmers to collaborate with researchers and their peers on responsible farming practices – which is particularly important as California faces yet another dry year.”

Registration and conference information will be available at this summer.