FY 2019-20 Strategic Plan

California Walnuts
Sep 6, 2019
Back to News

Earlier this year, the industry adopted a new strategic plan following a nearly yearlong effort to plan for future production and the needs to support it.

A strategic planning committee of industry members convened to develop a road map, assessing where we are, where we want to be, and how we will get there. The result of those efforts are a set of succinct strategic planning priorities for industry, as well as a mission, vision, and purpose statement, and core values that embody all that the industry does.

Mission (the core business of an organization): To cultivate industry prosperity by increasing worldwide demand for California walnuts.

Core Values (the principles that guide decision making):


  • Do what’s right for the industry long term.
  • Operate with integrity and honesty.
  • Strive for excellence and innovation.

Purpose (the end benefit to people and society): To enhance diet and health through flavorful California walnuts.

Vision (the destination toward which we are working): California walnuts are the worldwide nut of choice.

Strategic priorities were developed following extensive review of internal and external factors that impact industry: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Given the vast breadth of factors, the following priorities were identified as the most important for our future success.

Strategic Priorities

Grow domestic and international demand

Conduct research programs that fuel the vision

Continue to build support via industry engagement/communication plans

Strengthen regulatory support for walnut production/trade through advocacy

Demonstrate industry commitment to sustainable production practices

Growing Demand

Future production and utilization are concerns that keep us up at night. With an estimated 60,000 non-bearing acres coming into production, we estimated that over the next five years, we will have an additional 196,000 tons to market by the 2022/23 season. The marketing teams went through extensive analysis to determine how this volume will be utilized in our existing markets, as well as new/other markets where volume potential exists.

Domestic Goal: 64,000 tons

Export Goal: 132,000 tons


Domestic growth will be focused in the four key areas of retail, industrial, institutional, and restaurants. In order to achieve the goals set forth, strategies, tactics, and measurement plans were developed, along with shifts in budget resources to support the growth. Consumer advertising and public relations will increase awareness and support partners in the trade.


Internationally, our goal is to grow volume across a large segment of markets in various states of maturity: emerging, growth, mature, and new. A target list was developed where the CWC programs have the ability to stimulate demand and purchase, each having its own strategy and tactics. Similarly to domestic, budgeted resources were shifted to support growth from the new plan.

Research is our foundation and future

In order to continually improve crop quality, research programs in the areas of production, post-harvest, and food safety are vital. And health research is essential to affirm walnuts’ benefits to the consumer audience and to shape public policy.

Production Research

Production research ensures we balance the short term orchard management needs with the long term goals of improving crop quality through the breeding program. Key research areas focus on orchard management, entomology, plant pathology & nematology, and breeding & genomics.

Post-Harvest Research

The area of post-harvest research has continued to expand dramatically to support our growing industry and the challenges before us: food safety, crop quality, shelf life, uses of byproduct, and regulatory environment. Research projects will invest in our future to make us more competitive, while finding alternative uses for byproduct (shells and hulls) and mitigating risks to industry posed by the evolving regulatory environment.

Health Research

Health research not only reaffirms walnuts strengths in the key area of heart health, but produces new studies to understand walnuts possible role in public health, such as cognition, weight management, cancer, and more. This ongoing research gives consumers new reasons to choose walnuts and health professionals and policy makers new reasons to recommend walnuts.

Stakeholder Engagement

Our goal with industry communications is to increase industry engagement through all means available. While we have continued to increase our communications we will undertake additional efforts to ensure that our handlers/board members have the tools they need. We will assess opportunities for various types of meetings and communications to ensure that our growers at all levels of industry have the opportunity to be involved. Additionally, we will continue to partner with other organizations that can also spread our message.

Advocacy for Industry

By 2022/23, our goal is to further engage with regulators and legislators on industry issues. The scope of this work has increased immensely in recent years. The CWC is more engaged now than ever and is continually finding new ways to increase engagement. Through the CWC we will continue to advocate for issues impacting industry and collect data and/or support for those issues. Where appropriate, we will increase engagement with regulators/policy makers to showcase the walnut industry.

SustainabilityDemonstrating industry’s commitment to sustainable practices is essential to our customers and consumers globally. The industry has a strong foundation in the pillars you see here (fig. 1) However, the methods by which we track and report to our stakeholders is critical. We will conduct research among our growers, handlers, and outside partners to better quantify our impacts. In the interim, a working group of industry and staff are developing tools and resources to aid industry in telling our story while producing the data our customers demand.

5 Pillars of Sustainability


Generated with Avocode.Generated with Avocode.