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Agricultural News

American Pecan Council’s New Executive Director Alex Ott Says Pecan Industry has a Bright Future

Thu, 19 Jul 2018 12:12:43 CDT

American Pecan Council’s New Executive Director Alex Ott Says Pecan Industry has a Bright Future Earlier this year, the American Pecan Council hired its first executive director, Alex Ott, who described the last three weeks having been like drinking water from a firehose as he settles into his new role trying to get his arms around all the nuances of this relatively new organization. He spoke with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays during the Council’s recent board meeting this week, about his experience so far and what he brings to the table given his extensive background in agricultural commodities. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.

“It’s a brand-new organization and so that’s the excitement - is we’re starting from the ground floor and we see the successes of this tool that has been invented for the industry that most other commodities don’t have,” Ott said. “It’s really fascinating. Most of these federal marketing orders are very similar and a lot of the issues are very similar. What’s unique, though, is the commodity that you’re representing and pecans I think have a bright, bright future.”

As aforementioned, Ott comes to the APC with an extensive background in working professionally with the administration of federal marketing orders. During the meeting with board members this week, Ott took time to explain some of the slight differences between a federal marketing order and checkoff programs, likening this one to a ‘city council for pecans.’

“I like federal marketing orders because they are the purest form of a local government you could have,” he explained. “When you look at it, it’s ran by growers, funded by growers, governed by growers and they have the ability that if they like the activities they’re doing - they can vote to continue those activities - or they can vote them out. And, the oversight we have with the USDA, that’s what makes it really fun and gives you the check and balance that you need.”

According to Ott, the USDA’s involvement helps ensure an equilibrium of power among the council so that influences are not being asserted by one interest in the industry over another and keeps the council from falling into any sort of misdirection, be it price fixing or what have you. Ott says this is really important when an organization like the APC represents so many different people and segments in one industry. The APC alone has under its umbrella 15 states, growers of many different pecan varieties and operations both large and small. As a seasoned professional in this business, Ott says the trick to making it all work is bringing everyone and their opinions to one consensus.

“We are going to bring everybody together with one common goal and that is to move as many pecans as we can for a great price,” he remarked. “I think at the end of the day, if we’re all doing that together, we’re going to be moving in a great direction and have a great future.

“It’s time to let everybody know that pecans are at the table and we’ve come to play. We’re here to provide a wholesome, nutritious, high-quality nut. It’s time we start to showcase that.”

Ott, is an agriculture industry leader with more than a decade of experience leading category organizations. He joined the American Pecan Council (APC) as its new Executive Director on July 1, 2018. Prior to this date, Ott served as Executive Director of the California Apple Commission, the California Olive Committee and the California Blueberry Commission. Since then, he has relocated from California to Texas to lead the APC. Click here to read more about Ott and his new role with the APC.



You can listen to Ott and Hays' complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR, below.
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