August 11, 2022

Industry Veteran and President of Mariani Packing, George Sousa Jr., Will Continue to Serve as Board Chair

ROSEVILLE, CALIF. – The California Prune Board (CPB) has officially seated its 22-member board and 16 alternates for the 2022-2024 term.  Following certification of the election by the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture, the new board approved the 2022/23 fiscal year programs and budget at its June board meeting. The CPB officers are:

  • Chair: George Sousa Jr., President of Mariani Packing Co., Inc., Vacaville, Calif. (re- elected)
  • Vice Chair: Mike Vereschagin, Vereschagin Farms, Orland, Calif. (newly elected)
  • Secretary: Dan Bozzo, Triple B Ranch, Gridley, Calif. (re-elected)
  • Treasurer: Rajeev Davit, Davit Ranches, Yuba City, Calif. (re-elected)

“Our values as a Board keep us driven towards quality and continuous improvement and I’m honored to continue serving as Board chairman alongside dedicated individuals who share a vision of creating a world more enthusiastic about California Prunes,” said George Sousa Jr., President, Mariani Packing Co. “Our industry – like all of agriculture today – has its challenges, but the CPB has been around for 70 years, and we believe in the power of our product and the importance of a vital industry for generations to come.”

The newly seated board will serve through May 2024.

“California Prune growers and handlers have proven to be resilient, strategic, and disciplined in producing a premium fruit that is enjoyed domestically and in export markets around the world,” said Donn Zea, Executive Director, California Prune Board. “Alongside our industry stakeholders, we are dedicated to helping the trade and consumers alike discover the many wonders that California Prunes offer – from health and nutrition benefits, exceptional taste, premium quality, unmatched versatility – and so much more.”

The board will focus on advancing the key CPB priority areas that have been determined with input from numerous industry members and the executive committee. Focus areas include:

  • Nutrition research
  • Trade policy and market support
  • Industry unification
  • Production research
  • Expanding global visibility for California Prunes

CPB membership is composed of 22-member board seats that are elected by the industry, organized by seven districts and a non-industry public member. The CPB officers are selected by the newly seated board members for their leadership roles.

California is the world’s largest producer of prunes providing about 40 percent of the world’s supply and more than 90% of the U.S. supply. Today, there are more than 36,000 bearing acres of California Prune orchards producing an average of 80,000 tons each year. Consistency in production, driven by rigorous agricultural standards, and superior taste is keeping the demand for prunes from California strong in over 60 countries.

CALIFORNIA PRUNE BOARD MEMBERS
For the term August 2022 – May 2024

Independent Producer – Members
Mike Vereschagin
John Friend
Sandra Mitchell
David Wohletz
Dan Bozzo
Ranvir Singh
Nick Cubre

Independent Processor – Members
George Sousa (Mariani)
Jaswant Bains (Sacramento Packing)
Brian Dunning (ShoEi Foods, USA)

LindaKay Abdulian (National Raisin)

Co-op Producer – Members
Bob Amarel
Rajeev Davit
Phillip Filter
Brendon Flynn
Gary Thiara
Joe Turkovich

James Strong

Co-op Processor – Members

Dane Lance
Brad Schuler

Jeff McLemore

Independent Producer – Floating Alternates
Joe Mitchell

Louie Martinez, Jr.

Richard Wilbur

Sukhvinder Sidhu

 

Independent Processor – Alternates
Steve Sousa (Mariani)

Satpaul S. Bains (Sacramento Packing)

Junko Fuwa (ShoEi Foods, USA)

David Mazzola (National Raisin)

 

Co-op Producer – Floating Alternates
Mike Turkovich

Dave Loquaci

Scott Workman

Jay Thiara

Co-op Processor – Floating Alternates
Stephanie Harralson

Jacob Pittman

Harold Upton

 

Public – Member
Maxwell Norton

 

Public – Alternate

Peter Righero

 

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA PRUNE BOARD

The California Prune Board was established in 1952 to represent growers and handlers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture. California is the world’s largest producer of prunes with orchards across 14 counties in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Promoting a lifetime of wellness through the enjoyment of California Prunes, the organization leads the premium prune category with generations of craftsmanship supported by California’s leading food safety and sustainability standards. California Prunes. PCalifornia Prunes. Prunes. For life.

###

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Kiaran Locy, Dir. of Brand & Industry Communication
California Prune Board
klocy@californiaprunes.org
916-749-3442