California Avocado Commission Promotes Ken Melban to Vice President of Industry Affairs

Wed. May 13th, 2015
- by Jordan Okumura     

IRVINE, CA - The California Avocado Commission (CAC) has announced the promotion of Ken Melban to Vice President of Industry Affairs. Melban will now lead the Commission’s industry advocacy activities, including issues management, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program, production research and grower communications.

“Ken’s leadership of the California avocado GAP program and advocacy for California avocado growers in areas such as water availability and pest management is worthy of recognition,” said Tom Bellamore, President of CAC. “In his new role Ken will continue these initiatives and lead others to help California avocado growers sustainably produce top-quality avocados with a fresh-to-market advantage.” 

Melban joined the Commission in 2011 as Director of Issues Management, and has worked with industry members to create and evolve CAC’s GAP program. In just a few years' time, nearly half of California avocado acreage is GAP-certified, and with upcoming Food and Safety Modernization Act requirements Melban anticipates that number to grow. 

From left to right: Ken Melban, CAC Vice President of Industry Affairs, Zvi Mendel, Department of Entomology, Agricultural Research Organization Bet Dagan, Israel, Stanley Freeman, Department of Plant Pathology, Volcani Research Center Israel

During California’s drought, Melban has been very involved with local water boards, as well as advancing best practices in irrigation and water conservation. He also championed international industry activities to identify pests and research solutions to pest issues including the polyphagous shot hole borer and fusarium dieback, according to a press release.

Melban has two decades of agricultural leadership experience, including work with California commodity boards and with the Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Pesticide Regulation, researchers, growers, and chemical manufacturers in the identification and registration of effective crop protection materials for California agriculture. His prior experience includes work with the National Grape & Wine Initiative, and management of the Statewide Spray Safe program. Melban was also instrumental in the development of the California Potato Pest Management Strategic Plan, and served as Director of Crop Protection Services for the California Pepper Commission. 

California Avocado Commission