West Coast Nut magazine, the leading monthly publication for nut growers and handlers in the U.S., each year presents its Industry Titan Award. This annual award recognizes a researcher, farm advisor, grower or industry leader who has made significant contributions to the production of almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans in the Western U.S.
West Coast Nut Publisher Jason Scott presented the award to this year’s recipient, Western Agricultural Processors Association CEO Roger Isom at the My Ag Nite celebration in Tulare in November.
Isom has been a fearless and tireless industry advocate for over 30 years. He started his career with California Cotton Ginners Association and California Cotton Growers Association in 1992 after working at the Fresno Air Pollution Control District for three years. He often represents the industry on major regulatory fronts and can be seen in the halls of Congress and the state capitol testifying on behalf of the industry, providing a valuable voice on pending legislation or regulation.
After serving the cotton industry in that role, he helped form Western Agricultural Processors Association in 2009 after multiple almond hullers approached the association for the same representation/services CCGGA was providing to the cotton industry. After a year, the rest of the tree nuts (walnuts, pistachios and pecans) asked to be a part of it and WAPA never looked back. WAPA now has 180 regular members (hullers and processors of almond, walnuts, pistachios and pecans).
Roger Isom has been a titan in his efforts against the Department of Pesticide Regulation and environmental activists. Roger Isom called them out on their lack of science and fear tactics when pushing policy or legislation without merit. So much so he was deemed public enemy No. 1 by activists during a recent hearing on pesticide policy. He took flak from labor activists for his work against indoor heat illness and nighttime lighting standards, and he takes the hot seat every time on any air quality regulation from the environmental justice community.
“Roger is not afraid to go to bat for the industry, especially when the science does not back the proposed regulations,” said WAPA Assistant Vice President Priscilla Rodriguez.
He also has been actively bringing together legislators, including urban legislators, from across the aisle to educate them on ag issues and find common ground on the industry’s behalf.
Isom serves on several committees outside of his association, including as President of the Ag Energy Consumers Association (AECA), Chairman of the Ag One Foundation at California State University, Fresno, a board member of the California Ag Leadership Foundation Board of Directors, and managing the Navel Orangeworm Action Committee (NOWAC).