Ken Melban, who joined the California Avocado Commission (CAC) in 2011 as director, issues management, has been promoted to vice president of industry affairs and operations. He has served as CAC’s vice president, industry affairs since 2015. In his new role, he will continue to lead the Commission’s industry affairs programs and take on the financial and administrative operations of the organization.
Prior to starting his career with CAC, Melban worked with California commodity boards and the National Grape & Wine Initiative, as well as manager of the Statewide Spray Safe program. He also served as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Fresno Pacific University.
During his career with the Commission, Melban has assumed responsibility for industry advocacy activities, issues management, production research and grower communications. As part of his efforts to expand the California avocado export market, he secured market access to China and has secured USDA Market Assessment funding and USDA Market Access program grants to promote avocados in South Korea, Japan and China.
He has played a key role in the development of sustainability initiatives, including the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices for the California avocado industry. After the devastating losses from the Thomas fire in 2017, his efforts led to expedited federal funding for impacted industry members. Melban was appointed by the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA Secretary of Agriculture to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee in 2014 and was reappointed in 2019.
Throughout his career he has represented the interests of California avocado growers through his service with the California Department of Food and Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation Consortium and Ventura AG Futures Alliance.