The Western Pistachio Association of Fresno, Calif., has selected industry veteran Richard Matoian as its new executive director.

The association, founded in 1980, promotes pistachio growers' interests.

With the June 2007 demise of the California Pistachio Commission, a state marketing order, the association stepped in to expand membership and programs and continue work in areas such as production and nutritional research, promotion and governmental affairs.

“We are very happy to have found a leader with Richard’s experience,” says association chairman Mike Woolf. “He will be a tremendous asset in advancing the interests of the U.S. pistachio industry.” 

In 2007, U.S. pistachio growers harvested a record 415 million pounds from more than 115,000 bearing acres. 

For the past five years, Matoian served as manager of the Fresno-based California Fig Advisory Board, a state marketing order that promotes California-grown figs. 

Previously he served as president of the Fresno-based California Grape & Tree Fruit League, a statewide trade association that represents table grape and tree fruit industries. 

Matoian will officially begin his duties with the pistachio association on May 1. 

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