are instrumental in helping to develop infrastructure. Whether processing or marketing, this allows the industry to both expand and to remain competitive. These people keep the industry focussed and cohesive, and assist through providing advice to others or serving on committees. All of our pioneers, in their own way, have helped make the industry what it is today. In 2014, Mr Tom Martin and the late Mr Donald (Don) Rough were chosen to be publicly recognised for the significant contributions they have made to transforming a fledgling industry into the modern, vital and proactive force that it has become and has helped lay the foundation for today’s industry. f Fame ond Industry
Donald Rough 2014 Inductee Donald (Don) Rough was a Farm Advisor for 33 years with the University of California who was widely respected and recognised as the father of modern almond growing in Australia having helped establish growing practices that set the industry on its way. In August 1975 Don was invited by the Almond Co-operative Ltd to visit the Australian almond industry and came for a 3 month sabbatical. He was met with great enthusiasm. He held numerous seminars and farm walks in South Australia and Victoria.
Don was an affable man with wonderful people skills and a genuine interest in families and the broader aspects of life. He made a point of knowing every grower’s name, their wife’s name and their children’s name. Don was never able to say a bad thing about anyone or their orchard and on one occasion he was hosting an Australian grower and took him on one of his orchard visits, only to see one particular orchard that was in severe decline. The only comment Don could make to the grower was “…you’ve got a fine gate”. Don was fond of many sayings and one that sticks in many Australian growers’ minds was “there is no replacement for the shadow of the owner in the orchard.” It was 20 years of exchange between Don and Australian almond growers that has led to a great two way flow of information between California and Australia. Don was highly regarded and respected by his peers and all of the many farmers he worked with over the years. He was characterised by sincerity, loyalty and generosity.
Don made a second visit to Australia in 1978 and a third in 1986 following further sponsorship by the Almond Co-operative Ltd. Reports of his trips were made available to industry and the on-going communication with Don in subsequent years proved invaluable to the Australian industry. A report published from Don’s visit in 1975 included recommendations that are still promoted today such as: developing closer relationships with the bee industry including the development of contracts to protect both parties; develop local information for almond nutritional needs and maximum yield; utilise high health nursery trees and develop a nursery tree grading system; and strengthen the industry by getting involved and fostering better cultural and marketing practices. Don was extremely generous with his time and hosted in excess of 80 visiting Australian almond growers over the 1970s and 1980s and they always stayed at his house where he had an “Australian Room” complete with a visitors book, photos, flags and memorabilia from his relationships and experiences “down under”.
Don was born in Stockton, California and raised in Brentwood, California. In 1943 he graduated from Liberty Union High School in Brentwood and immediately entered the military - serving as a U.S. Army Sergeant and Medic in the Pacific during WWII - primarily in the Philippines and Okinawa. Interestingly, it was during this time Don began his connections to Australia as he visited Brisbane on route to Papua New Guinea where he would also have met many serving Australians. Upon returning home Don married his high school sweetheart, Ernestine Allmen, on Mar. 3, 1946 and was the father of Mark, Tim and Claudia. He attended Stockton J. C. then transferred to Cal Poly Pomona, and graduated in 1952 with his B.S. Degree in Agriculture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He was first assigned as a Farm Advisor in Fresno, then transferring 1 year later to San Joaquin County where he worked until his retirement in 1988.
Don was first visited in California by Eric Lacey in 1961. One of his major recommendations was the use of full
irrigation. It seems a life time away now but remarkably the Australian industry relied on rainfall and supplementary bore water at this time. This trip provided Eric Lacey with the confidence and know-how to successfully develop an irrigated almond orchard along the Murray River at Nildottie, South Australia.