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Seeds for Bees: Millions of Wildflowers and Cover Crops Set to Bloom Alongside California's Annual Almond Blossom

SALT LAKE CITY, /PRNewswire/ -- As beekeepers from across the U.S. arrive in California for the annual almond pollination season next month, their hives will be placed in orchards soon to be teeming with white almond blossoms and, increasingly, blooming cover crops and wildflowers. Now in its 7th year, Project Apis m.'s (PAm) Seeds for Bees program has distributed nearly 40,000 acres of blooming plant seeds to California farmers, increasing the diversity, density, and duration of available bee forage while improving sustainability and soil health. "Almond pollen is 25% protein and provides all 10 of the amino acids their diets require so honey bees love it," said Billy Synk, Director of Pollination Programs for PAm. "When you add blooming cover crops or even hedgerows into the mix, almond orchards can provide sustained nutrition for pollinating honey bees and other pollinators." Proper nutrition is a crucial part of honey bee health. A healthy diet helps mitigate damage from other health threats facing honey bees including Varroa mites, pathogens and pesticide exposures. The Seeds for Bees mixes bloom at critical times of the year when natural forage is scarce but managed and native bees are active. While the mixes are designed to meet the nutritional needs of honey bees, they also provide habitat and nutrition for other pollinators and beneficial insects. Through research supported both by PAm and the Almond Board of California, studies have shown that these bee pastures are fully compatible with typical almond production practices and do not interfere with important farming activities like harvest. Not only does this practice support beekeepers by providing more diverse nutrition for bees, it also brings benefits to farmers by adding organic matter to the soil, increasing water infiltration, reducing erosion, and providing a natural weed control. "With a crop that relies primarily on honey bees for pollination, it is in almond farmers' best interest to ensure their orchards are a safe place for bees each spring," said Synk. "As we approach another pollination season, many almond farmers continue to be good partners as we develop and deploy collaborative solutions for healthier pollinators and a more secure food supply." Providing technical assistance and free seed for farmers to plant cover crops in California's agricultural landscapes is just part of PAm's mission. In addition to the Seeds for Bees program, PAm also uses donated funds for applied research studies, for equipment bee research labs need, and provides graduate scholarships to support new bee scientists in their pursuit of science-based solutions. PAm is supported by a diversity of donors including beekeepers and growers, industry partners, and corporate sponsors.  Learn more and donate at www.ProjectApism.org/support-us. "The challenges facing honey bees are complex and constantly evolving. Working together with organizations like the Bee Informed Partnership, the Almond Board of California, the Honey Bee Health Coalition and many more, along with many researchers, almond farmers and beekeepers, we can achieve far more collectively than we can separately," said Danielle Downey, executive director of PAm. "These collaborations, focused on research and data, communication and forage, are a critical component to the long-term sustainability of beekeeping and almonds." About Project Apis m. Project Apis m. (PAm) is the go-to organization at the interface of honey bees and pollinated crops. Since 2006, we've infused over $8 million into honey bee research and projects to provide healthier bees, resulting in better pollination and increased crop yields for the grower, and lower losses and better honey production for the beekeeper. We work closely with commercial beekeepers, growers, and top bee scientists in the USA and Canada to direct strategic efforts focused on practical solutions. PAm funds research studies, purchases equipment for research labs, supports graduate students through scholarships to encourage careers in pursuit of science-based solutions to honey bee challenges and has expanded efforts to enhance honey bee health and nutrition by putting forage on the landscape where bees need it most. We are a 501(c)5 nonprofit organization governed by a ten-member board. Our board members include beekeepers, pollinators and honey producers representing major national and state industry organizations. PAm also has six scientific advisors who review proposals with the board. Learn more at www.ProjectApism.org  CONTACT: Name: Sharah Yaddaw Phone: 916-287-3035 Email: Sharah@ProjectApism.org SOURCE Project Apis m.
In The News
// About the Almond Board, Almond Bloom and Bees

California Almond Community Announces Five-Point Pollinator Protection Plan

(MODESTO, Calif.) – Preceding the start of the annual almond pollination season in February, the California almond community is launching a new five-point Pollinator Protection Plan. A collection of important initiatives aimed at protecting bees during almond bloom and beyond, this new plan reaffirms the industry’s long-standing commitment to researching, protecting and improving honey bee health. Pollinators are essential to the production of many nutrient rich fruits, vegetables, and nuts, including almonds.1 In fact, every almond that is produced exists because a honey bee pollinated an almond blossom. “Protecting and improving honey bee health during the short time that bees are in our orchards is critical to the success of every almond farmer. By working with national pollinator organizations, we are also engaging with partners who impact the health of bees during the other ten months that they spend outside of almonds,” said Josette Lewis, PhD, director of Agricultural Affairs at the Almond Board of California (ABC). Pollinator Protection Plan Announcing a New Partnership Today marks the start of a new partnership between ABC and the world’s largest non-profit dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems, the Pollinator Partnership. Known for their local and regional initiatives, like National Pollinator Week, the Pollinator Partnership’s Bee Friendly Farming program engages farmers in the promotion of pollinator health on their lands. Farmers who meet six specific criteria can then be certified as “bee friendly.” Under this new partnership, ABC is working with Pollinator Partnership to integrate the Bee Friendly Farming program with the California Almond Sustainability Program’s (CASP) bee health module. The goal of this new partnership is to expand the number of almond farmers who provide a habitat for all pollinators on their farms. "Pollinator Partnership's Bee Friendly Farming Certification is a perfect conduit to increase pollinator benefits and to ensure protection and sustainability within the almond industry. Almond growers are terrific partners in best management practices, and we look forward to a close and growing relationship in support of pollinators and producers," said Laurie Adams, president and CEO of Pollinator Partnership.  Educating Farmers and other Pollination Stakeholders In partnership with universities, government agencies, beekeepers and others, ABC established the Honey Bee Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the fall of 2014. The Bee BMPs provide recommendations to everyone involved in the pollination process to ensure almond orchards are a safe and welcoming place for honey bees, while balancing the need to protect the developing crop. Since their release, ABC has communicated the important practices outlined in these guidelines with California’s almond farmers, pest control advisers, beekeepers, and other pollination stakeholders. As a result, over 90% of almond farms report following the Honey Bee BMP recommendations.2   To further communicate these important practices, ABC is taking that education straight into the field with a series of in-orchard workshops in the next two weeks covering the Bee BMPs as well as the benefits of planting bee pastures and cover crops. Held at farms throughout the California’s almond growing region, these workshops provide a venue for farmers to learn from industry experts, collaborate with their peers and observe recommended practices in action. Promoting Tools for Improved Communication In conjunction with state government and partners in the bee and agricultural industry, ABC is supporting the development and launch of BeeWhere, a new digital mapping tool debuting this year, to make life simpler for beekeepers and farmers while helping to protect honey bees. California law requires beekeepers to register their hive locations with County Agricultural Commissioners. Previously accomplished by physically noting locations on a map, BeeWhere offers a real-time GIS mapping system where beekeepers can mark their hives using a mobile app. Farmers and their pest control advisers can then access information about the number of bee hives nearby, allowing them to adapt their practices should they need to apply a pesticide to protect the developing crop. In advance of this year’s bloom, ABC is partnering with the California State Beekeepers Association to help get the word out, so all stakeholders are able to utilize this important new tool. Increasing Floral Diversity On-Farm While almond pollen alone is very nutritious for honey bees, providing all ten of the amino acids their diets require 3 and giving them a strong start to the year,4 research shows that bees fare even better with increased diversity of pollen sources. Working with bee research organization Project Apis m. and others, ABC is encouraging farmers to plant bee pastures and hedgerows within or adjacent to their orchards as additional food sources for all pollinators, including native bees. Since 2013, almond farmers have planted 34,000 acres of bee pasture through Project Apis m.’s Seeds for Bees program.5 Beyond the benefits to pollinators, these plantings also help farmers improve soil health, water infiltration and more. Supporting Bee Health Research Through ABC, California’s almond farmers have funded more honey bee health research than any other crop group.6 This year, ABC is funding five new studies with leading bee experts across the U.S. to improve honey bee health. Since ABC made honey bee health a strategic research priority in 1995, the California almond community has supported 125 research projects to address the five major factors impacting honey bee health – varroa mites, pest and disease management, lack of genetic diversity, pesticide exposure and access to forage and nutrition. The Almond Board of California is a leader in the honey bee health conversation, and these efforts build on existing partnerships with more than 20 bee health organizations spanning universities, government agencies, nonprofits and beekeeping groups. “Responsible farming is at the heart of what the California almond community does,” said Lewis. “Whether it is bee health, water efficiency, or other important sustainability areas, we stand committed to growing almonds in better, safer and healthier ways.” To learn more about the mutually beneficial relationship between almonds and bees, along with the California almond community’s commitment to protecting and improving honey bee health, visit Almonds.com/Bees.   1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Why Bees Matter. 2 California Almond Sustainability Program. August 2019. 3 Ramesh Sagili. Oregon State University, Department of Horticulture. 4 USDA-ERS. Land Use, Land Cover, and Pollinator Health: A Review and Trend Analysis. June 2017. 5 Billy Synk. Director of Pollination Services. Project Apis m. Nov. 2019. Represents total plantings from 2013-present. 6 Gene Brandi. American Beekeeping Federation.
bees in almond bloom
News Article
// About the Almond Board, Almond Bloom and Bees

Almond Board of California Response to The Guardian’s January 8, 2020 Article

We are disappointed in The Guardian’s portrayal of the California almond industry’s impact on honey bee health as well as subsequent misleading articles.   As an industry we are committed to protecting and improving honey bee health. Not only are they vital to the global food supply, honey bees play an essential role in almond pollination so ensuring their success is essential to ours. Bee health is a complex topic and requires all parties across many industries to continue to work together to find and implement solutions. The Almond Board of California is actively engaged with the beekeeping industry and shared many examples of these efforts directly with The Guardian. It’s unfortunate these details were left out. To date the California almond community has funded 125 research projects supporting bees, more than any other crop group. These research projects span the five major factors impacting honey bee health – varroa mites, pest and disease management, genetic diversity, pesticide exposure, and access to forage and nutrition.  Separately, farmers have widely adopted practices to protect bees in the orchard and beyond. Using research insights and in partnership with universities, government agencies, nonprofits and others, the Almond Board established Honey Bee Best Management Practices (BMPs) for California Almonds, released in 2014. These guidelines provide key recommendations to everyone involved in the pollination process to ensure almond orchards are a safe and welcoming place for honey bees while balancing the need to protect the developing crop. Garnering praise from leading bee health experts, the Bee BMPs have been held up as an example for other crops to follow.  Responsible farming is at the heart of what the California almond community does. Whether it is bee health, water efficiency, or any number of other important sustainability areas, we stand committed to growing almonds in better, safer and healthier ways.    To learn more about our commitment to honey bee health, visit Almonds.com/Bees.    
Honey Bee pollinating almonds tree
News Article
// About the Almond Industry, About the Farmers, Almond Bloom and Bees

California Almonds and Celebrity Trainer Corey Calliet Share The Secrets To Your Most Successful Year Yet

MODESTO, Calif., /PRNewswire/ -- With the New Year came an entirely new decade and now is the perfect time to reset your healthy habits and goals! According to a new survey by California Almonds, two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans have tried to start a new healthy habit or routine. Although the majority of respondents committed to starting a new wellness routine, in general they stick with it for only 6 months.   New California Almonds survey uncovers opportunities for Americans to create long-term fitness and wellness habits. Celebrity trainer and fitness guru, Corey Calliet, has partnered with California Almonds to share his best secrets to inspire a healthier you in 2020 (Photo credit: Corey Calliet). Starting off the new year, it's easy to set lofty goals for ourselves which can quickly lead to burnout. To ensure that healthy habits stick in 2020 and beyond, California Almonds has teamed up with celebrity body transformer Corey Calliet to unlock the power of nutrition and self-investment. Known for his appearances on E!'s "Revenge Body by Khloe Kardashian" and with more than 10 years of experience in sculpting some of Hollywood's most recognizable celebrity physiques, Calliet is best known for preparing Michael B. Jordan for his lead role in the "Creed" movies. Calliet continues to inspire better health habits in other celebrities including Khloe Kardashian and John Boyega, among countless others. Calliet is an expert in setting realistic, attainable and even enjoyable wellness goals especially when it comes to prioritizing smart and purposeful snacking. Interestingly, even though 44 percent of consumers agree that they plan ahead for snacking throughout the day, according to the survey, only 15 percent of consumers say they pack healthy snacks as part of their wellness routine. With six grams of energizing protein and four grams of filling fiber, Calliet believes almonds are the perfect natural snack to help crunch cravings and meet new health goals.  "Maintaining your motivation and planning ahead are two powerful keys to success. My motivation comes from reflecting on where I used to be; realizing I don't want to be the person I was yesterday and always striving to be better," said Calliet. "Whether you're tackling a new fitness class or looking ahead to make healthier decisions, you need to surround yourself with healthy foods to stay energized and on track. Whole almonds are my ideal snack because they're a great source of natural energy that can be stashed in a gym bag or suitcase for munching but I also like to include crushed almonds in my smoothie, and I tend to pick up almond butter when I have a craving for something sweet." "Since so many of us have calendars filled with career, family and personal wellness commitments, it's crucial to have wholesome snacks on hand to stay full and focused through long days," said registered dietitian Maya Feller. Like Calliet, Feller tells her clients challenged by navigating busy schedules that snack prep is key to stay on track while on-the-go. "I recommend almonds because they're a delicious and portable source of important nutrients like protein, fiber and magnesium." You can look forward to smart-snacking inspiration and Calliet's upcoming recipes and tips on creating healthy habits, by visiting www.almonds.com. Calliet will be sharing the same best practices that keep his clients fueled and energized so that they can be the best version of themselves, no matter what the day brings. About Corey Calliet Celebrity Trainer, Body Transformation Specialist, and TV Personality, Corey Calliet, has built an unparalleled rapport within the entertainment industry since arriving in Los Angeles in 2014. With over 10 years of experience in sculpting and transforming physiques, Corey formulates and implements techniques catered to the specific goals and needs of each of his clients. Best known for his work in transforming Michael B. Jordan for his lead role as Adonis Creed in the movie Creed, Corey possesses the expertise and professionalism needed to successfully meet demands and sculpt physiques for the big screen, while coaching his clients to fully embody the characters they play. This work ethic has made an impact on many celebrity clients such as; John Boyega, Tyreke Evans, Lance Gross, Tony Bellew, Rocsi Diaz, Terrence Jenkins, Jasmine Sanders, James Frecheville, Robbie Jones, Sterling Brim, and Keith Powers. He stamped the motion picture world by way of Fox, MGM, Universal Pictures, Marvel, and Walt Disney. As Corey's style is evident in the results you see in his clients, his physique is equally important. Recently deemed as one of the 50 Most Fit men in the world on the Flex50 list by AskMen Magazine alongside Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Conor McGregor; Corey and his work have been covered in an array of media outlets, including health & fitness and lifestyle magazines, such as: People Magazine, Men's Fitness, GQ, Men's Journal, MAXIM, TRAIN magazine, Brit + Co and Health Magazine. In addition to training the stars and everyday people, Corey is a motivational speaker, a passionate advocate for the fight against childhood obesity, and a devoted father of one. Corey can be seen flexing his transformation skills as one of the Leading Trainer and Personality on E!'s hottest new show, Revenge Body by Khloe Kardashian. About California Almonds Survey This survey, conducted with financial support from the Almond Board of California between June 26-July 13, 2019, was conducted online using Ipsos' KnowledgePanel and yielded a total sample size of 4,027 adults. Panel members are randomly recruited by probability-based sampling to be representative of the U.S. adult population: Gender (n= 1,933 males; 2,094 females) Generation (n= 68 GenZ; 778 Millennials; 1,449 GenX; 1,399 Boomers; 333 Mature) Those with children <18 years in household (n= 1,568 Yes; 2,448 No) Almond consumers (weekly+; n=1,224)  
In The News
// Lifestyle, Nutrition & Wellness

Almond Board Fueling Farm of the Future with $5.9 Million Research Investment

(MODESTO, Calif.) – The Almond Board of California (ABC) today announced an investment of $5.9 million dollars in 85 independent research projects exploring next-generation farming practices. With this commitment, the California almond community has invested $89 million in research since 1973 to build a foundation of knowledge on responsible farming practices, food quality and safety and almonds’ impact on human health.  A tangible example of the almond community’s commitment to continuous improvement, the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals, launched in January 2019, will leverage this research as farmers strive to meet measurable objectives with the goal of growing almonds in better, safer and healthier ways. The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals Roadmap, released today, outlines the almond community’s sustainability journey in four goal areas, as well as the metrics that the industry’s progress will be measured against. “The California almond community takes a long-term view of success based on respect for the land and local communities. Earlier this year, the California almond community set four ambitious goals aligning with our vision to make life better by what we grow and how we grow,” says Holly King, chair of the Almond Board of California. “The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals build on decades of progress, fueled by research. Fulfilling these commitments will require hard work, dedication and resources, including funding independent research to test new technologies and sharing the results as these approaches are proven.” Further Reducing the Water Used to Grow Almonds Of this year’s projects, ten focus on water with an investment of $678,000. Since 1982, California almond farmers have committed $8.1 million dollars to 221 different water research projects spanning irrigation efficiency, groundwater recharge and water quality. Together this investment has helped reduce the amount of water needed to grow each pound of almonds by 33 percent over the past 20 years. [1] By 2025, the California almond community commits to reducing the amount of water used to grow a pound of almonds by an additional 20 percent. Progress towards this goal is being measured against almond farmers’ annual irrigation water applied per unit of crop yield. While 77 percent of almond farms utilize efficient microirrigation,[2] nearly double the 42 percent average for California farms, further improvements are underway. ABC is working with farmers to support their progress up the Almond Irrigation Improvement Progress towards this goal is being measured against almond farmers’ annual irrigation water applied per unit of crop yield. While 77 percent of almond farms utilize efficient microirrigation,[1] nearly double the 42 percent average for California farms, further improvements are underway. ABC is working with farmers to support their progress up the Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum, a roadmap created by irrigation experts that outlines key irrigation management practices and how to achieve increasing levels of precision in each area. Achieving Zero Waste by Using Everything the Orchard Grows Almonds grow in a shell, protected by a hull, on a tree, and the California almond community ensures that each of these coproducts is put to beneficial use. Since 1977, ABC has funded 79 research projects totaling $3.5 million exploring the best ways to utilize these materials, establishing traditional uses such as dairy feed, livestock bedding, and electricity generation. Thirteen new studies have been funded this year with a commitment of $607,000 dollars to determine how almond coproducts may address needs in other sectors, with promising leads in strengthening recycled plastics, creating biofuel and more. By 2025, the California almond community commits to achieving zero waste in orchards by putting everything grown to optimal use. Given that almond coproducts are widely utilized already, progress toward this goal focuses on reducing the industry’s environmental footprint and adding value – economically and environmentally – via three key measures. These include: 1) significant increases in recycling trees into the soil when an orchard is removed, using the trees’ woody biomass to build healthier soils and address climate change via increased carbon sequestration, 2) diversifying applications for hulls and shells beyond current uses in the California dairy industry and 3) the effective elimination of open burning as a means to dispose of woody biomass. Additional Opportunities for Innovation In addition to water sustainability and coproduct utilization, investing in research has also resulted in significant advancements in the areas of nutrient management, air quality and honey bee health. For example, farmers work closely with beekeepers and follow research-based best practices to ensure the safety of honey bees, essential to pollinating almonds. ABC has funded more research related to honey bee health than any other crop group,[3] with 125 projects funded to date. This year, California almond farmers have added to that investment with five new research projects totaling $336,000.  “I often think of us as surfers,” said ABC chair, Holly King. “Surfers are strategic about where to catch a wave, and we’ve done that over the years with our research investments, catching the wave that will bring the greatest return. Today’s investment will not only help farmers grow almonds more efficiently, but also ensures we’re solidly riding the wave to a more sustainable farm of the future.” ABC research projects are funded through an assessment placed on each pound of almonds grown in California. After review by third-party research advisors and workgroups focused on distinct almond farming topics, projects are selected by a committee of almond farmers and processors based on strategic alignment to industry needs and anticipated impact of the research. For more information about ABC’s 46 years of almond farming and environmental research, and to explore how this research supports the California almond community in growing the farm of the future, visit Almonds.com/GrowingGood.   [1] University of California, Feb. 2010. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, 2012. Almond Board of California, 1990-94, 2000-14. [2] California Almond Sustainability Program. August 2019. [3] Gene Brandi. Vice President, American Beekeeping Foundation.
almond industry research
News Article
// About the Almond Board, About the Almond Industry, About the Farmers
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