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NASS Predicts Another Record-Breaking Almond Crop

MODESTO, Calif. – (May 10) – For the second year in a row, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is predicting a record California almond crop for the upcoming production year. According to the NASS 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast issued today, California almond orchards are expected to produce 2.50 billion pounds of nuts this year, up 8.69% from last year’s 2.30 billion-pound crop.[1] This forecast comes about two weeks after NASS released the 2018 California Almond Acreage Report, which estimated total almond acres for 2018 were up 2% from 2017 at 1.39 million acres. Bearing acres – orchards mature enough to produce a crop – were reported at 1.09 million acres, up 6% from the previous year. Looking ahead, NASS reported preliminary bearing acreage for 2019 at 1.17 million acres, up 7.3% from 2018.[2] “I am excited by the future of the California almond industry. As our crop grows, our improvements in technology and innovative practices are growing with us, from advances in pest management that look beyond traditional applications to significant progress in water use efficiency. The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals highlight these successes and drive our industry to press onward towards the California almond farm of the future,” said Almond Board President and CEO Richard Waycott. The first of two reports for the upcoming crop, the Subjective Forecast is based on opinions obtained from randomly selected almond growers located throughout the state via a phone survey conducted in April and May. NASS asked growers to indicate their total almond yield per acre from last year and expected yield for the current year based on field observations. The sample of growers interviewed is grouped by size of operation, and different individuals are interviewed each year, allowing all growers to be represented. NASS then combines the yield estimates obtained from each grower and extrapolates the information to arrive at the numbers reported in the Subjective Forecast. While the Subjective Forecast provides early estimates of the upcoming crop after it is set, NASS’s 2019 California Almond Objective Report will provide a more precise estimate as it uses a more statistically rigorous methodology to determine yield. The report’s data is based on actual almond counts and measurements gathered from over 850 orchards throughout the state and includes the weight, size and grade of the average almond sample broken down by both growing district and variety. The California Almond Objective Report will be released on July 3, 2019, at 11:50 a.m. PDT. NASS conducts the Objective Report, the Subjective Forecast and the Acreage Report in order to provide the California almond industry with the data needed to make informed business decisions.   [1] USDA-NASS. 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast. May 2019. [2] USDA-NASS. 2018 California Almond Acreage Report. April 2019.
Almond Orchard
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California Almond Acreage Increases in 2018

For More Information: Ashley Knoblauch aknoblauch@almondboard.com MODESTO, Calif. – USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports that California’s almond acreage continued to increase in 2018. Bearing acres, or orchards that have matured enough to produce a crop, are reported at 1.09 million acres, which is up 6 percent from 2017. Total almond acres for 2018 is estimated at 1.39 million acres, up 2 percent from the previous year.[i] With this increase, almond growers remain committed to continuous improvement, finding ways to responsibly produce more almonds to meet domestic demand (the U.S. is the largest market for almonds, with California-grown almonds making up 30% of the market) and global demand. Last year, the Almond Board of California (ABC) Board of Directors prioritized industry resources in four key areas that will ensure almonds remain as leaders in California agriculture as they work towards producing an economically, environmentally and socially responsible crop. These four key areas – water use, harvest dust reduction, environmentally friendly pest management, zero waste – ladder up to the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals, which build upon a history of significant industry achievements. For example, over the past two decades growers have reduced the amount of water it takes to grow a pound of almonds by 33%[ii].  In addition to achievements in the orchard, on the processing side there have been zero outbreaks of foodborne illness attributed to California almonds since the rollout of a groundbreaking pasteurization program a decade ago. In fact, earlier this month the Almond Board was selected to receive the GMA Food Safety Award from the International Association for Food Protection, in recognition of the Board’s “preeminence in and contributions to the field of food safety.” “The California almond industry continues to prove itself as a leader in responsible practices, from the orchard to the processor,” said Almond Board President and CEO Richard Waycott. “The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals act as a guidepost on our journey towards continued advancement and innovation throughout the industry. With the latest acreage numbers, we’re confident in our ability to continue to meet global demand and to provide the world with a high-quality product.” On Friday, May 10, 2019, NASS will release the 2019 Subjective Report, which provides an initial forecast of the upcoming crop. Data for the Subjective Report is based on opinions obtained from almond growers in a survey sent by NASS. Almond growers will soon receive the NASS survey and are encouraged to participate. For more information, growers may contact Bryce Spycher at bspycher@almondboard.com.   [i] USDA-NASS. 2018 California Almond Acreage Report. April 2019. [ii] University of California, 2010. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012. Almond Board of California, 1990-94, 2000-14
almond orchard
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Could U.S. AG Take a Page from Almond Board?

Could U.S. ag take a page from almond board? by Todd Fitchette   Panel finds common ground with environmental groups.   Does the Almond Board of California (ABC) have a business model that other agricultural organizations – not just the commodity groups – might want to emulate? I think so.   Since 1950 almond growers have voted by referendum to pay pennies per pound for the federal marketing order, which at its core seeks to “make California almonds essential to customers and consumers worldwide through innovative research, market development and industry support.” Though the mission rightly is to sell more almonds, what the organization does reaches beyond its orchards and board room.   As a federal marketing order, the board is prohibited from political lobbying – hence its relationship with the Almond Alliance of California (AAC). The Almond Board provides scientific data and information which AAC, and any other organization that wishes to can use to promote California almonds.   The Almond Board’s progressive approach to agriculture in general doesn’t just benefit almond growers. Its best management practices for bee handling promotes pollinator protection that benefits beekeepers and the crops they pollinate. Its work on water issues have a broader reach than the million-plus acres of almonds growing in the state. Last December an almond board representative speaking at the USA Rice Outlook Conference made some positive comments about California rice sustainability efforts and communications that were noticed.   As California’s largest crop by acreage and its largest agricultural exporter, Daren Williams, the almond board’s senior director of global communications, says ABC Chief Executive Officer Richard Waycott’s internal message is one of leadership within agriculture.   Within this focus are some interesting partnerships that perhaps not all agricultural groups would eagerly embrace, including Sustainable Conservation and the Environmental Defense Fund – yes, that EDF.   On water, the partnership with Sustainable Conservation is critical because Williams sees Sustainable Conservation as able to do work that the Almond Board otherwise could not do. On its relationship with EDF, Williams admits there’s not going to be cross-platform agreement on all issues, but on the issues the two can agree upon. Williams says the board hopes to find common ground with the environmental organization that translates into wins for almonds and agriculture in general.   What would it look like for U.S. agriculture if other ag associations had similar global views? Can the board’s success in maintaining demand ahead of an ever-growing supply be connected to this philosophy or was it simply the fortuitous result of landmark nutrition studies decades ago by an organization willing to spend money on good research? Could U.S. producer prices benefit from similar leadership and messages focusing on the positive global benefits of sustainable U.S. food and fiber production, and could agricultural in-fighting cease with similar efforts to seek common ground?   I don’t pretend to have those answers, but from the perspective agricultural journalism and life experiences provide me, recognizing successful leadership within organizations such as the Almond Board of California is simple.  
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ABC Funds $1 Million in Navel Orangeworm Research

For More Information: Ashley Knoblauch (209) 343-3288 aknoblauch@almondboard.com    MODESTO, Calif. — The Almond Board of California recently approved funding of $1 million dollars of a Navel Orangeworm Sterile Insect Technique research project. This is the single largest production research project ever funded by the Almond Board.  The Almond Board of California (ABC) has been funding Navel Orangeworm (NOW) research for over twenty years and has made great progress in determining various production practices growers can implement for NOW control, including mating disruption and winter sanitation. While these practices have proven effective, this pest problem is still growing in some regions. Through the funding of this project the Almond Board is ramping up efforts in finding solutions by exploring all possible options for NOW control and providing growers with additional tools to combat this pest. “We’ve been funding Navel Orangeworm research since 1973 – that’s nearly half a century of scientific findings focused on one pest and its impacts,” said Richard Waycott, Almond Board of California President and CEO. “Putting $1 million of growers’ dollars towards Navel Orangeworm research demonstrates our seriousness in combating this pest. We want to explore all available options to find effective controls for NOW.” The concept around the sterile insect technique (SIT) is simple: Researchers use radiation to sterilize male insects and then release them into the orchard when the first generation of mating occurs. While the physical aspect of mating still takes place, the female is not fertilized, resulting in an unproductive mating process and, overtime, reducing the NOW population. However, using SIT to reduce the NOW population in almonds alone would only bring short-term success; controlling NOW requires solutions that work beyond almonds. Even if NOW damage is reduced on an annual basis in almonds, the pest will still be flying to other crops, such as pistachios and walnuts, and replenishing its population there. Therefore, the Almond Board’s big-picture approach to NOW control involves a collaborative effort with other nut industries. By working together, each industry will be able to establish new options for pest management that can be applied across the various crops.   “Together, the California almond industry and other crops will test the viability of the sterile insect technique to determine how this control method will work across the various commodities,” said Josette Lewis, director of Agricultural Affairs at the Almond Board. Federal funds may also be available to support SIT research and the facilities where the sterile insects will be raised prior to being released and tested in almond and pistachio orchards. Almonds growers and other industry members who want to learn about the process to obtain federal funding for this project can contact Elaine Trevino (etrevino@almondalliance.org) at the Almond Alliance for more information. “The Almond Board has spent decades researching NOW to better understand how growers can combat this pest and better protect their crop, and through that research we’ve had great findings,” said Lewis. “Still, there’s more work to be done and the Almond Board looks forward to partnering with researchers, the almond industry and the broader ag community in exploring this sterile insect opportunity for NOW control.” Those interested to learn more about the SIT project, as well as the almond industry’s research in NOW and its effects, should attend the Almond Board of California’s NOW Summit on June 18 at the Modesto Junior College Agricultural Pavilion. During this event nut growers, PCAs and others involved in California agriculture can gather to learn more about ABC’s current NOW research, what problems remain and what potential solutions lie on the horizon. Speakers and the agenda are still being finalized, but one of the items that will be discussed is the NOW SIT project. Visit Almonds.com/Events for more information about the summit.    
almond orchard
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Crunch into Spring Cleaning with Home Renovation Experts Ashley and Andy Williams

MODESTO, Calif. – March is here, so spring cleaning and home reorganization are at the top of many to-do lists. But juggling strict work schedules and the kids’ after-school activities make it tough to focus on creating the perfect space to own it. And let’s face it – after a long day, you don’t have the energy to get to work on a reno project once the kitchen’s clean and the kids are in bed. Home renovation and design experts Ashley and Andy Williams understand the challenge of owning their everyday as they balance flipping homes and raising a family. This dynamic duo has partnered with California Almonds to share their secrets to owning it — whether it’s closing a real estate deal, handling the morning school drop-off or a daunting to-do list. “As a busy parent and entrepreneur, my days are filled with meetings, deadlines and after-school activities,” said Ashley Williams. “It’s important for Andy and I to keep our energy levels high so we can own it—and help individuals create spaces that allow them to do the same. I always need portable snacks like almonds that I can take with me in a purse or briefcase to munch on as I review a blueprint or remodel a workspace.” Ashley and Andy agree that a functional and organized workspace is key to owning your day. This spring, the pair recommends transforming a home office space into an ‘Own It’ space by painting one wall with chalkboard paint. Chalkboard paint is an easy way to transform a to-do list into a colorful reminder of all the ways to own your everyday. In addition to chalkboard paint, the duo loves incorporating vibrant colors like red and yellow into a workspace to inspire and motivate. Since it’s hard to stay motivated on an empty stomach, the couple suggests incorporating fun containers filled with healthy snacks like almonds in an ‘Own It’ space to ensure maximum productivity. Whether organizing a single room or remodeling an entire home, Ashley and Andy prioritize smart snacking to remain energized throughout the day. The couple recommends filling a baggie with snacks like almonds and dried fruit to put in a car cup holder or purse to avoid dreaded midday hunger pangs. Ashley and Andy also keep their focus by fitting exercise into their routines, even if it’s simply a quick lunchtime walk. “We’re incredibly passionate about creating spaces that allow individuals to be their best selves, but we can’t succeed if we’re not properly fueled at every step of the process,” said Andy Williams. “By incorporating an easy snack like almonds into our daily routine, we have the energy needed to face any challenge and own our days with a positive attitude.”     For more of Ashley’s and Andy’s tips on how you can transform your space and own your everyday, every day, visit http://www.almonds.com/consumers/own-it-with-ashley-andy.   About Ashley and Andy Williams   Ashley and Andy Williams are military veterans living in Fort Worth, Texas. Ashley served two combat tours in Iraq where she met Andy, a Marine, who was working in High Threat Diplomatic Protection. Andy, a licensed real estate agent, expert real estate investor and social entrepreneur, leveraged real estate to successfully transition from military to civilian life. The couple married and continued to build their real estate portfolio while continuing to serve in Baghdad. After settling in Fort Worth, Ashley and Andy started their family and embarked on a mission to change the conversation on military transition with their public benefit corporation Recon Realty. They are committed to adding value to communities, creating jobs for veterans and giving distressed homes a second chance as they continue to serve.  
Ashley Andy and Emoji sign
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