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ABC Funds $1 Million in Navel Orangeworm Research

For More Information: Ashley Knoblauch (209) 343-3288    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 ( 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 for more information about the summit.    
almond orchard
News Article
// About the Almond Industry

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   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
News Article

Future Industry Leaders Begin Yearlong Almond Experience

MODESTO, Calif. — The Almond Board of California (ABC) today announced its 2019 Almond Leadership Program class. These 19 promising leaders represent diverse backgrounds across multiple industries, from almond growers, processors and food safety specialists to marketing experts, sales representatives and even a dentist who has a passion for farming. Almond Leadership Program participants will spend the next year growing in their roles as the future generation of California almond industry leaders. They will learn from volunteer mentors who will help equip program participants with the knowledge and experience necessary to improve their leadership skills, the industry and their communities. The class will complete specialized training in a wide variety of topic areas, many of which are tied to ABC activities in marketing, trade stewardship, scientific research, food safety and more. As a kickoff to the program, Leadership class members participated in a two-day orientation, which included a State of the Industry address from ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott and Chair of the Board of Directors Holly King. Waycott and King highlighted the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals and the almond community’s commitment to continuous improvement, which are cornerstones of this year’s Almond Leadership Program. As they progress through the program, Leadership members will gain a stronger understanding of how the social, economic and scientific issues facing our world today — combined with the current political climate — affect the almond industry. They’ll also learn how all sectors in the almond supply chain work together to provide a safe, sustainable1 product. Through monthly seminars that span topics reaching all aspects of the industry, Leadership members will sharpen their communication skills while building relationships that will span their careers. Each participant will also select an area of interest to explore as part of a yearlong self-directed project. These projects will all focus on ways to help advance industry knowledge, and some past projects even led to important breakthroughs for the industry. At the end of the year, one participant will be selected to present their project at The Almond Conference 2019, held this year at Cal Expo in Sacramento. “This program helps mold great people into even greater leaders — the leaders we will one day look toward to shape the future of the almond industry,” said Jenny Nicolau, senior manager, Industry Relations and Communications, ABC. “Each graduate from the Almond Leadership Program has gone on to be a leader of change in the industry or their community in some capacity, and this group will be no different. They are bright and talented, and obviously problem-solvers, and we are honored to be partners on this yearlong journey.” Over the past ten years, the Almond Leadership Program has graduated more than 150 participants and supported many key initiatives benefiting the industry. This year’s class will continue the tradition of raising funds for California Future Farmers of America (FFA) and has pledged to raise more than $20,000 in scholarships for high school students interested in pursuing agriculture in college. Members of this year’s class include: Maria Gabriela Chavarria, Harris Woolf California Almonds; Louis Brichetto, L.F. Brichetto Farming; Dominique Camou, Famoso Nut Company; Rocky Dhaliwal, Valley Pride Farming; Brian Erickson, Erickson Orchards; Haley Fields, Ali Cox & Company Marketing; Purnima Gupta, K&G Ranches; Joseph Jackson, Hillside Orchards; Falastine “Fill” Munoz, Grizzly Nut, LLC; April Nuckles, HarvestPort; Kristina Qualls, South Valley Almond Company, LLC; Brett Richesin, Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.; Dylan Rogers, AgroLiquid; Lucas Schmidt, Grow West; Victor Thao, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Jerrett Thomason, Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness; Chris VanderStoel, VanderStoel Farm; Connor Wagner, Wagner Land Company; and Chandler Wilson, NutriAg Group Ltd. [1] Sustainable almond farming utilizes production practices that are economically viable and are based upon scientific research, common sense and a respect for the environment, neighbors and employees. The result is a plentiful, nutritious, safe food product.
2019 Almond Leadership Class
News Article
// About the Almond Board

Inside the California Almond Bloom | Fast Facts on Almonds and the 'Valley Snow'

From February to early March, the Central Valley sees a flurry of pink and purple petals come to life for the almond bloom.   Author: Eric Escalante   ESCALON, Calif. — Almond bloom season brings about a stunning display of pink and purple petals in orchards all around Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties.   When the bloom ends, these gorgeous petals fall and become what many refer to as the "valley snow."   Here are some fast facts about California's almonds and the almond bloom:   1. 90 percent of California almond orchards are family owned   Many almond farms in California are family owned and operated - about 90 percent, according to the Almond Board of California.   In Escalon, ABC10 visited a 40-acre orchard, which dates back to 1965, while the bloom was at its peak. The orchard was the result of an effort from Fred Veenstra and his brother-in-law, who planted their orchard's first generation of almond trees.    Even though Veenstra isn't around today, his granddaughter Danielle Veenstra has been around to continue the family work with the orchards.    2. "Cool, wet winters" and "warm, hot summers"   "That’s what California offers and that’s what almond trees need,” Veenstra said.   In addition to great soil and water, almonds benefit from the kind of climate California offers, which is why California grows 80 percent of the world's almonds.   Freezing temperatures aren't good for the crop during periods like the almond bloom.   “You can’t grow them in Wisconsin or Arizona or any place where you would potentially have that type of weather,” Veenstra added.   3. Different almonds for different occasions   According to Veenstra, about 40 percent of the almond industry almonds are "nonpareil" varieties. These are the snack nuts that have the most desirable taste, look, and texture.   Other varieties are grown and can often end up as a flavored snack nut, like those with Wasabi and Soy seasoning. Other varieties like the Butte-Padre produce a smaller nut that you'll probably find hidden inside a Hershey's Kiss.   A lot of varieties are grown but all are put to their best possible use. In Veenstra's orchard, she has at least three different varieties of almonds, which also helps pollination.   4. "They [professionals] can make almonds into anything"   Almonds can be made into marzipan, butter, flour, and a "milk." One of the more surprising creations Veenstra ever saw was an almond-based meatball.   “I’ve been on some of our tours with food professionals, and they can make almonds into anything,” Veenstra said.   The coproducts, like the almond shells, have been used an animal bedding but it also has the potential to be used as a reinforcement agent for plastics. Research is being done to these shells, where they get burned in the absence of oxygen and made into a charcoal-like powder, to help make recycled plastics stronger.   5. The "valley snow"   Bees collect pollen and nectar from blooming almond trees and rub against other flowers, pollinating them. Inside the flower, you get what will grow into a harvest ready almond around August.   “Every single almond that we eat is because a bee pollinated whatever flower that was on almond tree,” Veenstra said.   To get the valley snow, those beautiful pink and purple petals have to fall off the tree. Some varieties bloom and fall later than others, but they eventually create the 'valley snow' when they fall to the ground.    
In The News
// About the Almond Board, Almond Bloom and Bees

The Biggest Misconceptions and Myths About Almonds and Almond Farming

by Daniel Falconer Female First   There seems to be a trend in the media of big press going after the latest trends. Almonds have been popular for a few years now, and whilst they're loved by people across the globe, that hasn't stopped them from facing the glare of the critical spotlight. Whilst they're certainly not perfect (what is?), our recent trip to California and visit to almond blooms has really opened our eyes to the reality behind almond farming. Here, we take a look at some of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the powerful little nut...   Growing almonds uses more water than any other crop   Dairy and livestock are actually considered to be far more water-intensive than crops such as almonds. The nuts (or seeds, if you want to be pedantic) actually use the same or similar levels of water as other California fruit and nut trees.   In fact, by 2025 the almond community have teamed up with the Almond Board of California to make a pledge, committing to reduce the amount of water they use to grow each pound of almonds by 20%. This is on top of the 33% reduction of water being used already successfully implemented!   Bees get nothing from working on almond blooms   Without bees, there would be no almonds. It's that simple! So, it's understandable that some may think farmers are bringing in bees simply for their own profit. What they fail to understand however, is that the first thing Californian bees gain nutrients from at the start of the year is almonds! The blooms provide all 10 of the essential amino acids that bees need to survive.   Almonds can be grown anywhere   Hmm, technically, but not as proficiently! There are only five places on the planet with the perfect Mediterranean climate that allows almond trees to thrive. California is one of the five, with central Chile, the Mediterranean Basin, the Western Cape of South Africa and the Western Cape of South Australia also providing a faultless location for growth.   Almond farmers are selfish   There's a misconception surrounding almond farmers that they are simply in this business for the money, and care about nothing else. After meeting female grower Christine Gemperle, as well as second and third generation father and son team Jim and Jason Jasper, we can categorically state that this is not the case. They are respectful, family-oriented hard workers who aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty. They live and breathe their businesses and the community, and really light up when talking about what they love.   Growing almonds leads to huge scales of waste   The California almond community have made a commitment to achieve zero waste in orchards by 2025, by putting everything that's grown to optimal use. Not only are the almonds taken from their hulls and shells, but those hulls and shells are also used in a number of beneficial ways rather than being sent straight to landfill. Researchers at the USDA-ARS Lab in Albany, California are currently experimenting with new ways to use hulls and shells, even showing us on a visit a piece of revolutionary plastic that was created using 40% almond materials!
In The News
// About the Almond Industry, Almond Bloom and Bees
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