STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS13) — You know it’s almond harvest season when you see clouds of dust rising from the orchards. It gets in the air, collects on cars and even makes its way into your home.
California Almond Growers are now doing something about the dust, using new technology and procedures to reduce its impact on communities.
Grower Brian Wahlbrink said Sperry Farms in Stanislaus and Merced Counties is doing its part to achieve an ambitious new set of goals the industry is asking farmers to achieve by 2025.
“I feel like California almond growers, there’s 7,000 of us in the state, are very research forward,” Wahlbrink said.
That includes a 50% reduction in dust, a 25% increase in environmentally-friendly pest management, a 20% decrease in water use, and zero waste when it comes to hulls and shells.
The almond industry is experimenting with turning hulls and shells into recycled plastics, food, and even beer.
Wahlbrink is participating in that research and is currently studying a way farmers can catch almonds before they hit the ground, which would greatly help eliminate dust.
He said they’re also raising sweeper heads and trying to be proactive. It’s just one of the innovations in the field he says will make almond farmers better neighbors and better stewards of the environment.