Skip to main content

Newsletter

Research Investment to Fuel the Farm of the Future

California Almonds have changed significantly over the years. Growing practices have advanced, acreage has expanded and yields have improved, all helping to secure almonds as the largest U.S. specialty crop export. To continue propelling the industry forward, Almond Board of California (ABC) is funding research to foster innovation in the orchard. At the 2017 Almond Conference, the Almond Board unveiled an investment of $4.8 million in 64 independent, third-party research projects exploring next-generation farming practices and released Growing Good, the first annual almond sustainability publication. Growing Good highlights the industry’s evolving farming and processing best practices and will be updated to include new findings based on continued research. Research programs funded in part by the Almond Board provide a scientific basis for best practices across several priority areas. Three areas that will be central to the farm of the future include water sustainability, protection of honey bees and new uses of almond hulls, shells and woody materials in an effort to use everything produced in the orchard. Water Sustainability Richard Waycott, president and CEO, ABC, envisions farm of the future at The Almond Conference Since 1982, California Almond growers have committed $6.7 million to 201 different water research projects spanning irrigation efficiency, groundwater recharge and water quality. Through production improvements and adoption of water-efficient technologies, this investment has helped almond growers reduce the amount of water needed to grow a pound of almonds by 33% over the past 20 years.1 Of this year’s projects, 14 focus on water with an investment of $1.2 million. Honey Bee Health Since honey bee health was made a strategic research priority of the Almond Board in 1995, the California Almond community has committed $2.6 million dollars in support of 113 projects that address the five major factors impacting honey bee health. Research has also supported the development of orchard practices designed to keep bees safe during almond pollination. California Almond growers added to that investment this year with six research projects totaling nearly $300,000, funding more honey bee health research than any other crop group.2 Coproduct Innovation Growing almonds produces more than the nut, and the California Almond community has ensured that almond coproducts like shells, hulls and trees are put to beneficial use through investment in 58 research projects since 1977, totaling $1.6 million. Nine studies have been funded this year with a commitment of $540,000 to determine how almond coproducts may address needs across food, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, automotive and more.  “Almond Board of California, in collaboration with our industry partners, is working every day to bring profitable, innovative solutions for coproducts back to growers and processors,” said Rory Crowley, a Chico almond grower and research collaborator. “Having a robust economic outlook while remaining committed to environmental sustainability is not mutually exclusive, which is why I’m excited to be a part of this effort.” Each research project demonstrates the commitment to helping the California Almond community grow the farm of the future. “We are family farmers. For the most part, we live on our farms or very close by to them, raise our kids here and want them to inherit our farms and our companies,” said Richard Waycott, president and CEO, ABC. “When we think about improving our industry across the myriad areas of opportunity, it also involves wanting to make a better environment for our children and grandchildren. Research investment plays a huge role in this future.” Over more than 40 years, the California Almond community has invested nearly $70 million to build a foundation of research on improving how almonds are grown, processed and consumed. For more information about the research conducted to improve the industry, visit AlmondSustainability.org and the Research Database at Almonds.com/ResearchDatabase.   1University of California. UC Drought Management. Feb. 2010. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 66 – Crop yield in response to water. 2012. Almond Board of California. Almond Almanac 1990-94, 2000-14. 2Gene Brandi. Vice President, American Beekeeping Federation.
Newsletter
Jan 16, 2018 // About the Almond Industry, About the Almond Board

Shanghai Fashion Week Features California Almonds

Last fall, California Almonds hit the runway in Shanghai to bring the beauty of blossoming orchards and California sunshine to Shanghai Fashion Week (SHFW). Almond Board of California (ABC) participated in SHFW as the event’s Official Leisure Snack Sponsor. During the event, held this fall, almonds were featured as a main point of inspiration for Chinese fashion influencers, who helped portray almonds as a nutritious, trendy snack in their creative work.  The Almond Board created a campaign around this sponsorship centered on embracing “Your Beauty Secret.” ABC partnered with top designers, models, artists and fashion bloggers to share two key messages with Chinese consumers: almonds’ beauty benefits and almonds’ trendiness as a small, portable snack. These key messages appeared in both print and online advertising and on social media through California Almond’s Instagram account as well as accounts of fashion models and influencers. As of Nov. 3, 2017, #TasteofSunshine and #YourBeautySecret generated almost four thousand clicks and more than four million reads on social media. Another campaign effort involved the Almond Board’s partnership with Yoku, a Chinese fashion media outlet. Together, ABC and Yoku created timely stories and gathered influencer interviews amplifying California Almonds. These stories gained more than 5 million views during the fashion week. 
Newsletter
Jan 16, 2018 // About the Almond Industry

Unleashing Orchard Potential Among Highlights of 45th Annual Almond Conference

Last month, more than 3,900 industry members gathered in Sacramento for the 45th annual Almond Conference. The impressive crowd pushed attendance to a new record in Almond Board of California (ABC) history. Conference attendees gathered at the Almond Board of California booth   The three-day Conference represented all that’s new in the California Almond industry. The major theme – and the focus of the State of the Industry address – was unleashing orchard potential, doing so using three guiding principles: Creating demand for almonds ahead of production Accelerating agriculture innovation Transforming the consumer landscape “We want to realize the potential of every aspect of almond farming and marketing with the increased assessment,” said Richard Waycott, president and CEO, ABC.  Much of this potential can be found in the coproducts and biomass almond orchards produce in addition to the almond kernel. ABC is increasing research around coproducts to create more value for the industry with these products, embracing a zero-waste approach. “Our orchards produce four products: kernels, hulls, shells and woody biomass,” said Waycott. “We have been focused on the kernel, and now we are going to take that approach and apply it to the coproducts.” This year’s Almond Conference boasted 60 speakers with session topics ranging from the Food Safety Modernization Act to global marketing to pollination to irrigation management, many sharing results from Almond Board-funded research projects. Throughout the event, Pest Control Advisors and Certified Crop Consultants had the opportunity to earn 45 Continuing Education Units. The action continued on the tradeshow floor. Conference attendees heard from more than 270 exhibitors along with presenters during several research poster sessions and talks at the main Almond Stage.  More than 3,900 people attended the 2017 Almond Conference, making it the largest crowd in Conference history   Throughout the Conference, there were three keynote sessions, all focusing on innovation. Speakers included Daniel Lubetsky, founder and CEO of KIND Snacks, Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, John Haugen, Vice President/General Manager, 301 INC – Emerging Brand Elevator at General Mills and Tal Ronnen, cofounder of Kite Hill and executive chef at Crossroads. ABC and the Almond Leadership Program again supported California FFA Foundation with a silent auction during the Conference and a live auction at the annual Gala Dinner. These two events raised more than $30,000 for college scholarships to be awarded to outstanding California FFA students. Guests at the Gala Dinner were dazzled by “The Futurist”, Adam Trent, who entertained with an extravaganza of magic, comedy and music. In all, the 2017 Almond Conference was one for the books. In case you missed it, all Conference presentations are available at Almonds.com/ConferencePresentations. The next Almond Conference will be held Dec. 4–6, 2018.
Newsletter
Jan 16, 2018 // About the Almond Industry, About the Almond Board, About the Farmers

Watch for News Impacting Almonds on New Farm Bill Website

The House Agriculture Committee has launched an online resource to provide updates to growers, handlers and other industry members on the 2018 Farm Bill. Every five years, the U.S. Congress establishes its policy for food and agricultural programs. The Farm Bill impacts all Americans as it provides funds to grow safe and healthy foods for consumers and creates jobs in all segments of the food industry.  “The Farm Bill website includes information about the upcoming legislation as well as weekly blogs and a few videos that growers will find interesting,” said Bunnie Ibrahim, government affairs specialist, Almond Board of California. “It will continue to grow with new information.” Following the launch of the site, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conway (R-Texas) said he’s “committed to completing a Farm Bill on time.” “We recognize what’s at stake,” said Conway. “We’re working on getting the policy right and will use this site as a resource as we advance the next Farm Bill.” The Farm Bill sets the course of our nation’s food and farming system through programs covering everything from crop insurance to research in support of sustainable farming practices. There is no better reason to get involved in the process than to make sure the Farm Bill reflects the needs of the California Almond industry to confront new challenges and ensure continued success for generations to come. The current Farm Bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, expires Sept. 30, 2018. Visit the website at agriculture.house.gov/farmbill.
Newsletter
Jan 10, 2018 // Government Affairs

Intentional Groundwater Recharge Could Help Growers Weather a Drier Future

In the winter of 1997, historic levels of rain caused the Merced River to swell. From November through March, the river carried nearly 1 million acre-feet – more than 300 billion gallons of water. And almost all of this bounty rushed past the valley’s fields and orchards and out to the Pacific Ocean. Most years, growers could have used that water. Take dry 1993, when flows slowed to a trickle. Such is California’s boom-and-bust cycle, where few years are 'average' and growers mostly contend with too much or too little water. Groundwater is the savings account growers depend on in dry years when precipitation and surface sources (reservoirs and rivers) aren’t enough. But according to experts appearing at the annual Almond Conference last December, the Central Valley’s groundwater savings account is overdrawn, and more needs to be done to increase deposits in wet years so the water is there for dry ones. “We want to be more proactive,” said Aaron Fukuda of the Tulare Irrigation District, which has been spearheading efforts to recharge aquifers by helping growers strategically apply excess water not to grow crops, but to replenish aquifers. Part of a panel entitled “The Science and Practice of Intentional Recharge in Almond Orchards,” Fukuda explained how his district worked with 14 local growers in 2017 to facilitate intentional recharge of 6,800 acre-feet of water (more than 2 billion gallons). Water was delivered at reduced rates to on-farm recharge ponds, but the effort also included a more innovative practice – applying the water strategically to fallowed fields where information about soil types and geology predicted the water would seep quickly below ground, moving into the aquifer and not allowing the soil to become waterlogged for so long that plants would be harmed. “You have to be very careful where and how you do it,” said Fukuda. His district is building a “farmer-driven” program to further increase recharge when excess winter flows are available. Almond Board-funded research featured by the panel suggests an important role for almond growers to play. Dr. Helen Dahlke at University of California, Davis (UC Davis), performed studies on almond orchards to look at risks and rewards of applying extra water during the dormant season. At test sites in Orland, Delhi and Modesto, UC Davis researchers applied an extra 24 inches of water (in addition to precipitation) during December and January in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Their work found “no obvious warning signs that winter irrigation for groundwater recharge affects trees if applied during the dormant season.”   Still, researchers did find that higher permeability soils - that is sandier soils - are more suitable. The Land IQ almond mapping analysis indicates that nearly 675,000 acres of almond orchards grow on soil that is moderately good or better for groundwater recharge. This includes: 4,119 acres of almonds which are categorized as ‘very good’ in their groundwater recharge potential; 271,509 acres as ‘good’; and 396,790 acres as ‘moderately good’. Visit Almonds.com/Maps to access current mapping data. The work by Peter Nico from the Lawrence Berkeley Lab shows that with detailed mapping of water penetration into the deeper soil layers, it is likely that specific areas within an orchard or site with rapid deep percolation could be targeted for recharge. “Winter recharge is not a suitable practice for every grower,” Dahlke advised. “Know your soil.” Dahlke offered additional advice: Growers should keep their flood irrigation systems for recharge, even if they plan to install microsprinkler or drip systems Growers should consult their irrigation district about recharge programs Intentional recharge may help growers navigate California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which regulates the use of groundwater for the first time in California. An almond orchard where intentional groundwater recharge occurred as part of an Almond Board-funded research project with UC Davis.   SGMA was a response to depletion of the state’s groundwater resources, which declined over the past century by more than 160 million acre-feet – enough to fill the state’s largest surface water reservoir more than 35 times. SGMA requires formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to better manage the resource. In areas of severe overdraft, which includes many locations in the Central Valley, the GSAs will have to have a plan in place starting in 2020 to eventually ensure no more water is extracted than can be replaced in the aquifer. Local groundwater districts are already developing accounting systems to allow growers who intentionally recharge to receive credits for their efforts, Fukuda said. For more information on SGMA and GSAs, visit http://sgma.water.ca.gov/. To see this and other slide decks from The Almond Conference, visit Almonds.com/ConferencePresentations.
Newsletter
Jan 03, 2018 // Environmental Sustainability

Pollination Preparedness: Are You Ready?

As we ring in the new year, we should also prepare for almond pollination. Since pollination is the single most important factor for determining a good yield, it is never too early to begin thinking about how to keep honey bees happy and healthy once they arrive in your orchard.  Wondering where to begin? The Honey Bee Best Management Practices for California Almonds outlines how you can take your first steps toward a successful season: 1.  The Communication Chain: Establish clear communication among all parties involved in pollination and pest management during bloom. It may be as simple as the grower and beekeeper connecting, but larger scale operations may have a more complex communication chain. It is also important to contact the California County Agricultural Commissioners to determine if there are any honey bees in the vicinity outside of almond bloom, particularly when applying pesticides.     2.  Grower-Beekeeper Expectations: Communicate with your beekeeper prior to almond bloom to set expectations. Reach out as early as possible before the pollination season to discuss requirements, such as pesticide use during bloom. Outline a pesticide plan containing which materials will be applied when and how everyone in the communication chain will be notified. A few other expectations to consider are the number of frames of honeybees, including averages and minimums; the date and location of placement in the orchard; payment amounts and terms; and when bees will be removed from the orchard.     3.  Prepare for Arrival: Consider the optimal placement of each hive in your orchard. Placing hives appropriately can enhance pollination. A general rule of thumb is to place an average of two hives per acre that have an average of eight frames of bees with six-frame minimum hive strength. Moving hives into orchards at about 10% bloom is recommended. Growers should provide a clear area for bee drop-off and keep access roads clear and maintained. Hives should be placed in areas with eastern and southern exposures and away from areas prone to shade or flooding. This will encourage honey bee flight. Make sure to choose locations that have appropriate buffers between pesticide-treated areas and colonies. Provide abundant water for bees to drink, so they spend time pollinating rather than searching for water.     4.  Assess Hive Strength and Quality: Inspect beehives as they arrive in the orchard. The inspector can be a third-party apiary inspector or the beekeeper who is observed by the grower. Make plans for who will inspect hives ahead of time.     These simple steps will get you ready for pollination and give you a strong start to the 2018 almond growing season. For more information, visit Almonds.com/pollination.
Newsletter
Dec 28, 2017 // Orchard Management

From Math Teacher to Almond Grower: How a New Almond Grower Uses Data to Irrigate Efficiently

Mike Story knows sports and can tell you how to use the Pythagorean theorem. So how does a former math and P.E. teacher who grew up around cattle ranching find himself managing 119 acres of almond trees in Glenn County, California? Story left his teaching career two years ago to convert some family land into almond orchards. The timing was particularly challenging, considering the scrutiny around water use and irrigation practices in the midst of a drought. He found support and resources within the almond community, however.  “My father and grandfather were cattle ranchers. They taught me the value of hard work, and my orchards are on land where my grandfather once lived, but they didn’t know anything about almonds,” said Story, who is in his second leaf with his first almond trees. “My dad helps out, but everything falls to me to manage. The community has been so helpful and willing to go out of their way to support me.” With no background in tree nuts or crop farming, Story immersed himself in learning opportunities – including attending The Almond Conference. It was there that he sat in on an irrigation management session led by Spencer Cooper, senior manager of irrigation and water efficiency. Cooper explained the Almond Board of California’s Irrigation Improvement Continuum and irrigation calculator, tools growers can use to help them make decisions about irrigating in their orchards. This was the first time Story had heard Cooper speak, and he was impressed with Cooper’s simple and clear explanations on the complex topic of irrigation. Story left the conference with a handout, Determining When to Begin Irrigation, and a renewed desire to apply data-driven decisions to his operation. Armed with new knowledge, Story returned home and reviewed his irrigation numbers from the previous year. He emailed Cooper on a whim to ask a few questions about the irrigation system he was running in his orchards. Much to his delight, Cooper responded and offered to visit Story’s operation. Cooper’s visit had a big impact on how Story irrigates his almonds. After walking him through the numbers and data, Cooper explained the benefits of implementing a pressure chamber to determine how much stress the trees are experiencing. Cooper explained the difference between rainfall and effective rainfall in an orchard, how to leverage rainfall in his irrigation plans and how to measure the impact on almond trees. Story quickly realized he had been overwatering his trees to the point of injury. Many were turning yellow, but he overlooked the problem while learning to manage his orchard. After Cooper, along with Dani Lightle from the UC Cooperative Extension, weighed in and introduced him to the benefits of measuring plant water status, Story changed the way he irrigated. Before working with Cooper, Mike was using ET and a soil moisture sensor to support his decision-making process. After Cooper’s visit, he added the plant water status by using the pressure chamber which completed his irrigation data to further improve decisions. He uses micro sprinklers to irrigate his almonds. After adjustments were made to the duration of irrigation, and sprinkler sets were configured to take the soil type and tree stress into account, Story began to see a difference in his trees. Over half of the trees that were showing water injury rebounded to full health, saving him thousands of dollars in future yield potential and replanting costs. Story relied on his previous work as a math teacher to help him be as precise as possible with his irrigation approach. He is good with numbers and is always looking for patterns in the data collected from his orchard to help him make decisions. He uses what he gathers to try to predict what the trees need ahead of time. Story says his investment in technology has been to his advantage. He has saved money on pumping water and recaptured yield potential for the future. He also says the time invested to understand how to use data pulled from his orchard has been invaluable. He now has peace of mind knowing what the numbers mean, thanks to Cooper’s insight and support. “This is really the first year of the life of the orchard, so this has been good timing meeting Spencer,” said Story. “You only have one chance to get off on the right foot. I don’t want to look back and wish I had done things differently.” Story suggests reaching out to Cooper for consultation to help benefit your orchard. “All the investment in a new orchard is worth a quick phone call or email,” said Story. “It is only going to help your orchard; it is not going to hurt it.” Story has also learned a lot from online resources, specifically the Irrigation Continuum from Almond Board of California’s website. The Continuum outlines the best practices for improved irrigation and can help growers continually improve. “With the Continuum, you are not competing with other growers,” says Story. “I am competing with myself to try to advance my techniques to the upper level of irrigation management.” To learn more Almond Board of California’s Irrigation Continuum, visit Almonds.com/irrigation.
Newsletter
Dec 28, 2017 // Orchard Management, About the Farmers, About the Almond Industry

Tony Campos, 2017 Almond Achievement Award Winner

From left: Kent Stenderup (vice chair, ABC), Tony Campos (award recipient), Mike Mason (chairman, ABC) and Richard Waycott (president and CEO, ABC)   Tony Campos, Campos Brothers Farms, accepted the 2017 Almond Achievement Award winner at the Almond Conference in Sacramento. Tony has been involved with Almond Board of California (ABC) for almost three decades, serving on multiple committees, including eight years as an ABC Board Member.  “Tony is someone in our industry that has dedicated his life to promoting, processing and developing markets for almonds,” said Lori Coburn, Hughson Nut, Inc., who nominated Campos. “He has been involved in the industry in different capacities for decades as a grower and processor.” Campos began growing almonds in 1971 with his brothers, Esteban and Fermin. In 1981, the brothers built the first Campos Brothers Farms almond huller, promising premium-quality processing. Campos has served volunteer positions with organizations such as ABC, Raisin Bargaining Association, Raisin Administrative Committee, National Farmers Organization, California Bean Advisory Board and Fresno County Farm Bureau. Tony and his family also support philanthropic organizations such as Valley Children’s Hospital, Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno, Basque Cultural Center and Caruthers High School. Throughout Campos’ nearly 30 years serving the almond industry, he has participated in the following committees: International Committee, ten years ABC Board of Directors, eight years Administration and Finance Committee, seven years Public Relations and Advertising Committee, two years Strategic Planning Committee, two years In addition to his service to the almond community, Campos has been involved in advancing the industry’s technologies and innovations. He has worked on plant engineering research and processing design research that utilizes the newest technology to improve capacities and qualities in processing. “The Campos Brothers have shared industry processing information back and forth openly over the years,” said Coburn. “He is a leader in the industry and it is great to see him being recognized for his contributions.” Since 2011, the Almond Achievement Award has been awarded to an industry or allied-industry member who has been an integral part of the California Almond industry through long-term service, contributions or innovations. Past Almond Achievement Award recipients include Dave Phippen, Ned Ryan, Martin Pohl, Joe McIlvaine, Dave Baker and Jim Jasper. Nominations are accepted between August and October each year.
Newsletter
Dec 28, 2017 // About the Almond Industry, About the Farmers

Almond Leadership Program: Meeting the Challenges of a Changing Industry

When it comes to growing almonds, activity in the orchard is just the beginning of the process. There’s shells to be cracked, kernels to be processed and lots of buying and selling to take place. And that’s a broad overview. It’s the various facets and jobs within the almond industry that make programs like Almond Board of California’s Almond Leadership Program valuable. This year, nearly a decade after its inception, the Almond Leadership Program was featured in a panel session of alumnae and mentors at The Almond Conference. What is the Almond Leadership Program? In 2009, Almond Board of California (ABC) set out to encourage a new group of individuals with diverse backgrounds to become leaders in the almond community. Jenny Nicolau, manager, Industry Relations, ABC, said the program originated to encourage upcoming industry players to join their predecessors at the table.  With that vision in mind, ABC created the Almond Leadership Program, a one-year leadership training program that “is meant to inspire and prepare almond community members to join a network of leaders meeting the challenges of a changing industry,” according to Nicolau. The Almond Leadership Program is a mentored experience that offers participants hands-on educational opportunities, leadership training seminars, field experience and a firsthand look at the inner workings of ABC. Nicolau and colleague Rebecca Bailey manage the Leadership program each year, and these women have witnessed the program attract qualified industry professionals and become more established with every incoming class. “I am increasingly proud of the Almond Leadership Program participants who take the knowledge and skills shared with them through this program and have, in turn, stepped up to the table to serve their communities and their industry,” said Nicolau. And make no mistake: these participants are stepping up from all areas of the almond industry. Participants of all walks Sim Batth, a conference panelist and 2015 Leadership program graduate, is not in the orchard every day – nor does her work deal solely with almonds. Batth is an Investment Associate with Prudential Agricultural Investments. Appointed to this position in 2014, she assists all activities related to agricultural investments in the Western Region. Yet, while Batth’s bandwidth includes more than ten different permanent crops, almonds make up 30% of her portfolio. It’s that 30% that drove her to learn more.   “When I started with the company, I wanted to expand my almond knowledge which lead me to apply for the Almond Leadership Program,” said Batth. Batth entered the Leadership program with a diverse background, including a degree in viticulture and chemistry from California State University, Fresno; an MBA with focuses on real estate and finance from University of San Diego; and a stint in fashion school. And yet, her background was not a stumbling block, as the Leadership program granted her experiences and networking opportunities that allowed her to learn about the industry on a whole new level and connect with individuals who are driven to see the industry succeed. “The Almond Board finds individuals that are passionate about what they do,” said Batth. “I valued being able to connect with individuals in the industry that have tremendous knowledge and experience, whether it’s at the farm level to marketing and sales.” As Batth continues to grow in her career, she remains involved in the almond community and ABC. Today, Batth sits on the Almond Board’s Global Market Development Committee as an alternate. Growing up with almonds Even while earning his degree in ag engineering from Cal Poly, SLO, Daniel Bays had his heart set on returning to his roots. A 2013 Leadership alum and panelist, Bays is a fifth-generation California farmer from Patterson, Calif. Though he was raised on the farm, Bays chose to apply for the Leadership program to learn how all the sectors of the almond supply chain work together and also to mature as an industry leader.   “The Almond Leadership Program allowed me to learn about the almond industry beyond the orchard and see some of the investment that goes into marketing, research and the other aspects of getting the nuts we grow to the consumer,” said Bays, who now uses research funded by the Almond Board to improve his family’s operation. Like Batth, Bays valued the program’s networking component. Discussions with fellow participants and mentors, said Bays, helped him learn how to speak with others about almonds and “why they should be the nut of choice for people when they are searching for a great snack.” Today, Bays remains involved in the almond community outside the orchard and participates as a member of the Almond Board’s Strategic Ag Innovation Committee.  Mentors: Historical knowledge, forward thinking For Stan Chance, Leadership mentor and panelist, agriculture is more than a career – it’s a lifestyle. Chance, who is vice president, senior relationship manager, Yosemite Farm Credit, also farms almonds in the Central Valley. He sought to “engage the next generation of the almond industry” as they look to contribute to the legacy of almond farming in California. With a passion for the industry, Chance chose to become a mentor and felt encouraged in return. “The opportunity to meet them, see how well they present themselves and hear their good questions encourages me that the industry will be in very capable hands for years to come,” said Chance. “I found that the [program] is attracting outstanding individuals who have an enthusiasm for the almond industry and are looking to contribute in more meaningful ways.” Nicolau, who spends much time with the participants throughout the year, witnesses this professionalism firsthand, stating, “participants continue to wow Almond Board staff, Board and committees.” “Our future seems brighter than ever!” said Nicolau. Find your next opportunity The Almond Leadership Program is a great opportunity for anyone looking to advance their agriculture career. “I would encourage any professional in the almond industry to apply for the program,” said Bays.  “The investment of time in learning more about our industry will help benefit [your] own career as well as American agriculture.”  In terms of broadening one’s knowledge, graduates of the program serve as non-voting members on ABC committees the year after graduating. It is important to note, however, that program participation goes beyond industry involvement and into the larger community. For example, participants raise funds for California FFA ag scholarships throughout the year. In addition, this past October, the 2017 class visited Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera to “spread a little almond joy,” as Nicolau put it, and “help the young patients create almond art.” “If you feel like you’ve begun to master your role on the farm or a related field and want to broaden your knowledge and involvement in the industry, it’s time to engage the interview process,” advises Chance. Visit almonds.com/leadershipprogram for more information.
Newsletter
Dec 15, 2017 // About the Almond Industry

SGMA and GSAs: A Grower’s Next Steps

With Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) approved and determination of boundaries largely complete, GSAs are undertaking the challenging task of drafting Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). For growers, it’s wise to determine which GSA they are a part of and get involved. Although portions of GSPs are highly technical in nature, engagement is a requirement for plan preparation, as GSPs will guide groundwater management into the future, potentially including irrigation pumping limits and recharge projects. Here are steps you can take to get ahead of the game: 1.  Determine which GSA covers your property. An online mapping tool created by California Department Water Resources (DWR) allows you to see which “Exclusive GSA” covers your property by entering a street address into the tool.       If you are interested in determining your “Exclusive GSA” for multiple properties, be sure to enter each address separately, as different locations could fall under different GSAs.     2.  Sign up to be part of an “interested parties” list to receive information about the planning process, as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires that members of this group are notified about public meetings concerning GSPs. At these meetings, you will have the opportunity to help shape your area’s GSP by ensuring that issues and decisions affecting your ability to irrigate and farm are considered during this planning process. If you are particularly interested in the planning process, consider joining the GSA board or an advisory committee.     GSPs will also identify areas and methods that are of interest for groundwater recharge. Almond Board of California (ABC) has identified almond orchards that show promise for winter recharge through an online map, and is researching potential impacts to orchard health from winter flooding. To manage basins sustainably in the meantime, you can suggest that seasonal flooding of agriculture through over-irrigation, maintaining water in unlined canals or other methods in appropriate areas be included in the plan.  SGMA has been described as a local empowerment law, with many decisions under local control, so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity and participate in development of GSPs that affect your farming operation. For more information on GSP development and effective stakeholder engagement, visit water.ca.gov/groundwater/sgm.
Newsletter
Dec 15, 2017 // Orchard Management
Select All | Select None
Date