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House Committee Members Tour Orchard

The Almond Board of California arranged an orchard and facility tour for Representative Dwight Evans and several House Ag committee staff during their visit to Modesto for the recent 2018 Farm Bill Listening Session.   While Rep. Evans admitted he knew little about the almond industry, he also said that he loves to eat almonds. And while he has no farmers in his urban Philadelphia district, he said he has a lot of consumers who like to eat, adding that consumers need to have a better understanding of where food comes from and stating that ag needs to do a better job of telling its story.   Rep. Evans, along with Stacy Revels, Troy Philips and Keith Jones from the House Ag committee and Tracey Chow from Representative Jeff Denham’s office, spent the morning at Travaille and Phippen, located in the nearby town of Ripon, learning how almonds are produced, the way rootstock is selected and why so many varieties of almonds exist. They also expressed a deep interest in pollination and the yearly process that takes place when hives traveling from all across the United States meet in California Almond orchards in order to pollinate the crop. Rep. Evans was impressed by the fact that a majority of almond farms are multi-generational, family farms and by the industry’s embrace of new technologies to improve production, including efficient irrigation methods, sorting equipment and drones.   ABC would like to thank Kimi Phippen and Nick Gatzman for leading the tour and thank Kelly Covello of the Almond Alliance of California for joining the tour and addressing industry priorities.  
Sep 11, 2017 // Government Affairs

Water Resources Control Board Meeting

State Water Board officials briefed on broad scope of Almond Board water research initiatives From educating almond growers about water management and efficiency to helping develop sustainable water resources, Almond Board of California (ABC) is engaged in a broad array of research initiatives focused on maximizing “crop per drop.” That was the central message Almond Board staff delivered in a wide-ranging briefing for key staff of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in Sacramento.  “It was a great opportunity to talk to water board staff about the vast array of research ABC is conducting on many critical water resource issues,” explained Sustainability and Environmental Affairs Director Dr. Gabriele Ludwig. “Overall, they came away impressed by the financial commitment the almond community is making to researching these issues. They have a much better understanding of the complexity of growing almonds and how committed we are to finding answers based on the best available science.”  Conducting the briefing were Ludwig; Agricultural Affairs Director Bob Curtis; Irrigation and Water Efficiency Senior Manager Spencer Cooper and Environmental Affairs Senior Specialist Jesse Roseman.  Ludwig outlined how ABC’s Accelerated Innovation Management (AIM) research projects are designed to fulfill the vision of the almond orchard of the future while building on the fact that growers have used 33% less water per pound of almonds produced in the last 20 years.1 Curtis noted the benefits of hullsplit Strategic Deficit Irrigation (SDI) (aka Regulated Deficit Irrigation) in reducing water use by as much as 34% during hullsplit while reducing overall seasonal water use as much as 10-15%. However, he pointed out that not all growers can implement these methods as it requires access to water on demand, which most growers do not have, and also depends on careful monitoring of tree stress levels, which many growers are not in a position to do. Spencer Cooper detailed the workings of the Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum, a comprehensive manual of irrigation practices which has the goal of improving water use efficiency by moving growers along the continuum. The first year focused on distribution uniformity, how to calculate ET and basic system performance. The focus is “boots on the ground” with growers, irrigation services providers, UCCE farm advisers and specialists to build a basic understanding of on-farm water management using the tools available.  Cooper explained the irrigation continuum is being developed to accelerate the transition of growers to more efficient irrigation by use of scheduling and management practices with the goal of maximizing “crop per drop.” Data gathered from ABC’s California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) helps identify the key water use efficiency practices growers are using and how existing outreach programs may help growers achieve their goals. Other key AIM research initiatives are looking at how to develop sustainable water resources. Research is being conducted on how best to leverage almond orchards by increasing groundwater recharge in aquifers at select locations throughout the almond growing region. Also being explored are opportunities to recycle municipal waste water and other degraded water as a way of increasing overall water availability.    Having a continuing dialogue with SWRCB staff is vitally important for the California Almond community, noted Ludwig. “There is such a broad array of complex water issues that affect almond growers – the Irrigated Lands Program, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the Central Valley Salts program,” she said. “We hope to continue these type of briefings with other water stakeholders to let them know how dedicated the almond community is to continuous improvement in how we grow almonds productively, safely and in a way that is environmentally responsible.”   Having a continuing dialogue with SWRCB staff is vitally important for the California Almond community, noted Ludwig. “There is such a broad array of complex water issues that affect almond growers – the Irrigated Lands Program, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the Central Valley Salts program,” she said. “We hope to continue these type of briefings with other water stakeholders to let them know how dedicated the almond community is to continuous improvement in how we grow almonds productively, safely and in a way that is environmentally responsible.”   [1] University of California, 2010. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012. Almond Board of California, 1990-94, 2000-14.  
Sep 11, 2017 // Environmental Sustainability

Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha Literature Attribute Important Health Benefits to Almonds

New research conducted by Dr. Padma Venkatasubramanian and Dr. Subrahmanya Kumar of Trans-Disciplinary University (TDU) in New Delhi indicates that almonds are not only recognized in Western science for packing a nutrition punch, but also prized for their qualities and health benefits in traditional Indian medicinal systems.     Ayurveda, a form of alternative medicine, dates back 3,000 years. It integrates and treats body, mind and spirit using a comprehensive holistic approach, especially by emphasizing diet, meditation and yoga.1   Researchers conducted an exhaustive search of published literature sources of traditional Indian medicinal systems - Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha – that are recognized by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), Government of India.   Texts from these traditional medicinal systems refer to almond health benefits frequently, including use of various varieties, parts, their functional properties, pharmacological actions and therapeutic indications. In addition, the texts refer to multiple compound formulations using almonds as an ingredient.   In a press conference organized by Almond Board of California on July 20, 2017, in Bengaluru, India, Dr. Padma presented her findings. Initial media pick-up is strong, with more than 50 print articles, several online clips and nearly 14 million impressions. We are looking at the best ways to share our learnings about almonds and traditional Indian medicinal systems in regions around the world.     [1]    
Sep 01, 2017 // About the Almond Board

Now Available: New Almond Industry Map Layers

Since its launch last December, the California Almond industry map has served as a visual tool for almond growers, processors, allied industry and others to view analyses showing where almond acreage is located throughout the state, orchard age and how suitable the land beneath those orchards might be for groundwater recharge.    Starting today, three new layers are available, all of which can be accessed at They include 2016 almond acreage, Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) water quality coalition boundaries and political district boundaries for California Assembly and Senate, as well as U.S. Congress.   The maps, developed in partnership with Land IQ, a Sacramento-based agricultural and environmental scientific research and consulting firm, constitute a comprehensive, living map of California Almonds that draws upon multiple sources of information and extensive validation to create a highly accurate orchard-by-orchard view of the industry.   Based on the mapping assessment of California Almond orchards in 2016, Land IQ found that there were 1,261,915 acres of almonds. In the same year, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated acreage of 1,240,000. With regard to 2016 bearing almond acreage, Land IQ found that there were 981,813 acres while USDA-NASS indicated 940,000 acres.1 2 Those using this new layer on the web map should note that for orchards planted in 2015 and 2016, only those fields that were visually confirmed from ground truthing appear on the map; however, the numerical Land IQ almond acreage estimates above account for these orchards.3      Given the map’s interactive nature, users can zero in on the relevant areas of the state relative to their operations and understand how their geographic location intersects with various analyzed topics.    For instance, the new political districts map layers provide district boundaries and numbers as well as the name of the associated representative and their political party.   For more information on the California Almond Industry map or to access them, visit Any technical questions can be directed to Land IQ at 916.265.6358 or     [1] Land IQ. California Statewide Almond Mapping - 2016. Aug. 2017. Based on data from USDA National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) and USGS Landsat. [2] USDA. National Agricultural Statistics Service, Pacific Regional Field Office. 2016 California Almond Acreage Report. Apr. 2017 [3] This segment of non-bearing acreage is the most difficult to estimate and cannot be remotely sensed. The numerical estimates for 2015 and 2016 rely on ground truthing and other non-spatial information, resulting in an accuracy of +/- 10% for those years.    
Sep 01, 2017 // About the Almond Industry

Serving Up #AlmondSustainability

While the drought generated extensive conversation about almond water usage, the continued spotlight on almond growing practices gives us an opportunity to share the many great improvements and practices adopted by the California Almond industry with the public. To help grow what customers and consumer know about almonds, Almond Board of California (ABC) ran a campaign in July and August around #AlmondSustainability. It’s not just the healthy snack we grow, but how we grow it that is increasingly important. The health benefits of eating a serving of almonds is well known, but many are unaware of the specifics of how almonds are grown, let alone that they grow on trees. This campaign aims to show them how almonds and those who farm them can provide benefits for our local communities and the planet, too. Using 23 bite-sized kernels of knowledge (or one serving of our favorite nut), we’re celebrating the industry’s responsible farming practices across many areas including water, coproducts, honey bee health, orchard management and more. Through research, we found that consumers are looking for more digestible information, graphics, and videos that they can engage with on social media, but also want to have access to additional information if they want to learn more. As a result, kernels in this campaign were shared across North America consumer-facing and industry-facing social channels, and then linked to the blog where those interested can dig in and learn more about each kernel. In addition, the campaign included digital and radio ads targeting California residents. See the kernels at and follow along with #almondsustainability on social media. Use these kernels as inspiration to share how you grow with neighbors and friends outside of agriculture. 
Aug 16, 2017 // Environmental Sustainability

Official Produce Safety Training Now Available!

Safe Food Alliance is offering the FDA-approved “Produce Safety Alliance” Grower training course, which helps growers meet the requirements of the new Produce Safety rule under the FDA’s “Food Safety Modernization Act” (FSMA), if they are not electing to file for the Produce Safety exemption (see more below). The Produce Safety course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and co-management information, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. This training is recognized by the FDA as meeting the FSMA training requirement § 112.22(c) that for each farm: “At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.” View full Details and trainings>> Upcoming Dates and Locations August 17th in Stockton, CA August 31st in Tulare, CA IMPORTANT NOTE: All produce grown in the U.S. must comply with the Produce Safety rule, unless it falls under an exemption. ABC has been engaged with the FDA to determine an exemption for almond growers. Growers may be exempt from complying with the Produce Safety rule if they: 1) Provide a written disclosure to their huller/sheller and handler stating that the almonds have not been processed to reduce the presence of microorganisms (by January 2018 for large farms), and 2) Annually obtain a written assurance from their handler indicating that the almonds have been properly treated (required two years following written disclosure compliance date) ABC is in the process of developing a written disclosure form, which will be available soon. Written disclosure could be provided in the form of grower tags, contracts or other paperwork. Visit for more information, and make sure to check back frequently for updates! 
Aug 16, 2017 // Quality and Food Safety
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