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FSMA Files: Anatomy of FSMA - How Each Rule Applies to Almonds

Get your FSMA Facts straight from the experts. Almond Board of California has engaged a consulting firm whose lawyers have worked with FSMA since its beginning.  In this month’s FSMA Files column they answer your questions about which FSMA rules the almond industry needs to address.   Question: We often see the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules referenced in isolation, and it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Can you name each of the FSMA rules and explain how it applies to the almond industry?   There are 7 FSMA rules, but only 6 that the almond industry potentially needs to address, based on business structure and operations. They are as follows:   Produce Safety: Establishes federal food safety regulations for farms covering: agricultural water; biological soil amendments; worker hygiene and training; buildings, tools and equipment; growing, harvesting, packing and holding; and management of domesticated and wild animals. Applies to almond growers, as well as huller/shellers and brownskin almond handlers that meet the primary or secondary farm definition. Next Compliance Deadline: Jan. 26, 2018 for large farms. Two options exist for complying with the Produce Safety Rule.  You can utilize the Produce Safety Rule exemption for commercial processing, or comply with all applicable Produce Safety Rule requirements.  Learn about both options in the FSMA Fact Sheets below: Is My Operation a "Farm" Covered by the Produce Safety Rule? What Do Farms Need to Do to Comply with FSMA? What Training Requirements Does FSMA Have?   Preventive Controls for Human Food: Requires facilities to conduct a hazard analysis and implement a food safety plan, with additional requirements existing around supply chain controls and employee training. Applies to almond handlers and huller/shellers not meeting the primary or secondary farm definition or that are farm mixed type facilities, as well as custom processors and others engaged in manufacturing/processing. Next Compliance Deadline: Sept. 18, 2017 for midsize businesses. FSMA Fact Sheets: What Do "Facilities" Need to Do to Comply with the FSMA Preventative Controls Rule? What Do I need to do to Comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) Regulations?  What Training Requirements Does FSMA Have?   Preventive Controls for Animal Food: Is similar to the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule and establishes requirements for animal food that are relevant under two conditions: 1) If you are a facility that manufactures feed for animals or 2) If you’re a facility that sends human food byproducts (e.g. hulls/shells) for use as animal feed. Applies to facilities such as non-farm almond handlers and non-farm huller/shellers. Next Compliance Deadline: Sept. 18, 2017 for midsize businesses. FSMA Fact Sheet: What do I Need to Do if I Send Human Food By-Products for Use as Animal Food?   Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food: Reflects longstanding industry best practices for food transportation and establishes requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, records, training and waivers. This rule applies to anyone that is transporting food that is not a farm. You are exempt from this rule if the food is fully enclosed in a container and does not require temperature control for safety. Next Compliance Deadline: Apr. 6, 2018 for midsize businesses FSMA Fact Sheet: What do I Need to Do to Comply with the Sanitary Food Transportation Rule?   Intentional Adulteration: Outlines risk-reducing strategies to prevent intentional adulteration from acts intended to cause wide-scale public health harm and requires, for the first time, a food defense plan. Applies to facilities including non-farm almond handlers and non-farm huller/shellers. Next Compliance Deadline: July 26, 2019 for large businesses.   Foreign Supplier Verification Program: Requires importers to verify that their foreign suppliers have adequate programs in place to ensure the food coming into the U.S. meets food safety standards comparable to those in the U.S. Applies to almond handlers that import ingredients directly from a foreign supplier (you are exempt from this rule if you purchase ingredients from a U.S. supplier). Compliance Deadline: Began May 20, 2017 for all businesses.   FSMA Fact Sheet: How do I Comply with Supplier Verification Requirements?   Accredited Third-Party Certification:  Establishes a voluntary program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies/auditors to conduct food safety audits and issue certifications outside the U.S. It would only apply in two situations, neither of which affect the U.S. almond industry: 1) if you’re trying to be part of FDA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program or 2) if you’re importing food from a country for which FDA requires certification as a condition of import.   New resources to help the almond industry get up-to-speed on FSMA are now available on the grower and processor webpages.    Please keep your questions coming! You can send them to Tim Birmingham at tbirmingham@almondboard.com with the subject line “FSMA Files.”        ABC utilized input from Elizabeth Fawell and Maile Hermida, lawyers with Hogan Lovells US LLP in Washington, DC. in the preparation of this column. The FSMA Files column is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  
Newsletter
Aug 16, 2017 // Quality and Food Safety

California Almond Industry Comments on Pesticide Reviews

Almond Board of California (ABC) works very closely with the Almond Alliance of California to submit comments on a variety of published regulations. Recently the Almond Alliance submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on three pesticides undergoing registration review on behalf of ABC and the almond industry. For each, we provided usage rates and trends for the past five years, emphasized the important role these products play in continued production and highlighted how availability of products with multiple modes of action helps reduce the risk of resistance development. The EPA is required to review each pesticide every 15 years to ensure that they continue to satisfy the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) standard for registration and can still be used without unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. The three pesticides included in the comments were Cyprodinil (Vangard, Inspire Super), which is used to treat fungal diseases including brown rot blossom blight, green fruit rot (jacket rot) and shot hole; 2,4-D, an important herbicide for the California Almond industry; and Clothianidin – neonicotinoids and assessments of their potential impact to pollinators were the focus of these comments. This preliminary bee risk assessment covered clothianidin and thiamethoxam, although only clothianidin is used in almonds. Clothianidin (Belay) is one of few alternatives available to control leaffooted bug and stink bugs and would be increasingly important if access to other alternatives, such as chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) and pyrethroids (e.g. Warrior, Brigade, etc), was lost (the Almond Alliance previously submitted comments on both, which are still under review by the EPA). We will continue to keep you apprised of regulatory comments submitted on behalf of the California Almond industry.
Newsletter
Aug 16, 2017 // Government Affairs

Almond Grower Helps Provide Bees with a Well-Rounded Diet

Research shows that honey bees properly nourished with a diverse diet are better able to fend off stressors, such as pests and parasites leading to stronger hives. Almond grower Nick Edsall believes that improving the diet of pollinators by providing cover crop forage in his orchard middles also improves pollination. “The almond pollen provides good food for the bees, but it’s always good to have a balanced diet for bees as it is for humans, Edsall said. “If you can have other food sources out there it strengthens the colonies, so it helps crop pollination while helping improve the health of colonies at the same time. Edsall this year planted forage cover crops in about 5% of the 4,500 acres of almonds he manages for Bullseye Farms in Woodland, Calif. The trial went so well, he plans to expand that acreage next year to about 20% of the total acreage. He originally looked at cover crops to improve water penetration on challenging fields, planting triticale last fall to improve soil health on heavy clay soils. “In those fields, we had a lot of cracking and actually lost a lot of nuts in cracks at harvest and had a hard time making adjustments with our sweepers. We planted triticale and it made a big difference, so we were looking at expanding our use of cover crops,” Edsall said. After hearing about the Seeds for Bees program through Project Apis m. (PAm), Edsall decided this season to explore cover crop mixes that would provide the additional benefit of providing flowering forage for honey bees in the periods surrounding almond bloom – specifically before and after when there is a shortage of forage. PAm has identified low-moisture-requiring seed mixes, seed suppliers, and planting regimes for various California climates specific to bee habitat in almonds, including specially blended mustard mix for fall and winter bloom and clover mix and lana vetch for spring bloom. It works with seed suppliers in bee growing regions throughout California to provide specially blended bee forage mixes that match individual growers’ operations and objectives. PAm also provides technical advice for growers looking to get started on a bee forage cover crop program. One of Bullseye’s beekeepers provided the added benefit of discounting the cost of hive rental because forage was planted. “It all kind of worked together for us. We understand how important pollinators are for the almond crop, and this was an opportunity to plant crops for soil health and water penetration while also feeding bees when they arrive in late winter,” Edsall said. He planted about 100 acres of vetch and 60 acres of clover mix, along with a few rows of mustard-radish mix last October. Edsall said he wanted to trial the mustard on a few rows first to be sure excess biomass wouldn’t create problems interfering with orchard operations in spring or fall harvest. Even with all this year’s rain, by late July Edsall found that wasn’t the case. “We planted with a seed drill in October and got plenty of moisture to bring the crop up. Then we had a wet spring to keep the cover crops going,” he said. “We had plenty of moisture so we didn’t have to worry about the cover crops drying the soil, and actually saw a benefit in keeping the soil from getting too saturated so we could get our equipment on the ground a little earlier with the cover crop holding the soil together.” Edsall also saw distinct benefits in water penetration on those heavy clay fields and even after bees were removed he saw several wild bees continue to fly around those cover crop orchards. Bullseye Farms mowed the cover crops early in the season two to three inches above the ground to keep growth under control. The crop still pushed flowers in the spring. To terminate the annual crops, Edsall mowed a couple more times starting in mid-May very close the ground. “We had worried about competition of cover crop when almonds bloom, but we are seeing research that shows bees actually prefer the almond pollen so they are collecting almond pollen in the morning and forage in the afternoons once almond pollen has been worked,” he said. “Having cover crops out there blooming seems to help the pollination of the crop, whether colonies are stronger because of a balanced diet or bees are working harder.” This year’s crop went so well Edsall plans to increase plantings this fall with a cover crop rotation that includes alternate rows of triticale in one row and legumes or mustard on alternate rows. “We had a good experience and are excited this fall to try doing much more with cover crops in our almonds. It’s another crop out there so you have to take time to manage it, and it takes a little extra effort, but the benefits seem to be well worth it for us.” More information on resources for planting bee forage in almonds can be found on the PAm website at ProjectApism.org. Additionally, visit Almonds.com/Pollination for more ways that almond growers can benefit honey bees year-round.
Newsletter
Aug 16, 2017 // Almond Bloom and Bees

FSMA Files: Anatomy of FSMA - How Each Rule Applies to Almonds

Get your FSMA Facts straight from the experts. Almond Board of California has engaged a consulting firm whose lawyers have worked with FSMA since its beginning.  In this month’s FSMA Files column they answer your questions about which FSMA rules the almond industry needs to address. Question: We often see the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules referenced in isolation, and it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Can you name each of the FSMA rules and explain how it applies to the almond industry? There are 7 FSMA rules, but only 6 that the almond industry potentially needs to address, based on business structure and operations. They are as follows: Produce Safety: Establishes federal food safety regulations for farms covering: agricultural water; biological soil amendments; worker hygiene and training; buildings, tools and equipment; growing, harvesting, packing and holding; and management of domesticated and wild animals. Applies to almond growers, as well as huller/shellers and brownskin almond handlers that meet the primary or secondary farm definition. Next Compliance Deadline: Jan. 26, 2018 for large farms. Two options exist for complying with the Produce Safety Rule.  You can utilize the Produce Safety Rule exemption for commercial processing, or comply with all applicable Produce Safety Rule requirements.  Learn about both options in the FSMA Fact Sheets below: Is My Operation a "Farm" Covered by the Produce Safety Rule? What Do Farms Need to Do to Comply with FSMA? What Training Requirements Does FSMA Have? Preventive Controls for Human Food: Requires facilities to conduct a hazard analysis and implement a food safety plan, with additional requirements existing around supply chain controls and employee training. Applies to almond handlers and huller/shellers not meeting the primary or secondary farm definition or that are farm mixed type facilities, as well as custom processors and others engaged in manufacturing/processing. Next Compliance Deadline: Sept. 18, 2017 for midsize businesses. FSMA Fact Sheets: What Do "Facilities" Need to Do to Comply with the FSMA Preventative Controls Rule? What Do I need to Do to Comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) Regulations?  What Training Requirements Does FSMA Have? Preventive Controls for Animal Food: Is similar to the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule and establishes requirements for animal food that are relevant under two conditions: 1) If you are a facility that manufactures feed for animals or 2) If you’re a facility that sends human food byproducts (e.g. hulls/shells) for use as animal feed. Applies to facilities such as non-farm almond handlers and non-farm huller/shellers. Next Compliance Deadline: Sept. 18, 2017 for midsize businesses. FSMA Fact Sheet: What do I Need to Do if I Send Human Food By-Products for Use as Animal Food? Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food: Reflects longstanding industry best practices for food transportation and establishes requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, records, training and waivers. This rule applies to anyone that is transporting food that is not a farm. You are exempt from this rule if the food is fully enclosed in a container and does not require temperature control for safety. Next Compliance Deadline: Apr. 6, 2018 for midsize businesses FSMA Fact Sheet: What do I Need to Do to Comply with the Sanitary Food Transportation Rule? Intentional Adulteration: Outlines risk-reducing strategies to prevent intentional adulteration from acts intended to cause wide-scale public health harm and requires, for the first time, a food defense plan. Applies to facilities including non-farm almond handlers and non-farm huller/shellers. Next Compliance Deadline: July 26, 2019 for large businesses. Foreign Supplier Verification Program: Requires importers to verify that their foreign suppliers have adequate programs in place to ensure the food coming into the U.S. meets food safety standards comparable to those in the U.S. Applies to almond handlers that import ingredients directly from a foreign supplier (you are exempt from this rule if you purchase ingredients from a U.S. supplier). Compliance Deadline: Began May 20, 2017 for all businesses.   FSMA Fact Sheet:  How do I Comply with Supplier Verification Requirements? Accredited Third-Party Certification:  Establishes a voluntary program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies/auditors to conduct food safety audits and issue certifications outside the U.S. It would only apply in two situations, neither of which affect the U.S. almond industry: 1) if you’re trying to be part of FDA’s Voluntary Qualified Importer Program or 2) if you’re importing food from a country for which FDA requires certification as a condition of import. New resources to help the almond industry get up-to-speed on FSMA are now available on the grower and processor webpages.  Please keep your questions coming! You can send them to Tim Birmingham at tbirmingham@almondboard.com with the subject line “FSMA Files.”    ABC utilized input from Elizabeth Fawell and Maile Hermida, lawyers with Hogan Lovells US LLP in Washington, DC. in the preparation of this column. The FSMA Files column is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  
Newsletter
Aug 11, 2017 // Quality and Food Safety

California Almonds Continue to Inspire New Products Worldwide

According to data from Innova Market Insights, California Almonds were the number one nut used in new products worldwide in 2016, the tenth year that almonds have held the lead position for nuts used in new product introductions. Almonds were featured in 38% of new food introductions featuring nuts in 2016, a 5% increase from the previous year, per the report[1]. Key categories for worldwide almond product launches include confectionery (23%), bakery (20%) and snacks (18%), as well as bars (12%) and cereal (9%), which together account for 82% of almond product introductions. In more than 15 forms, including almond milk, butter and flour, almonds are one of the most versatile nuts and the nut that is most top-of-mind for global consumers.[2] In addition to the top five categories for almond product introductions, the dairy and dessert categories also saw exciting growth. The dairy category, which includes almond milk, saw a 26% increase in almond introductions, and the desserts and ice cream category had an increase of 33% almond products in 2016. “Manufacturers have long been tasked with tackling innovation in new food products, as consumer demand continues to grow for products that are not only delicious but are also nutritious and offer on-the-go convenience,” said Emily Fleischmann, senior director, Global Marketing at Almond Board of California. “Now, the market place is also looking for these products to align with the growing consumer desire for ‘clean’ products, while ensuring they are safe, sustainable and shelf stable,” she continued. “California Almonds are an ideal tool for manufacturers looking to deliver on these attributes without sacrificing flavor, texture or nutrition.” The versatility and nutritional profile of almonds make the nut a particularly appealing ingredient that can help manufacturers deliver on consumer demands for healthful food products. Almonds can now be labeled “healthy,” according to the Food and Drug Administration. When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in six essential nutrients: protein (6g), fiber (4g), calcium (75mg), vitamin E (7.4mg), riboflavin (0.3mg) and niacin (1mg). For more almond highlights from the Innova Market Insights report, check out this infographic. [1] Innova Market Insights 2016 Global New Product Introductions Report, May 2017 [2] 2016 Global Perceptions Study, Sterling Rice Group, January 2017  
Newsletter
Aug 11, 2017 // About the Almond Board

FSMA Files: Straight Talk from the Experts on Compliance

Welcome back to our FSMA Files column! This month, we’re focusing on questions we’ve received regarding FSMA compliance dates. These questions are timely, as FDA recently announced a delay in the compliance dates for the agricultural water requirements in the Produce Safety Rule. We’ve also fielded a number of questions about whether operations are considered farms or facilities and how to cancel a facility registration with the FDA. Please keep your questions coming! You can send them to Tim Birmingham at tbirmingham@almondboard.com with the subject line “FSMA Files,” and we’ll be sure to address them in upcoming columns. Question: When does FSMA compliance begin? Straight Talk: Your FSMA compliance dates depend on the specific rule that applies to you. This is related to the size of your business and whether FDA has delayed any portions of the rule applicable to you. For example, FDA has delayed the compliance dates for the written assurance of commercial processing requirements in the Produce Safety, Preventive Controls and Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) Rules and has announced plans to delay the compliance dates for the agricultural water requirements in the Produce Safety Rule. For a better idea of how different rules apply to different business, read on. Explanation: Each FSMA rule has its own set of compliance dates. These dates vary based on the size of the operation, as defined under each rule. Generally, a “large business” is a business with more than 500 full-time-equivalent (FTE) employees. A “small business” is typically defined as fewer than 500 FTE employees. Each of the rules has its own definition of a “very small business,” which is based on food sales plus the value of food held without sale (see the next question below regarding these dollar amounts). In addition, due to various comments regarding implementation challenges, FDA has delayed the compliance date for certain components of the rules. Specifically, FDA has announced plans to delay the compliance date for the agricultural water requirements in the Produce Safety Rule. The original compliance dates for these requirements were set to begin in January 2020 (but certain sampling would have had to begin sooner). FDA is exploring ways to simplify these requirements after receiving feedback from stakeholders that some aspects of the rules are too complex to understand and implement. FDA has not yet determined the new compliance dates, as “the length of the extension is under consideration.” Other extended compliance dates address: The requirement to obtain customer assurances for food that will be subject to further processing. Note that the original compliance dates remain in effect for the requirement to disclose that a hazard has not been controlled when relying on a subsequent entity to control the hazard. Compliance with the Preventive Controls rules for facilities solely engaged in packing and/or holding activities conducted on nut hulls and shells. This extension covers almond brown skin facilities that only size, sort, grade or pack almonds, as well as facilities that only hull and shell almonds, as long as the facility does not engage in manufacturing or processing activities (i.e., chopping, grinding, mixing, roasting, pasteurizing, salting). Compliance with the Preventive Controls rules for facilities that would qualify as “secondary activities farms” except for ownership of the facility. Facilities that meet the definition of “secondary activities farms” except for the ownership criterion can take advantage of an extension for compliance with the Preventive Controls rule if: The operation is not located on the primary production farm; The operation is devoted to harvesting, packing and/or holding of raw agricultural commodities (RACs) (including operations that hull, shell and/or dry nuts without additional manufacturing); and The operation is under common ownership with the primary production farm that grows, harvests and/or raises the majority of the RACs harvested, packed and/or held by the operation. Examples of common ownership include: An operation owned by (or that owns) one or more primary production farms (e.g., a packing house owned by a cooperative of individual farms) Operations that are managed within the same business structure as the primary production farm (e.g., the farm and packinghouse are separate operations owned by parents and their children, respectively, and both operations are part of the same business jointly owned by the parents and the children) In general, FDA has delayed compliance by two years in order to align the Preventive Controls rule compliance date with the Produce Safety rule compliance date for those facilities that can look to the Produce for compliance guidelines. For specific compliance dates with each of the FSMA rules, please explore the resources available at almonds.com/growers/fsma. Question: What is the definition of a “very small business” for the purposes of determining FSMA compliance dates? Straight Talk: Each of the FSMA rules has its own definition of a “very small business”. “Very small businesses” are typically exempt from complying with the rule. Determining whether or not you qualify for this exemption is based on the dollar value of sales of human food plus the market value of human food manufactured, processed, packed or held without sale (e.g., held for a fee). There are baseline values set in each of the FSMA rules, but FDA will adjust these values over time due to inflation. Thus, the exact cutoff value will change from year to year. Basic guidance is provided in the table below. Explanation: Each FSMA rule has its own definition of a “very small business” based on the value of food sales and food held without sale. “Very small businesses” are exempt from rule compliance due to their size, as defined by sales. The rationale is that these operations do not have the resources to comply with the rule and exempting them represents a low risk to the food supply. Because the compliance obligations and risks are different from rule to rule, the sales values that determine the definition are different as well. An operation must review the definitions in each FSMA rule to determine whether it meets the definition and to determine its compliance date. FDA will adjust the baseline values established in the regulations for inflation at the end of March each year. To do this, FDA will use the federal calculation for the gross domestic product price deflator, provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Below we provide a table with the average three-year inflation-adjusted values for the FSMA rules, which are the values that need to be taken into account when determining whether an entity meets the very-small-business-related definitions under the various FSMA rules as of 2017. By way of example, the Preventive Controls for Human Food definition of “very small business” includes a threshold of an average of “less than $1 million, adjusted for inflation, per year, during the 3-year period preceding the applicable calendar year in sales of human food plus the market value of human food manufactured, processed, packed or held without sale (e.g., held for a fee)” (emphasis added). Using the inflation-adjusted values provided by FDA, in 2017 a facility’s average annual income now would need to be below $1,065,291 to qualify as a “very small business.” FSMA Inflation-Adjusted Cut Off Values   Regulation and Definition  Baseline Value for Cut-offs (2011) Average 3-Year Value for 2014 - 2016  Preventive Controls for Human Food: “Very Small Business”  $1,000,000  $1,065,291 Preventive Controls for Animal Food: “Very Small Business”  $2,500,000  $2,663,227 Produce Safety Rule: “Qualified Exemption”  $500,000  $532,645 Produce Safety Rule: “Not Covered Farm”  $25,000  $26,632 Foreign Supplier Verification Programs: Human Food: “Very Small Importer”  $1,000,000  $1,065,291 Foreign Supplier Verification Programs: Animal Food: “Very Small Importer”  $2,500,000 $2,663,227  Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food: “Non-covered Business”  $500,000 $532,645 Intentional Adulteration: “Very Small Business”  $10,000,000 $10,652,906    Question: If my farm is registered with FDA, but based on the new definition of a “farm” I am not required to register it, what should I do? Straight Talk: If your operation was previously registered with FDA, but now no longer needs to be registered, you should cancel the registration. Explanation: Operations that meet the definition of a farm do not need to register with FDA. If your operation was registered, but now meets the definition of a “farm” under the new regulations, you should cancel your registration. You should go online to FDA’s facility registration portal and cancel your registration electronically (through https://www.access.fda.gov/). Alternatively, you can cancel your registration by paper (mail or fax). This form is available here: https://www.fda.gov/downloads/AboutFDA/ReportsManualsForms/Forms/UCM072017.pdf. You will be asked to provide information such as registration number, facility name and address. This column was prepared by Elizabeth Fawell and Maile Hermida, who are lawyers with Hogan Lovells US LLP in Washington, DC. The FSMA Files column is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  
Newsletter
Aug 02, 2017 // Quality and Food Safety

Investing in the Future

Almond Board of California (ABC) exists to further develop a sustainable and profitable marketplace for California growers and handlers. August 1 marked the start of the 2017/2018 crop year for the Almond Board of California budget, and with the new year comes new opportunity for supporting California Almonds. ABC believes strategic investment is essential in carrying the industry to new heights. The new budget provides for a hefty increase in marketing support of roughly $10 million. By allocating funding to create additional global demand, we can help put California Almonds in a favorable position ahead of an ever-increasing supply. Marketing investments will hold many forms across the world. Take Germany. German customers as a whole already include almonds in pastry and chocolate recipes, but haven’t traditionally considered almonds a snack. ABC has launched a robust public relations and advertising program to encourage a mind shift, encouraging increased consumption. Japan will also see a revived trade and public relations program, following a multi-year absence in the region. Back in North America, Almond Board is applying best practices from U.S. marketing programs in Canada by targeting males, expanding from the historically female demographic. The goal throughout all marketing campaigns is to help the world love California Almonds as much as we do. The 2017/2018 ABC budget also includes ample support for new and on-going agricultural and environmental research as well as human nutrition research. The latter will be especially important in India. Unfortunately, Indians are the world’s foremost sufferer of diabetes. ABC’s Nutrition Research Committee launched three clinical trials studying various dietary issues involving the disease that will build foundational knowledge of how almonds may help. In addition to helping improve health in India, increased almond consumption fueled by nutrition research will benefit almond growers in California. Beyond generating traditional consumption through marketing and research funding, ABC is investing in the disposition of almond co-products. To help advance this cause, ABC established a Bio-Mass Working Group. From better understanding the value of incorporating hulls, shells and woody bio-mass back into orchards to extracting sugars from hulls for human consumption, the group plans to tackle it all. As growers push the envelope of what’s possible, Almond Board continues to help drive almond consumption and move the industry forward at an accelerated pace. No matter the form, investing in California Almonds pays dividends.
Newsletter
Aug 02, 2017 // About the Almond Board

Solar Day in the Orchard

Saturday, July 15, 2017 marked the first-ever solar day for members of the Almond Board of California’s Almond Leadership Program. Leadership participants gathered in an almond orchard at Chamisal Creek Ranch in Colusa County, where owner Mike Doherty joined Sunworks Solar Inc. in hosting the event. The learning opportunity was a success as young almond industry leaders gained a comprehensive view of the important role solar energy can play on the farm.    Rita Edwards, Director of Marketing for Sunworks and a recent graduate of the Almond Leadership Program, said, “We are extremely pleased to have co-hosted the Almond Board Leadership Program with Chamisal Creek Ranch. We are committed to establishing long term relationships with almond growers and to integrating solar power to enhance the efficiency of almond farming methods.”   Leadership participants appreciated the opportunity to see solar panels’ sustainable power at work in the middle of an orchard. Robert (Cameron) White of Sierra View Ranch believes solar energy may be a cost-effective option for environmentally-savvy farmers. “This [solar] has been a great option for farmers for the past several years to offset their electricity bills and significantly increase the sustainability of the overall operation.”    Overall, these future leaders of the almond industry felt enthusiastic after their exposure to solar innovations in the orchard. “The solar day at Chamisal Creek Ranch was a phenomenal experience,” said participant Ashley Hollis with Almond Alliance of California. “Mr. Doherty graciously shared his vast knowledge and experiences with us, leaving us with a better understanding and appreciation for agriculture. Sunworks was a wonderful host and truly opened my eyes to the benefits of using solar in agriculture; it was obvious how passionate and committed they are to their clients and agriculture.”    Sunworks Solar Inc. is the sponsor of this year’s Almond Leadership Program, the Almond Board’s year-long mentoring and immersion program that includes more than 100 hours of seminars and cooperative events on leadership training, communication strategies, networking and educational assignments. Over the past eight years, the program has helped participants grow as leaders and advocates of the almond industry and broadened their understanding of the multiple components at work in getting almonds from tree to table.    For the past two years, Almond Leadership Program participants have sponsored a fundraiser for California FFA Scholarships awarded to young people who intend to pursue agriculture after high school. This year, the 2017 Leadership Class aims to raise $25,000 in scholarship funds. To join the 2017 Almond Leadership Class in supporting the future generation of agriculture, or to learn the stories of past scholarship winners, visit calaged.org/AlmondLeadershipProgram.    Interested in enrolling in the 2018 Almond Leadership Class? Watch a video from past participants and apply at almonds.com/AlmondLeadershipProgram” or contact Jenny Nicolau at jnicolau@almondboard.com or (209) 343-3248.   
Newsletter
Aug 02, 2017 // Orchard Management
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