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Focused on Growing Good, the California Almond Community Commits to New Goals
(MODESTO, Calif.) – Producing 80 percent of the world’s supply of almonds, California’s almond farmers and processors have always been about growing good—managing resources responsibly for current and future generations. Today, the almond community is publicly committing to four new goals that build on decades of previous achievements and further demonstrate the industry’s commitment to growing almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, while protecting local communities and the environment. The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals set industry-wide targets in the areas of water efficiency, zero waste, pest management and air quality. “We’ve always been focused on minimizing our environmental footprint and being good neighbors—and we have the track record to prove it. But for the first time, we are publicly setting goals for how we will farm in the future and committing to transparently reporting on the progress we are making,” said Holly King, chair of the Almond Board of California. “There’s no doubt these goals will be challenging, but that’s a responsibility that comes with leadership and a commitment to innovation. We’re excited to be embarking on this journey.” The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals focus on four key areas: Further Reducing the Water Used to Grow Almonds Over the past two decades, California almond farmers have successfully reduced the amount of water used to grow a pound of almonds by 33 percent  via improved production practices and adoption of efficient microirrigation technology. By 2025, the California almond community commits to reduce the amount of water used to grow a pound of almonds by an additional 20 percent. Achieving Zero Waste in Our Orchards Almonds grow in a shell, protected by a hull, on a tree: products traditionally used for livestock bedding, dairy feed and electricity generation. Changing markets for these coproducts are spurring innovation for higher value uses, both economically and environmentally. By 2025, the California almond community commits to achieve zero waste in our orchards by putting everything we grow to optimal use. Increasing Adoption of Environmentally Friendly Pest Management Tools Responsible almond farming requires protecting the crop and trees from bugs, weeds and disease through an integrated pest management approach. This means using tools and techniques like beneficial insects, habitat removal, mating disruption and, when necessary, pesticides. To further protect our orchards, employees and communities, by 2025, we commit to increase adoption of environmentally-friendly pest management tools by 25 percent. Improving Local Air Quality During Almond Harvest California almonds are harvested by shaking the nuts to the ground where they dry naturally in the sun before being swept up and collected, a process that can create dust in our local communities. To address this nuisance, the almond community is taking short- and long-term steps to reimagine how we harvest and, by 2025, commits to reduce dust during harvest by 50%. “We try to be a good steward of the land by doing more with less—less inputs, less applications, less trips into the field, obviously less water,” said Brian Wahlbrink, almond farmer in Stanislaus County and chair of the Almond Board’s Harvest Workgroup. “These goals will drive us to substantive improvements, building on past achievements and sharing our progress as we work toward 2025. I am very confident in where we are going.” In addition to the 2025 goals, California almond farmers continue to support research in other areas critical to success, investing in seven new projects focused on honey bee health this year alone. This effort builds on a legacy of $3.2 million invested in 120 research projects since 1995 addressing the five major factors impacting honey bee health. As part of its ongoing commitment to bee health, the Almond Board has also developed a comprehensive set of Honey Bee Best Management Practices for California almond farmers. Widely adopted, these best practices are constantly evolving to ensure the safety of honey bees during almond pollination and beyond. “By working collectively towards the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals and key areas such as bee health, we are ensuring that we can farm here in California for the long haul. That means taking care of the land to the best ability we can and farming responsibly. This commitment is based on a history of improving growing practices and will truly impact how we farm in the future,” said Almond Board of California president and CEO, Richard Waycott. The California almond community is a collection of family-run farms dedicated to making life better through innovation and responsibly producing a healthy food accessible to people around the world. For over four decades, almond farmers and processors have funded $80 million in scientific research, making significant advancements in the areas of water, nutrient management, air quality, honey bee health and more, increasing farming efficiencies while minimizing environmental impacts.  University of California, 2010. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012. Almond Board of California, 1990–94, 2000–14.
Almond Board of California Fueling Innovation with $6.8 Million Research Investment
The Almond Board of California (ABC) announced a $6.8 million investment in 75 independent research projects exploring next-generation farming practices including optimal use of everything almond orchards grow. In addition to improving production practices, the research projects help the California almond community provide almond lovers around the world with a safe, wholesome and sustainable product. The announcement was made at the 46th annual Almond Conference, an event held in Sacramento, Calif., convening almond farmers, processors and researchers to discuss the latest science behind responsible almond farming. ABC’s research programs provide a scientific basis for best practices across several priority areas, including water sustainability, pollinator health and finding new uses for almond coproducts, including hulls, shells and woody material. “Innovation is at the core of sustainable almond farming. Driven by family farmers, the almond community is committed to continuous improvement, ensuring a better environment and future for our children and grandchildren, neighbors and employees,” said Almond Board of California President and CEO, Richard Waycott. “Since 1973 almond farmers and processors have invested $80 million in research through the Almond Board to improve our understanding of almonds’ impact on human health, ensure food quality and safety, and improve farming practices while minimizing environmental impacts.” Finding New Uses for Almond Coproducts Almonds grow in a shell, protected by a hull, on a tree. Farmers have always taken responsibility for these coproducts, ensuring they are put to beneficial use rather than sent to landfill. Today, the California almond community is focusing research investment on optimal uses for these coproducts, embracing a zero-waste approach that addresses critical needs across multiple industries. This year ABC funded nine coproducts-focused research projects totaling $1.2 million with applications spanning from in-orchard utilization to value-added uses. “We enjoy working with the almond community because their goals align with ours. The Almond Board is investing in research so nothing goes to waste, with the goal of a neutral footprint,” said Lydia Palma, researcher and PhD student at University of California, Davis. “Our research partnership focuses on developing new technologies to convert almond coproducts into valuable products.” Three ongoing almond coproduct research projects showing promising results are: Recycled Polypropylene-Polyethylene Torrified Almond Shell Biocomposites. USDA-ARS, Western Regional Research Center – Almond shells have traditionally been used as livestock bedding. This research explores how almond shells, transformed to a charcoal-like powder through a process known as torrefaction, can serve as a strengthening agent and colorant for post-consumer recycled plastics. Cultivation of Black Soldier Fly Larvae on Almond Byproducts. University of California, Davis – Almonds’ sugary, fibrous hulls can feed animals big and small, including the emerging world of insect farming. This research project explores raising black soldier fly larvae, used as a feedstock for poultry and aquaculture, on almond hulls. Almond Hull Byproducts as a Casing Amendment Material in Mushroom Cultivation. USDA-ARS, Western Regional Research Center – With their sugars removed for other uses, the remaining hull material can serve as an alternative to traditional peat moss for mushroom cultivation. This research project explores using almond hulls as a growing medium for commercial mushrooms, with preliminary results showing several benefits including optimal water absorption and increased yields. “Creating new ways to use a product that has historically been thought of as a single-use item is very exciting,” said Mike Curry, almond huller/sheller with Johnson Farms. “The entire production and supply chain, including the consumer, will benefit from the development of new products from almond hulls and shells.” Additional Opportunities for Innovation Commitment to scientific research supports the California almond community in growing the farm of the future. To improve water sustainability, farmers are adopting precision irrigation technology and exploring replenishing underground aquifers through on-farm groundwater recharge. To ensure the safety of honey bees, essential to pollinating almonds, farmers work closely with beekeepers and follow research-based best practices. Research continues to fine-tune the optimal approach to planting bee pastures which supply additional nutrition to bee hives and other nearby pollinators. Water and honey bee-focused research projects funded by ABC this year include $610,000 to nine water projects and $579,000 to seven honey bee health projects. This builds upon more than 200 water research projects funded since 1982, helping farmers reduce the water needed to grow a pound of almonds by 33% over the past 20 years, and, with 120 projects funded to date, ABC has supported more honey bee health research than any other crop group. Almond Board research projects are funded through an assessment paid per pound of almonds produced. After review by research advisors and workgroups focused on distinct almond farming topics, projects are selected by a committee of almond farmers and processors based on strategic alignment to industry needs and anticipated impact of the research. For more information about ABC’s 45 years of almond farming and environmental research, visit Almonds.com/GrowingGood. Media Contact: Kelsey Johnson – 617-897-8262; Kelsey.email@example.com Julia Hannon – 212-601-8234; Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org  Zach McCaffrey, et al. Recycled polypropylene-polyethylene torrefied almond shell biocomposites. Journal of Industrial Crops and Products. December 2018.  Lydia Palma, et al. Cultivation of black soldier fly larvae on almond byproducts: impacts of aeration and moisture on larvae growth and composition. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. December 2018.  Allison Flynn, et al. Almond hull byproducts as a casing amendment material in mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) cultivation. Mushroom News. American Mushroom Institute. October 2018. bit.ly/2TTlM9V  University of California, Feb. 2010. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, 2012. Almond Board of California, 1990-94, 2000-14.  Gene Brandi. Vice President, American Beekeeping Federation.
Growing Good | Almond Sustainability 2018
Growing Good is an annual Almond Board publication that describes what sustainability means to the California Almond industry, highlighting our commitment to stewardship and journey of continuous improvement. The publication includes information on ABC's research programs, California Almond Sustainability Program and progress made across key areas such as water efficiency, coproduct utilization and honey bee health.
2018 Annual Report
The Almond Almanac is the Almond Board of California’s annual report and outlines industry statistics, programs and projects. Published on a crop-year basis (August 1 to July 31), the Almond Almanac includes comprehensive historical information about almond production, acreage and varieties, as well as shipment, market, and ABC program information.
Almond Board of California Envisions Farm of the Future with $4.8 Million Research Investment
Almond Board of California (ABC) today announced an investment of $4.8 million in 64 independent, third-party research projects exploring next-generation farming practices. Additionally, ABC released the first annual Almond Sustainability Publication, entitled Growing Good, which highlights the California Almond community’s commitment to sustainability.1 The announcement was made at the 45th annual Almond Conference, an event that convenes almond farmers and processors to dialogue with researchers about the latest science. The California Almond community, through ABC, has invested nearly $70 million over 40 plus years to build a foundation of research on improving how almonds are grown, processed, and consumed. Growing Good highlights the industry’s continually evolving farming and processing best practices based on that research investment, which has built a foundation for continuous improvement that is helping almonds to be an economically, environmentally and socially responsible crop for California. “Almond farmers’ growing practices and processors’ handling practices are rooted in science, and the almond industry has been investing in research that pushes the envelope and partnerships that break boundaries. This new sustainability publication highlights some of those efforts as well as programs that support responsible, efficient almond production,” said Almond Board Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Gabriele Ludwig. “One of those programs is The Almond Conference. Over the next few days, thousands of attendees will attend fifty plus sessions, a bustling trade show and other events, all while networking with their peers and researchers. It’s key to continuous improvement.” Launched in 1973, ABC’s research programs provide a scientific basis for best practices across several priority areas. Three of those key areas include water sustainability, protection of honey bees that pollinate the almond crop, and new uses of almond hulls, shells, and woody materials in an effort to use everything produced in the orchard; a zero waste approach. Each of these focus areas are highlighted in Growing Good. Water Sustainability Since 1982, California Almond farmers 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 farmers reduce the amount of water needed to grow a pound of almonds by 33% over the past 20 years.2 Of this year’s projects, 14 focus on water with an investment of $1.2 million. The Almond Board’s investment in water sustainability includes this new project: Assessment of Water Status Using Inexpensive Thermographic Imagery, Lead Researcher: Brian Bailey, UC Davis - This new research project will explore the creation of a smartphone app and heat sensing platform to more precisely determine irrigation needs at any given time through leaf surface-and tree-temperature. The goal is to create a widely accessible tool for almond farmers to determine real-time irrigation needs and increase efficiency. 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 farmers 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.3 A current project focusing on honey bee health is: Technical Transfer Teams Serving Commercial Beekeepers in Almonds, Lead Researcher: Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Bee Informed Partnership - Technical Transfer Teams are made up of traveling bee doctors who work with beekeepers to monitor hive health and advise on pest and disease treatment as necessary. Nationwide, they service 99 commercial beekeepers many of whose honey bees pollinate almonds each spring. Almond Board has funded Tech Transfer Teams in partnership with the Bee Informed Partnership since 2010, when the first team was formed. Results to date show that beekeepers participating in the program lost, on average, 36% fewer colonies than those commercial operations who did not participate.4 Coproduct Innovation Almonds grow in a shell, protected by a hull, on a tree, and the California Almond community has ensured that each of these coproducts is 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 farmers and processors. Having a robust economic outlook while remaining committed to environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive, which is why I’m excited to be a part of this effort,” said Chico almond farmer and research collaborator, Rory Crowley. For this year’s announcement, one of the research projects that will focus on innovative uses for almond coproducts is: Evaluation of Almond Shell and Soft Wood Derived Biochars as Soil Amendments, Lead Researcher: Sanjai J. Parikh, UC Davis - This new research project will explore utilizing almond shells to create different formulations of biochar, a soil amendment, evaluating their quality in a greenhouse setting. Should these products prove beneficial to soil and plant health, it has potential applications across agriculture, landscaping, or even in backyard gardens. Almond Sustainability for the Future Continued commitment to scientific research is helping the California Almond community grow the farm of the future, as reflected in Growing Good. The publication, the first of its kind for the Almond Board, highlights almond farmers’ and processors’ heritage of sustainability and commitment to continuous improvement, while shining a spotlight on key Almond Board programming supporting those goals. Key points of interest from the 2017 publication include: 50 percent of almond processors are utilizing solar energy at their facilities, according to a spatial analysis5 78 percent of almond orchards today use efficient microirrigation, up from 70 percent in 20146 94 percent of almond farms coordinate with beekeepers about what pest control materials may need to be used during bloom and how the beekeepers will be notified in advance5 “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 Almond Board President and CEO, Richard Waycott. “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.” Each research project is funded through an assessment paid per pound of almonds produced. Projects are selected by a committee of almond farmers and processors based on strategic alignment to industry needs and anticipated impact of the research, and after review by a research advisory group of independent experts who evaluated the proposals for scientific merit. For more information about the Almond Board’s more than 40 years of almond farming and environmental research visit AlmondSustainability.org and the Research Database. 1Sustainable 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. 2University 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. 3Gene Brandi. Vice President, American Beekeeping Federation. 416-POLL5-Sagili/vanEngelsdorp. Bee Informed Partnership: Pacific Northwest Tech Transfer Team. 5Land IQ. Almond Processor Solar Analysis. December 2016. 6California Almond Sustainability Program. Aug. 2017.
Growing Good | Almond Sustainability 2017
New for 2017, Growing Good is an annual publication that is meant to show what sustainability means to the California Almond industry, highlighting our commitment to stewardship and journey of continuous improvement. The publication includes information on ABC’s research programs, California Almond Sustainability Program and progress made across key areas such as water efficiency, coproduct utilization and honey bee health.
California Almonds Continue to Inspire New Products Worldwide
Las Vegas, NV – According to new 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. According to the Innova Global New Products Report, almonds were featured in 38 percent of new food introductions featuring nuts in 2016, a five percent increase from the previous year.1 Key categories for worldwide almond product launches include confectionery (23 percent), bakery (20 percent) and snacks (18 percent), as well as bars (12 percent) and cereal (nine percent), which together account for 82 percent of almond product introductions.1 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 percent increase in almond introductions, and the desserts and ice cream category had an increase of 33 percent more almond products in 2016.1 “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 the 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 Innova Market Insights report also highlighted the top claims used on packaging of products with almonds, noting that “gluten-free” was the top claim used in new almond product introductions globally (23 percent).1 The claims “no additives/preservatives” and “high/source of fiber” were tied for the second most used claim on almond product introductions globally, communicated on the packaging of 14 percent of almond products.1 And, in a nod to almonds’ trademark crunch, “crunchy” was used as a descriptor significantly more often in association with almond products.1 “With the ever-increasing interest in clean label, healthful appeal and ‘free-from’ product claims, we are seeing almonds’ attributes more frequently named and noted on packaging,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation, Innova Market Insights. “For example, we see a relatively high use of energy claims on almond products when compared to the general product category. In fact, over 19 percent of almond bars feature energy/alertness positioning, compared with less than 15 percent for the category as a whole.” Regionally, almonds are the top nut for new product introductions in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, while Latin America saw the highest level of growth for almond introductions in 2016 (66 percent).1 Latin America’s almond product growth makes the country fourth overall by share, behind Europe which leads at 47 percent, Asia-Pacific (20 percent) and North America (19 percent).1 In addition to their unparalleled versatility, almonds’ nutritional profile makes them 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, and 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).* Find almond recipe inspiration, research, technical resources and the latest industry news on www.almonds.co.uk/food-professionals. References: Innova Market Insights 2016 Global New Product Introductions Report, May 2017. 2016 Global Perceptions Study, Sterling Rice Group, January 2017 Good news about almonds and heart health. Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving on almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.
Green almonds find specialty food niche
The almond as most know and love is a ubiquitous, versatile nut featured in countless recipes, candies and snack forms. But long before the familiar late-summer harvest ritual begins in West Side orchards, a relatively small volume of almonds in the early stages of development are hand-picked at Stewart & Jasper and shipped to celebrity chefs, upscale restaurants and private connoisseurs with a taste for green almonds. The niche-market delicacy has a limited but loyal following who incorporate green almonds into a variety of recipes, explained Jason Jasper, company vice president. Jasper said he first became aware of the potential for a green almond market about 12 years ago, when renowned dessert chef and food author Priscilla Martel inquired about the company’s interest in supplying chefs with the product. “My first reaction was ‘What are you going to do with green almonds?’,” Jasper acknowledged. But as he researched the product, he learned the green almonds are a Mediterranean delicacy which were often soaked in a brine or in milk, rolled in sea salt and eaten.
In The News
Almond Board commits $4.7 million to research
On a day that marked both National Almond Day and National Innovation Day, it was only fitting that the Almond Board of California celebrated the occasion with a $4.7 million commitment to 82 independent, third-party research projects exploring next-generation farming and sustainability practices. “This commitment helps ensure that almond farmers and the industry as a whole have the tools to implement sustainable production practices that result in a plentiful, nutritious and safe food product for consumers the world over to enjoy,” said Almond Board Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs Gabriele Ludwig. Commitments of this magnitude are not new to the almond industry, according to Ludwig, who said that the Almond Board has funded $60 million in research for over 40 years. Funding over the years has covered a wide range of subjects from irrigation efficiency to air quality to honey bee health. This year’s research projects will include 17 dedicated to irrigation improvement with an investment of $1.3 million and 11 focused on major factors impacting honey bee health with a commitment of nearly $400,000.
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Can Almonds Become a Zero Waste Crop?
The Almond Board of California (ABC) has announced it is currently looking for ways to optimize almond co-products such as almond hulls, shells and other woody materials in order to reduce food waste. Changing market needs for these products has led the ABC to focus research investment on new uses which address manufacturing needs across several industries, among them food, automotive, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and plastics. This brings value to the California almond community, the economy, the local environment, and supports almonds on their journey to zero waste. From almond hulls and shells to cosmetics, foods, pharmaceuticals and plastics Almond shells can be heated to high temperatures, producing a charcoal-like product, which has the potential to be used to create stronger, biodegradable plastics such as rubbish bags, flower pots and rubber tyres.
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