Almond Board Working Toward Next-Generation Sustainability Solutions

Consumers are taking a greater interest in understanding how and where their food is grown. As a result, the Almond Board of California has launched a task force to create and foster initiatives that will prepare the almond industry for a more sustainable future.

Richard Waycott, Almond Board president and CEO, says the effort to create the Accelerated Innovation Management (AIM) program started a little over a year ago. “It came out of the realization that California agriculture is really passing through a threshold from where it’s been to where it’s going, and certain fundamental changes are occurring. Also, resources are being stretched like never before,” he says.

As an industry, California almonds are the largest in terms of farm gate value, and Waycott anticipates they could also be the largest in terms of acreage within the next couple of years. “We really have a responsibility to step up in terms of our leadership and also identify where the almond industry can really be a contributor to solution-making, or certainly contribute to helping California agriculture find its way forward,” he adds.

So far, the task force has come up with four initiatives:

  • Water Management and Efficiency — Implementing irrigation guidelines and tools to further increase water efficiency.
  • Sustainable Water Resources — Accelerating the recharge potential of the Central Valley and investigating new sources of water.
  • 22nd Century Agronomics — Developing new technologies and optimizing almond agronomics into the 22nd century.
  • Air Quality — Collaborating with equipment manufacturers to improve production and harvest impacts on air quality.

These first four initiatives are housed under the title of “accelerated innovation management,” Waycott says, “because we really want to accelerate our activity, our investment, and the resources we’re going to put behind these initiatives.”

He’s quick to note, though, that the Almond Board can’t go it alone, so they’re working on developing partnerships along the way. A formal relationship has already been established with Sustainable Conservation for the groundwater recharge project. Research has also begun with the Environmental Defense Fund regarding greenhouse gas and air quality.

Waycott adds that there’s money to back up these initiatives, too. “We worked with the board and established some pretty significant budget allocations, and we have been moving ahead as expeditiously as possible,” he says.

Some of the initiatives have specific timelines in place, while others will be ongoing. For example, late last year, an irrigation continuum was launched to bring everybody in the industry up to a minimum standard in terms of irrigation efficiency practices. This initiative is expected to be ongoing.

Trials for the groundwater recharge project are underway this winter, which will determine the agronomic impacts of putting recharge water on orchards and answer questions such as how much water, for how long, and how often. Waycott hopes these questions will all be answered in the next one to two years.

Another longer-term initiative will focus on air quality in the Valley. “We’re really going to take a very out-of-the-box, almond-orchard-of-the-future-type look at our harvesting practices to see how we can get out of the dust-creation business, or certainly minimize it a great deal,” Waycott says.

He adds that this initiative will focus not just on harvesting equipment but on tree canopy and architecture, as well.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Waycott expects new initiatives to be launched down the line.

“As we work through these different initiatives, we’ll be keeping everyone informed of the results and how we’re going to drive adoption in the industry,” he says.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Nuts Stories
Nuts
June 3, 2017
Have Flooded Orchards? Keep an Eye out for Damage
While the damage from waterlogging or Phytophthora may not be immediately known, there are some warning signs to be on the lookout for. Read More
Managed bee hive boxes around a blueberry field
Nuts
May 25, 2017
Stolen Hives Recovered in Nearly $1M Heist
Man likely stole hives from across the state of California in the last three years. Read More
Nuts
May 16, 2017
Another Record California Almond Crop Forecast
Bearing acreage officially hits the million mark, though per-acre yields are off from 2016. Read More
Nuts
May 1, 2017
Startup Costs a Challenge to Pecan Growing
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialist says as pecan acres begin to increase, growers need to understand the return on investment is longer than other crops. Read More
Nuts
April 27, 2017
Keep an Eye Out for Phytophthora in Your Nut Orchard
After several years of drought conditions, increased water salinity, and a wet winter, your nut orchard may be more susceptible to root rot than you think. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2017
Perdue Sworn in as Ag Secretary
USDA launches Twitter account to help promote the industry. Read More
GenNext Growers
April 22, 2017
Next Generation of Leaders Gets Yearlong Almond Immersion
Almond Leadership Program enters its ninth year with the 2017 class. Read More
Nuts
April 10, 2017
Study Shows No Harm in Wildflower Plantings Near Almond Orchards
While conventional wisdom may suggest having more than one forage opportunity may detract from bee activity, research shows planting wildflowers boosts bees interest. Read More
Crop Protection
March 31, 2017
New Product Offers 2-in-1 Insect and Disease Control for Specialty Crop Growers
Crossover Pro offers early protection from insects, powdery mildew, rust, and leaf blight. Read More
Nuts
March 30, 2017
Lichens Thrive in Your Orchard During a Wet Year
Above average rainfall has created the perfect environment for growth. Read More
Nuts
March 28, 2017
How to Determine Optimal Almond Tree Spacing
Determining the proper row spacing for an orchard should be based on more than production and equipment access, and growers should also ponder the number of trees per row. Read More
Irrigation
March 26, 2017
Tips to Maximize Water Efficiency in Your Almond Grove
Editor’s note: Spencer Cooper joined the Almond Board of California last fall as Senior Manager, Irrigation and Water Efficiency. Western Read More
honeybees
Citrus
March 25, 2017
New Videos Offer Tips on Planting Pollinator Habitats
A new video series on planting flowering habitats is designed to help growers support crop pollinators. Read More
Nuts
March 24, 2017
Foreboding Fungus Vexes Almond Growers
In parts of California, almond growers have recently become concerned about Ganoderma root and butt rot. To put this concern Read More
Nuts
March 15, 2017
Efforts to Thwart Nut Thefts Ramping up in California
Ordinance revisions to end cash sales, include a 10-day hold on payments. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
June 28, 2017
Felony Charges in Beehive Thefts
The men accused of heading up an operation to steal and re-sell beehives, Pavel Tveretinov and Vitaliy Yeroshenko, 48, have Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Y…
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Fruits
June 6, 2017
Survey: Bee Loss Drops Last Season
Bee Informed Partnership says preliminary analysis of results show second-lowest loss rate recorded in last seven years. Read More
Nuts
June 3, 2017
Have Flooded Orchards? Keep an Eye out f…
While the damage from waterlogging or Phytophthora may not be immediately known, there are some warning signs to be on the lookout for. Read More
Nuts
May 25, 2017
Stolen Hives Recovered in Nearly $1M Hei…
Man likely stole hives from across the state of California in the last three years. Read More
Nuts
May 16, 2017
Another Record California Almond Crop Fo…
Bearing acreage officially hits the million mark, though per-acre yields are off from 2016. Read More
Nuts
May 1, 2017
Startup Costs a Challenge to Pecan Growi…
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialist says as pecan acres begin to increase, growers need to understand the return on investment is longer than other crops. Read More
Nuts
April 27, 2017
Keep an Eye Out for Phytophthora in Your…
After several years of drought conditions, increased water salinity, and a wet winter, your nut orchard may be more susceptible to root rot than you think. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2017
Perdue Sworn in as Ag Secretary
USDA launches Twitter account to help promote the industry. Read More
GenNext Growers
April 22, 2017
Next Generation of Leaders Gets Yearlong…
Almond Leadership Program enters its ninth year with the 2017 class. Read More
Nuts
April 10, 2017
Study Shows No Harm in Wildflower Planti…
While conventional wisdom may suggest having more than one forage opportunity may detract from bee activity, research shows planting wildflowers boosts bees interest. Read More
Crop Protection
March 31, 2017
New Product Offers 2-in-1 Insect and Dis…
Crossover Pro offers early protection from insects, powdery mildew, rust, and leaf blight. Read More
Nuts
March 30, 2017
Lichens Thrive in Your Orchard During a …
Above average rainfall has created the perfect environment for growth. Read More
Nuts
March 28, 2017
How to Determine Optimal Almond Tree Spa…
Determining the proper row spacing for an orchard should be based on more than production and equipment access, and growers should also ponder the number of trees per row. Read More
Irrigation
March 26, 2017
Tips to Maximize Water Efficiency in You…
Editor’s note: Spencer Cooper joined the Almond Board of California last fall as Senior Manager, Irrigation and Water Efficiency. Western Read More
Citrus
March 25, 2017
New Videos Offer Tips on Planting Pollin…
A new video series on planting flowering habitats is designed to help growers support crop pollinators. Read More
Nuts
March 24, 2017
Foreboding Fungus Vexes Almond Growers
In parts of California, almond growers have recently become concerned about Ganoderma root and butt rot. To put this concern Read More
Nuts
March 15, 2017
Efforts to Thwart Nut Thefts Ramping up …
Ordinance revisions to end cash sales, include a 10-day hold on payments. Read More