Press Releases Archive - West Coast Nut

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CALIFORNIA WALNUT BOARD SUPPORTS INDUSTRY GROWTH WITH RETAIL, RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY PROGRAMS

CALIFORNIA WALNUT BOARD SUPPORTS INDUSTRY GROWTH WITH RETAIL, RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY PROGRAMS
Despite Pandemic, FY 2020/2021 Saw Record Production 
 
 FOLSOM, Calif., Nov. 30, 2021 – During the 2020-2021 crop year, California walnut growers and handlers worked together with the California Walnut Board and California Walnut Commission to advance the industry in new ways. Growers produced a record crop of 785,000 tons, a 20 percent gain over the 2019 crop. The California Walnut Board (CWB) and Commission (CWC) promoted walnuts through marketing campaigns that increased sales, leveraged new CWC-funded health research to sustain consumer interest in walnut consumption, conducted new production and post-harvest research to help maintain competitiveness, and accessed government dollars.
“In a year where a pandemic has altered so many aspects of the way Americans live and work, the Board’s contributions to the industry have been critical,” says Michelle Connelly, Executive Director of California Walnut Board.
 
Retail Campaign Generates Double-Digit Sales Growth
Retail programs drove sales and consumption during seasonal time periods when walnuts are not typically a priority for consumers. During American Heart Month in February, the CWB worked with retailers nationwide on a campaign to display walnuts with messaging about their heart-health benefits*. With 34 participating retailers, operating 10,400 locations, retailers saw an average sales lift of 22.5 percent. Additionally, television and radio advertising during this program reached 52% of US households.
In May through August, a summer snacking campaign signed-on 26 retailers with 7,400 locations to execute in-store promotions and specials. The first-of-its-kind snacking-focused program encouraged retailers to think of new ways to promote walnuts by tying into the consumer trend. Retail elements were supported with consumer outreach, and the average US consumer saw the message on walnuts and snacking six times. The campaign drove year-over-year walnut sales increases, when comparing the summer months. 
 
Production Research Delivers Short- and Long-Term Benefits
The CWB continued investment in research programs to maintain competitiveness in walnut production and processing, as well as invested in applied projects that directly benefit immediate grower needs. Topics including pest management, food safety, product quality, and more were prevalent in these programs. UC Davis’ CWB-funded walnut breeding program released a new varietal, UC Wolfskill, in hopes of finding more desirable traits such as a late leafing, early harvesting Chandler-like variety.
The CWB Grades and Standards Committee approved 11 post-harvest research projects, three of which are exploring byproduct utilization for the walnut industry to add further value across the supply chain while promoting sustainability. The Committee also funded a project to develop methods and a database to help differentiate walnuts from various origins and cultivators which can help preserve the integrity and reputation of California walnuts.
“Our research programs are key in providing growers and handlers the resources they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive space,” says Connelly.
 
Steps Taken to Increase Efficiencies and Mitigate Market Disruptions
In September, the CWB voted to suspend the mandatory outbound inspections of walnuts to mitigate market disruptions like labor shortages or shipping constraints, while reducing redundancies. The suspension brings further efficiencies to the industry, while allowing resources to be saved.
“The Federal Marketing Order rules governing inspections are obsolete as market and customer quality demands have since surpassed USDA grade standards,” added Connelly. “The Board’s vote to suspend the inspections stands to benefit both producers and processors.”
 
CWC and CWB Do More Together to Advance Industry
In lock step with the CWB, CWC activities also contributed to and supported the industry throughout the year. As a result of the Commission’s efforts, walnut growers received over $85MM in direct payments from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 1 alone and millions more through CFAP 2. Ensuring the walnut industry’s voice was heard, the CWC, as part of a coalition, also worked with sectors of the CA government to urge lawmakers in the Department of Pesticide Regulations to not increase mill tax for at least two years.
Furthermore, 17 scientific papers published that were funded or supported by the CWC, including findings in the areas of heart health, cognition, gut health and longevity. Sharing those health findings with health professionals and reporters resulted in 431 articles mentioning the health benefits of walnuts in mainstream media. The average US consumer saw the message 22 times.
Connelly shared more about why a robust, ongoing health research program is important, “Health is a top reason why consumers eat walnuts and demands are always evolving. New research discovers breakthrough results and makes important health advancements.”
Growers who want to learn more about how the CWB/CWC are doing more for the walnut industry are encouraged to sign up for newsletters to hear directly from the Board, follow our social channels on LinkedIn and @GrowCAWalnuts on Facebook, and learn more at walnuts.org/walnut-industry.
 
* Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. (FDA) One ounce of walnuts offers 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid – the plant-based omega-3. 
 
About the California Walnut Board The California Walnut Board (CWB) was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. The CWB is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers. The CWB is governed by a Federal Walnut Marketing Order. The CWB promotes usage of walnuts in the United States through publicity and educational programs. The CWB also provides funding for walnut production, food safety and post-harvest research. 
 
About the California Walnut Commission 
The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The CWC represents over 4,800 growers and approximately 90 handlers (processors) of California walnuts in export market development activities and conducts health research. The CWC is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
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Solvita® Soil Tests confirmed through long-term field research as valuable testing tools for evaluating Soil Health

For Immediate Release

Solvita® Soil Tests confirmed through long-term field research as valuable testing tools for evaluating Soil Health

·       Long term study confirms usefulness of Solvita® as valuable tool to predict Soil Health
·       Research shows Solvita® tests enabled a high level of certainty in “useful” cropping comparisons and correlated with soil carbon levels and soil total nitrogen

www.solvita.com

MOUNT VERNON, Maine (AgPR) July 22, 2021 –– Solvita® Soil Tests capture key biological, chemical and physical traits indicating healthy functioning in a farm system. The usefulness of Solvita® commercial soil health tests as valuable tools to predict soil health indicators such as Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) and Total Nitrogen (TN) has been confirmed by long term field research conducted by the University of Guelph and released in Soil and Tillage Research, September 2021.

Highlights of the research (Long-term effects of crop rotation, tillage, and fertilizer nitrogen on soil health indicators and crop productivity in a temperate climate) included:

  •    Diversifying rotations with perennial and cover crops increased yields
  •  Higher concentration of SOC, evolved CO2-C and Solvita Amino-N developed from diverse rotations
  •     SOC positively linked with crop yield; thus, SOC an indicator of agricultural resilience
  •    Solvita labile amino nitrogen (SLAN) and Solvita CO2-burst positively correlated with SOC & total nitrogen
  •    Applied nitrogen in diverse rotations had a synergistic effect on soil health indicators

Will Brinton, Founder and Chief Science Officer of Woods End Laboratories, commented “The study accessed two long term plot studies, providing optimal platforms to evaluate soil health test parameters. Such long-term practices provide greater confidence in distinguishing soil quality effects in laboratory analyses than reliance on short term studies. These projects reflect significant commitments of researchers supporting sustainability research objectives. Both Solvita tests (SLAN + CO2) were tested in several combinations of crops, soil management regimes and time frames confirming their usefulness in monitoring changes that are indicative of soil health improvements.”

Dr. Brinton also stated, “The study further confirms that soil health is critical to the future of society in so far as it links farming, nutrition and climate under the theme of sustainable practices.”

Woods End Laboratories has been on a mission to increase awareness of soil biology functions by developing and providing simple, accurate tools for performing soil measurements in the field and laboratory. Solvita® soil tests capture key biological, chemical and physical traits indicating healthy functioning in a farm system. There are also Solvita® products for compost quality testing. These products are used by soil conservationists, crop producers and compost facilities worldwide.

To learn more, visit the Woods End Laboratories’ Solvita® website at www.solvita.com.

About Woods End Laboratories

Woods End is a leading soil health research company founded in 1974, that has focused on creating products, process and consulting for agriculture, compost and other soil health initiatives.  It’s flagship brand, Solvita®, is a leading soil health diagnostic product being adopted in both North American and international markets. Founded by Dr. Will Brinton, Woods End’s vision is built upon soil health, agricultural sustainability and circular economy principles. Will Brinton has served a decade on the OMRI advisory council which interacts with the USDA on certified organic farming issues. The company developed and distributes the Solvita® brand of products used by agronomists,  conservationists, researchers and others worldwide to monitor soil health, foodstuff spoilage and compost stability.  The company recently joined forces with A&L Canada Laboratories Inc. and Deveron Corp. in April of 2021 to create a new soil health and precision ag service platform; http://woodsend.com/2021/04/deveron-and-al-canada/.

Visit the Woods End Laboratory website at www.woodsend.com.

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For more information contact:
Will Brinton
CEO and Founder
Woods End Laboratories
will.brinton@woodsend.com
www.woodsend.com

THE BEE CORP’S DATA SETS STANDARD FOR POLLINATION

THE BEE CORP'S DATA SETS STANDARD FOR POLLINATION

FIRST PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATION ON BEE XML JOURNAL MEASURES EFFECTIVENESS OF THE BEE CORP'S HIVE STRENGTH METHOD

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. | July 13, 2021 — The Bee Corp is excited to announce the publication of a peer-reviewed study looking at the company’s hive strength assessment methodology in a new global repository of standardized data, Bee XML Journal. The Bee Corp CEO, Ellie Symes, and Appalachian State researcher, Joseph Cazier, co-authored a research publication examining various ways to measure pollination effectiveness.

The Bee Corp’s mission is to develop technology to help beekeepers maximize pollination revenue per hive and help growers reduce cost and optimize pollination quality. The Bee Corp offers Verifli, an infrared (IR) technology that measures a hive’s heat signature to determine colony size and pollination value. Farmers don’t always know what they are getting in terms of pollination effectiveness and beekeepers don’t always get full value for the services they provide — The Bee Corp is seeking to alleviate these industry gaps with Verifli.

The Bee XML Journal was created to provide researchers, apiculturists and bee enthusiasts with an archive that enables bee data sharing. The goal of the journal is to publish peer-reviewed research and data standards related to bees and beekeeping and to curate bee-related data from environments across the world. They have a three step approach to this data sharing procedure.

 1. Build a standard by pooling common bee-related data, such as hive inspections, apiary management and apiary suitability

2. Decide on how to measure data by agreeing on one or more standard measures per item

3. Determine the technical architecture of storing, transmitting and analyzing data from machine to machine

Cazier, in collaboration with The Bee Corp, is forming a benchmark for pollination data. Their article reviews raw data collected by Verifli in conjunction with their pollination calculations, finishing with a presentation of the proposed Bee XML standard for this system.

“Standardizing the world's bee data is critical to bringing modern tools and technologies to help protect our world's pollinators,” says Cazier. “Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and even just basic reporting has tremendous potential to not only protect our pollinators, but to enhance the livelihood of beekeepers everywhere by keeping more bees alive, documenting the value they add to our society, optimizing pollination and eventually addressing honey traceability.”

Accurately assessing pollination allows beekeepers to receive the full value for their services while allowing farmers to make time-sensitive pollination management decisions sooner.

“In the beekeeping industry, information sharing and method standardization are not as common as you see in other industries,” says Symes. “We’re excited for the potential of Bee XML Journal to move the needle by becoming a hub for our collective knowledge about bees.”

The Bee Corp is excited to contribute to the Bee XML Journal as both companies' missions align on data standardization. A big step in the bee industry, The Bee Corp is proud to contribute a piece of the puzzle that builds to larger innovation. Symes and Cazier’s research aims to push the bee industry forward by encouraging collaboration and information sharing.

See the full publication here.

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Drive decisions with non-invasive, unbiased hive grading evaluating pollination effectiveness. Verifli, an infrared technology, measures a hive’s heat signature to determine colony size and pollination value. For more information about The Bee Corp and Verifli’s hive-grading technology, visit www.thebeecorp.com or contact info@thebeecorp.com.

Almond Board of California 2021 Election Results

almond branch

Almond Board of California 2021 Election Results

MODESTO, Calif. – The Almond Board of California (ABC) has released election results for the Board of Directors positions whose terms of office begin August 1, 2021. As a governing body for the industry, the ABC Board of Directors is comprised of five handler and five grower representatives who set policy and recommend budgets in several major areas, including production research, public relations and advertising, nutrition research, statistical reporting, quality control and food safety.

The names of the following nominees have been submitted to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for selection:


Independent Grower:

Member Position One (one-year term):          
Paul Ewing, Los Banos


Alternate Position One:
Brandon Rebiero, Modesto

Member Position Three (three-year term):

Joe Gardiner, Earlimart

Alternate Position Three:
Chris Bettencourt, Westley
                                 
Independent Handler:
Member Position Two (three-year term):
Bob Silveira, Williams

Alternate Position Two:
Dexter Long, Ballico

Member Position Three (one-year term):           
Darren Rigg, Le Grand            


Alternate Position Three:

Chad DeRose, McFarland

Cooperative Grower:
Member Position Two (three-year term):
Christine Gemperle, Ceres 

Alternate Position Two:
Kent Stenderup, Bakersfield


In addition, Lisa Giannini, Hickman, has been named to fill the Cooperative Grower Alternate Position One role.

ABOUT THE ALMOND BOARD OF CALIFORNIA
Almonds from California are a healthy, natural, wholesome and quality food. The Almond Board of California promotes almonds with a research-based approach to responsible farming, production and marketing on behalf of the more than 7,600 almond growers and processors in California, many of whom have third- and fourth-generation family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit Almonds.com or check out California Almonds on FacebookTwitterInstagram and the California Almonds blog.

HIVE GRADING TECHNOLOGY TESTED IN SUNFLOWER FIELDS

THE BEE CORP PARTNERS WITH SYNGENTA SEEDS AND NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION FOR PILOT STUDY ON INNOVATIVE HIVE GRADING TECHNOLOGY

HIVE GRADING TECHNOLOGY TESTED IN SUNFLOWER FIELDS

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. | APRIL 20, 2021 — The Bee Corp and Syngenta Seeds recently announced a partnership to trial Verifli hive grading technology on a pilot sunflower plot. Verifli is a technology that uses infrared imagery and data analytics to predict the size of the colony inside the hive without disturbing hives for manual inspection. This is the first time hive grading technology has been introduced in sunflower pollination. Planned to commence in June 2021, this trial will take place on seed production fields located in the Sacramento Valley area in California.

“We are continually leveraging digital technologies to enable data-driven decisions,” said Itacir Feldhaus, North America Seeds Production Research Leader at Syngenta.  “This partnership with The Bee Corp will allow us to test and prove Verifli has the potential to help Syngenta Seeds, growers and beekeepers to improve beehive management and pollination in seed production. If proven, Verifli will help make seed production more efficient and environmentally sustainable.”

Funding for this pilot study will come in part from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through The Bee Corp’s Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant.

Hive grading, though vital to pollination success, is still often a heavily manual process. Verifli is stepping in to provide a solution that delivers consistent, accurate and objective data to ensure optimal pollination for successful seed production. With pollination being critical for seed production worldwide, this could open up Verifli to a $70 billion global market. The Bee Corp has built a strong foundation in successful almond pollination, and they are confident in Verifli positively impacting additional crop industries.

“We’re grateful to Syngenta Seeds and NSF for supporting our effort to introduce Verifli to more areas of agriculture production dependent on pollination,” said Ellie Symes, The Bee Corp Co-founder. “Standardizing how bee colonies are measured is a pressing need for growers of a wide-variety of crops who lack information on pollination effectiveness.”

Verifli is a digital hive grading service powered by infrared (IR) image analysis. The Bee Corp team uses Verifli to grade hives overnight when IR is most accurate. Growers wake up to results on Verifli’s hive strength dashboard, where they can assess pollination potential across different sites, compare beekeeper performance and pinpoint the location of weak bees. Verifli’s non-invasive technology allows early recognition of issues before they have detrimental impacts on crop yields.

“Though initially built for almond growers, we designed the Verifli platform to deliver objective hive strength data for all crops that rely on honey bee pollination,” said Wyatt Wells, The Bee Corp Co-founder. “Verifli offers a fast and reliable way for growers to evaluate pollination and for beekeepers prove the value they provide.”
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Drive decisions from the palm of your hand with non-invasive, unbiased hive grading. Snap. Grade. Go about your day — with Verifli. For more information about The Bee Corp and Verifli’s new hive-grading technology, visit www.thebeecorp.com or contact info@thebeecorp.com.

Almond Board Election Underway

Voting begins April 21

(Modesto, Calif.) — Voting begins today to select two independent grower member and alternate positions and two independent handler member and alternate positions. These positions will serve as directors for the Almond Board of California (ABC) with the terms beginning on August 1, 2021.

Candidates for the independent grower positions are:
Position One, Member (One-year term): 

Paul Ewing, Los Banos (incumbent)

Ross Franson, Fresno (petitioner)

Position One, Alternate:

Michael Anderson, Vina (petitioner)

Brandon Rebiero, Modesto (petitioner)

Position Three, Member (Three-year term): 

Dave DeFrank, Fresno (petitioner)

Joe Gardiner, Earlimart (petitioner)

Caleb Gervase, Escalon (petitioner)

Kash Gill, Yuba City, (petitioner)

Position One, Alternate:

Dinesh Bajaj, Orland (petitioner)

Chris Bettencourt, Westley (petitioner) Caleb Gervase, Escalon (petitioner)

Candidates for the independent handler positions are:
Position Two, Member (Three-year term): 

Todd Meyer, Chico (incumbent)

Bob Silveira, Williams (petitioner)

Position Two, Alternate:

Dexter Long, Ballico (incumbent)

Position Three, Member (One-year term): 

Darren Rigg, Le Grand (incumbent)

Position Three, Alternate:

Chad DeRose, McFarland (incumbent)

Ballots and instructions have been mailed to all independent growers whose names are on file with ABC. The Almond Board must receive ballots by May 27, 2021 for them to be counted. If an independent grower or a handler does not receive a ballot, one may be obtained by contacting Bunnie Ibrahim at (209) 343-3228.

As a governing body for the industry, the ABC Board of Directors is comprised of five handler and five grower representatives who set policy and recommend budgets in several major areas including: production research, public relations and advertising, nutrition research, statistical reporting, quality control and food safety.

New copper fungicide approved for use on California crops

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New copper fungicide approved for use on California crops

High efficiency, liquid copper fungicide from Earth Science Labs approved for use in California on walnuts, almonds, pistachios and other crops.

Rogers, Arkansas, October 15, 2020 – A new low-dose liquid copper bactericide and fungicide has been approved by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR). Registered under the name Cop-Kleen™ on August 3, the new fungicide is manufactured by Earth Science Labs (ESL). It is approved for use on 94 crops, including walnuts, almonds and pistachios.

Cop-Kleen is manufactured with a proprietary process that allows it to hold ionic copper (Cu++) in solution while making it fully bio-available to plants. The result is an environmentally friendlier fungicide that uses less copper than conventional copper-based formulations. This represents an advancement over older copper inputs and even today’s more sophisticated offerings.

Copper has been used as a fungicide since 1807, when French farmers started using a copper sulfate solution to control smut and bunt fungi on cereal crop seeds. Today’s copper fungicides are more active across a broader range of applications and diseases, but problems still remain. One of them is getting copper efficiently to infection sites.

“Holding copper in solution and getting it into direct contact with pathogens often presents a challenge” said Nenad Filajdic, Product Development Lead for ESL’s Agriculture division. “Even modern formulations tend to require a higher percentage of metallic copper to control diseases than is ideal. In addition to the cost of higher copper inputs, some of that excess copper can make its way into the environment.”

Filajdic shared recent field studies of Cop-Kleen that show how it performs against other copper-based fungicides. “Cop-Kleen achieved equal control of almond blossom blight and walnut blight with 5-20% of the metallic copper used by standard copper-based products,” said Filajdic. “We are also seeing improvements in durational control because Cop-Kleen penetrates plant tissues. That means no residue on leaves and less risk of wash-off from rain.”

Earth Science Laboratories Inc. manufactures Cop-Kleen in Nebraska for agricultural use as an algicide/bactericide/fungicide. Cop-Kleen is approved by the CDPR for use on walnuts, almonds, pistachios and other crops. Cop-Kleen distributors in California include Ag Water Chemicals. Visit eslagri.com/products/cop-kleen for more information.

Media Contact: Blair Showalter

(800) 257-9283 ext. 118 marketing@earthsciencelabs.com

Sequoia® CA Insecticide Registered for California Tree Nuts

 

 

Sequoia® CA Insecticide Registered for California Tree Nuts

(July 26, 2020) Corteva Agriscience has received California Department of Pesticide Regulation approval for Sequoia® CA insecticide in tree nuts, including almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pecans.  Labeled insects include aphids, San Jose scale and Gill’s mealybug (2ee label).

Sequoia CA contains the active ingredient Isoclast® active, a member of the sulfoximine class of chemistry.  “In tree nuts, Sequoia CA will be the only insecticide designated as a member of the new subgroup 4C by the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee,” says Jeff Pacheco, Corteva market development specialist.  “It has a different mode of action from other insecticides in tree nuts, which will make an excellent rotation partner in full-season IPM programs.”

“Sequoia CA will be valuable addition to the limited number of insecticides used for Gill’s mealybug in pistachios”, says Pacheco.  “That insect continues to spread in California orchards and many growers are battling it for the first time.  Corteva and university field trials have been conducted in California since 2013, and Sequoia has shown good control of Gill’s mealybug, especially when applied at the crawler stage”, says Pacheco.

In walnuts and pecans, Sequoia CA will be an excellent product for aphids.  “Pecan growers outside of California have been using the product for several years, and it has become an important part of aphid management programs.  And for aphids, in general, Isoclast active has been widely-used in other crops including leafy vegetables, cole crops and cotton.”

Sequoia CA will fit well into IPM programs that rely on beneficial insects.  “Field trials and commercial use on various crops show that Sequoia has low impact on populations of beneficial insects,” says Pacheco.  “And it won’t flare mites or secondary pests.”

To learn more, visit www.corteva.us or contact your retailer.

 

Contact:         Jeff Pacheco • 480-695-4615 • Jeffrey.l.pacheco@corteva.com

Fred Rehrman (writer) • 530-668-6665 • fred_elysianfields@yahoo.com

 

 

Industry Insights – Farm Advisor Research Associates

County-based University of California (UC) Cooperative Extension farm advisors are a vital link between UC and United States Department of Agriculture campus-based researchers and growers. For many years after the UC began stationing them in the counties in 1914, farm advisors’ main responsibility was to disseminate and encourage the adoption of new ideas and practices flowing rapidly at the time from research being conducted on UC campuses. Over time, though, their responsibilities expanded to conducting applied research projects in the counties, mainly in growers’ orchards. Today, it is not uncommon for farm advisors to spend 50 to 60 percent of their time on applied research – either on their own or collaboratively with campus-based researchers, specialists and other farm advisors.

In recent years, farm advisors have increasingly become spread thin by steady increases in the scope of their position responsibilities – driven especially by attrition in advisor positions due to state and federal budget cuts, retirements and other changes. Nearly all farm advisors now cover multiple counties and must concentrate their efforts on a few major commodities in their region.
Over the past two years, representatives of several commodity groups have engaged tree nut and fruit farm advisors in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys in conversations about how financial support might augment and strengthen farm advisor capacity for addressing applied research needs of their growers and allied industries.\

A consensus emerged from these conversations to position commodity board-funded research associates in key Sacramento and San Joaquin valley locations to help fruit and nut farm advisors conduct their applied research and related extension outreach activities. The California Walnut Board (CWB) Research Director, Joe Grant, worked closely with members of the CWB’s Production Research Committee (PRC) as the new initiative took shape. “We have appreciated farm advisors’ growing involvement in applied research over the years, and this action strengthens their ability to address industry challenges through research,” said PRC Chair Jerry Moore. Committee Vice-Chair Bob Driver agrees. “We recognize the challenges farm advisors face as their ranks have shrunk and their coverage areas have expanded in recent years,” Driver said.

In March of this year, CWB, along with the Almond Board of California and the California Pistachio Research Board, approved a proposal to jointly fund four research associate positions – two in the Sacramento Valley housed in Butte and Yolo counties, and two in the central San Joaquin Valley housed in Fresno and Tulare counties. In this first year of the initiative, the CWB has committed to funding half of each Sacramento Valley position and half of the Tulare-Kings position. The other boards will provide the balance in proportion to the amount of time the associates spend on research supporting each commodity.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR), which administers UC Cooperative Extension applied research and extension outreach programs in the counties, worked with CWB and the other commodity groups to craft an agreement to guide hiring and co-locating the new associates with farm advisors in their respective county locations.
“We are pleased and grateful to collaborate with the commodity boards to strengthen UC ANR’s applied research capacity in this way,” said Glenda Humiston, UC ANR Vice President. “This arrangement adds a new dimension to the long-standing and productive partnership between the University of California and California’s tree nut growers to build strong and sustainable farming operations for the future.”

Grant said the commodity boards believe at least two additional positions are needed and should be considered in the future. “There are heavy concentrations of tree fruit and nut acreage and growers in the southern (Kern County) and northern (San Joaquin and Stanislaus) San Joaquin Valley,” Grant said. “In our view, the need for assistance relative to the number of farm advisors in these regions is a little less acute than in the four being funded now. If this model is successful and funds are available, expanding it into these other areas should be considered in future years. And there are other commodities that have expressed an interest in possibly joining the initiative in the future,” he added.

USDA-NASS Predicts Third Straight Record-Breaking Almond Crop

Increased Acreage and Improved Yields Cited as Reason for Record Production

Click here to view the 2020 Subjective Forecast
View the Almond Board of California's full news release below or at Newsroom.Almonds.com

MODESTO, Calif. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is predicting a record California almond crop for the third straight year. The USDA-NASS 2020 California Almond Subjective Forecast estimates California almond orchards will produce 3.0 billion pounds of nuts this year, up 17.6 percent from last year’s 2.55 billion-pound crop. Forecasted yield is expected to reach 2,380 pounds per acre, 10.2 percent greater than the 2019 yield of 2,160 per acre.[i]

This forecast comes about three weeks after USDA-NASS released the 2019 California Almond Acreage Report, which estimated total almond acreage for 2019 up 10 percent from 2018 at 1.53 million acres. Bearing acres – orchards mature enough to produce a crop – were reported at 1.18 million acres, up 8 percent from the previous year. USDA-NASS also estimated preliminary bearing acreage for 2020 at 1.26 million acres.[ii]

“Almond acreage and production continue to increase as California almond growers further invest in precision agriculture and responsible best practices,” said Almond Board of California (ABC) President and CEO Richard Waycott. “Through the industry’s advancements in water use efficiency to environmentally friendly pest management, zero waste efforts in the orchard and beyond, almond growers are committed to achieving our Almond Orchard 2025 Goals and the realization of the California almond orchard of the future.”

The first of two production reports for the upcoming crop year, the Subjective Forecast is based on opinions obtained from randomly selected almond growers located throughout the state via a phone survey, this year conducted from April 20 to May 6. USDA-NASS asks individual growers to indicate their total almond yield per acre from last year and expected yield for the current year based on field observations. The sample of growers interviewed is grouped by size of operation, and different individuals are interviewed each year to ensure grower representation throughout the Central Valley. USDA-NASS then combines the yield estimates obtained from each grower and extrapolates the information to arrive at the numbers reported in the Subjective Forecast.

This July, USDA-NASS will release its second production estimate, the 2020 California Almond Objective Report. While the Subjective Forecast provides an initial estimate of the 2020/2021 crop, the Objective Report will provide an estimate based on actual almond counts that uses a more statistically rigorous methodology to determine yield.

In Dec. 2019, ABC’s Board of Directors approved a strategic approach to further improve the accuracy of USDA-NASS’s reporting. From 2020 on, the Objective Report will include measurements from 1,000 target orchards throughout the state (an increase of 150 samples from 2019) and provide nut counts on not one but two branches per tree. The Objective Report will also provide the weight, size and grade of the average almond sample broken down by growing region – no longer growing district – and variety.

The 2020 California Almond Objective Report will be released on Tuesday, July 7, at 12:00 p.m. PT. USDA-NASS conducts the Objective Report, the Subjective Forecast and the Acreage Report to provide the California almond industry with the data needed to make informed business decisions, and thanks all farm operators, owners and management entities for their time in providing the information necessary to create these reports.

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[i] USDA-NASS. 2020 California Almond Subjective Forecast. May 2020.
[ii] USDA-NASS. 2019 California Almond Acreage Report. April 2020.