Happy National Almond Day and National Innovation Day! This is the perfect occasion to announce that the Almond Board of California (ABC) is investing $4.7 million in 82 independent, third-party research projects exploring next-generation farming and sustainable practices.1
Altogether, these research projects cover a range of areas including irrigation efficiency, air quality, honey bee health, the development of innovative production practices that lead to continued improvement in efficient and sustainable farming, and so much more.
Ultimately, this research could lead to new innovations that evolve farming practices - just like the improvements that led farmers to reduce the amount of water needed to grow a pound of almonds by 33% over the past 20 years.2
A sampling of projects funded by ABC include:
- University of California Cooperative Extension, Brent Holtz: Whole Orchard Recycling
- United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Bryan Jenkins: Almond Shells Used to Improve Properties of Plastics
- University of California, Davis, Helen Dahlke: Winter Water Management Assessing Recharge in Almond Orchards
- University of California, Davis, Shrini Upadhyaya: A Leaf Monitoring System for Continuous Measurement of Plant Water Status to Assist with Irrigation Management of Specialty Crops
- Washington State University, Walter Sheppard: Importation and Preservation of Germplasm for U.S. Honey Bee Breeding and Stock Improvement
The research projects are chosen by committees of almond growers and processors who evaluate the proposals for strategic alignment to industry needs and anticipated impact of the research, as well as a research advisory group of independent experts who assess the proposals for scientific merit.
The research is funded through an assessment paid on each pound of almonds produced and is strengthened by almond-related grants from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program.
Through ABC, California’s almond community has invested $60 million to build a foundation of research on environmental, production, and other issues to continually evolve best practices. This effort includes the Accelerated Innovation Management (AIM) program and was celebrated at our recent Almond Conference in a short film, which you can view above.
These investments will help to ensure that the California almond industry continues to identify and implement sustainable and innovative almond farming practices, and will be prepared to meet the future needs of agriculture, our communities, and the environment.
Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory monitor sensors in a
Modesto-area almond orchard being tested for groundwater recharge suitability.
Get more details about this announcement here.
1 Sustainable 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 and safe food product.
2 University 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.