Almond Industry is Leader in Sustainable Farming and Groundwater Research

Posted October 12th, 2016

Farming has been a family business for ages, and California’s many multigenerational almond farms are no different. Farmers want to pass their land and legacy on to their children and grandchildren, and in order to ensure that productive farms are left to pass on when that day comes, almond farmers in the Central Valley are sustainable1 stewards of their land.

As technology advances, sustainable practices follow – so the almond industry looks to production and environmental research to stay up-to-date. This research is a pillar of the Almond Board of California’s (ABC) sustainability program and core to ABC’s mission.

ABC works to engage almond farmers on a path to more sustainable management of groundwater quality and supply. Groundwater is a vital resource in California and plays a critical role in maintaining California's economic and environmental sustainability.

At the International Groundwater Conference held earlier this summer, Gabriele Ludwig, ABC’s Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs noted, “California agriculture in particular would not be the success story it is without the continuum of the research and UC Extension system that has been built and trusted over the years.”

ABC staff members, as well as a number of almond farmers, attended this conference, held by the Water Education Foundation and sponsored by ABC. Several ABC-funded researchers spoke to the audience of scientists, policymakers, and agricultural and environmental stakeholders and shared their latest research, as well as practices for sustaining our groundwater resources – both availability of groundwater, as well as groundwater quality – for regions around the world. In addition, ABC’s Ludwig delivered a keynote address about engaging farmers on the path toward sustainability.

  • Historic, Current and Future Availability of Surface Water for Agricultural Groundwater Banking in the Central Valley, California - Helen Dahlke, University of California, Davis
  • Remotely Sensed Crop Mapping Applications for Water Resource Management and Decision Support -Joel Kimmelshue, Land IQ
  • California Almond Water Footprint - Fraser Shilling, University of  California, Davis
  • On-Farm Recharge: Acceptance and Use by Farmers and Water Managers in the San  Joaquin Valley, California - Daniel Mountjoy, Sustainable Conservation
  • Nitrate Sensitive Salinity Management - Maziar Kandelous, UC Davis
  • Nitrogen Fertilization in Central Valley Crops: Answering the Question “Are we Doing it Right?” – Parry Klassen, East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition

ABC has long been a research-based organization and continues to support traditional research and sustainability initiatives in many ways. Today, a greater emphasis is placed on the innovative almond farming practices, including groundwater recharge, required to meet the future needs of the California almond community and all California agriculture, as well as the consumer, the community, and the planet.

Learn more about the Almond Board’s commitment to sustainable water resources, and read about the ABC’s partnerships with Sustainable Conservation, UC Davis, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that help explore the potential of California’s one million acres of almond orchards to recharge Central Valley groundwater.

Groundwater recharge on almond acreage has the potential to return water to underground aquifers through managed flooding with seasonal floodwaters.


1California Almond Sustainability Program definition: 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, safe food product.