Sneak Preview: The 45th Annual Almond Conference

Posted November 29th, 2017

Almond Board of California’s annual Almond Conference is just around the corner! With pre-registration numbers at record highs, almond farmers and processors will be spending the next few days pondering which of the more than 50 sessions offered are best for them.

Because California Almond farmers regularly adopt new technology and practices for continuous improvement, The Almond Conference is the perfect place to learn and share the best and most efficient uses of time and resources.

From bee health, to irrigation, to soil quality, and so much more, the sessions at the conference will arm the almond community with information that l benefits California Almonds for years to come. A few interesting session options include:

Finding In-Orchard Uses for Almond Coproducts

Can almond coproducts help keep troublesome pests out of California Almond orchards?

“Biosolarization uses natural mechanisms to create soil conditions lethal to pests,” said Christopher Simmons, PhD, UC Davis, who is conducting research trials to determine if almond hulls and shells are compatible with biosolarization technology. Biosolarization uses natural materials (like almond hulls and shells), water, tarps and the power of the sun to naturally deplete the soil of oxygen, making it inhospitable to key soil pests.

almond hulls and shells coproducts

Simmons and his colleagues will be discussing their preliminary research findings and will preview implications for future crop growth and orchard impact.

The presentation, titled “Almond Biomass: The Real, Weird and Wonderful Opportunities for Greater Utilization,” will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center in room 308-309 from 10:45-11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, December 5.

Genetic Sequencing for Enhanced Food Safety

The newest development in maintaining food safety – that could find a place with almonds – is getting its start at a fundamental level: DNA.

Due to the advancements in DNA research in recent decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been able expand its genomic research and use whole genome sequencing as a tool to identify food contamination, inform regulation, and better understand specific bacteria that may be associated with specific foods – including almonds.

“The precision of whole genome sequencing gives the industry more finite detail than we’ve had before to help detect potential outbreaks and maintain nut integrity,” said Tim Birmingham, director of quality assurance and industry services for Almond Board of California.The Almond Conference agenda

Birmingham will be moderating a panel that includes Dr. Maria Hoffman, a genomics research microbiologist with the FDA, who will discuss this technology as a practical tool and its impact on the future of almond processing.

The session, titled “Technology in the Food Safety World: Tools such as Whole Genome Sequencing – Friend or Foe?”, will take place 3:00-4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5 in room 314 at the Sacramento Convention Center. 

For a listing of sessions at The Almond Conference, December 5-7 in Sacramento, CA, check out the full agenda. And for those who can’t attend, learn more about almond innovation and sustainability by following this blog or visiting AlmondSustainability.org.

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Events