Sustainable Growing Overview

A vital, healthy almond industry is dependent on using management practices best adapted to the local conditions to sustain almond production and growth for the next generation of growers. Growing almond trees requires a longer-term vision, and sustainable farming practices have long been used by California’s almond growers, or the industry would not have thrived as it has for multiple generations.

California Almond Sustainability Program

The California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) follows a natural progression of some 40 years of research efforts by the Almond Board of California (ABC) to help almond growers be good stewards of the land. The ABC research program was initiated to develop tools for almond growers to reduce populations of and resulting damage from their primary insect pest: navel orangeworm. An integrated pest management program evolved from the research; as a result, navel orangeworm damage was reduced significantly. The successful implementation by almond growers relied on grower education.

The California Almond Sustainability Program is based on knowledge gained from research and experience. It uses a self-assessment process to document almond growers’ and handlers’ thoughtfulness and achievements in adopting cost-effective, environmentally and socially responsible farming practices. The modules have been designed by peer growers and handlers, university experts and other authorities, covering efficient irrigation management, nutrient management, air quality, groundwater quality, energy efficiency, ecosystem, financial management and pest management. Participation is voluntary; assessment information is maintained in a database and individual responses are confidential.

The program provides additional value to participating almond growers and handlers through personalized sustainability reports, enabling them to compare their practices to those of their peers. Moreover, a grower- and handler-friendly online assessment and reporting system is available, which makes providing feedback easier.

Watch this brief "Join the California Almond Sustainability Program" video for an introduction to the California Almond Sustainability Program.


CASP Self-Assessments

The Almond Sustainability Program is dependent on voluntary participation. Growers who participate help the almond industry by providing the data to educate buyers and regulators and the public that almond growers and handlers are good stewards of the land and are considerate of neighbors and the consuming public. At the same time, it is an opportunity for a grower to reflect on the management of his or her operation.

By participating in this process, growers and handlers will be equipped to respond to the increasing focus of major almond buyers and regulators on the issue of sustainability. As a result, the Almond Board of California will be able to communicate sustainable almond farming in terms of practices that make practical and economic sense for our crop, geography and community.

To participate, almond growers can either complete the self-assessment online or take part in a workshop.

The results from these assessments, which are recorded collectively, are guiding research, education and outreach in the almond community and help to identify opportunities for additional improvement.

Currently available Almond Sustainability modules and modules under development are:

orkplaceExperts including farm advisors and Almond Board researchers will share the latest news and research at three consecutive workshops in the northern, central and southern almond growing regions. The first workshop at each location will focus on nutrients and water, the second on bee care and pest management and the final workshop will feature air quality and energy efficiency. - See more at:

Sustainability Program Online

Through the online system, you can now:

  • Complete modules at your convenience in the privacy of your home or office.
  • Apply for one continuing education unit (CEU) from California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) by completing the Pest Management module.
  • Access your personal grower report to compare your growing practices to state averages of other growers who have filled out assessments.
  • Automatically fill in fields for new orchards that are managed similarly to those orchards that you have assessed in the past.
  • Complete the Nitrogen Modeling Calculator to identify and maximize the use efficiency of nitrogen in the orchard.

The various modules ask growers questions concerning their current practices as compared to a set of “best practices” identified by a committee of almond growers and other experts. All individual grower comments and responses are confidential. 

As almond growers fill out modules, at the same time they will be presented with related educational information on alternative practices that could increase their efficiency and/or decrease their environmental footprint, improving their bottom line and meeting environmental regulations.

Cycle of Continuous Improvement

As each module is completed and submitted, a report is generated and returned to the participant with the results of the self-assessment, a comparison of that grower’s performance with other participants as a percentage, and suggestions for improvement. Reports are strictly confidential and are shared only with the participant who filled out the module.


Getting Involved

CASP Workshops

A three-part series of sustainability workshops, part of the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP), will bring forth tools, techniques and strategies to assist industry members with meeting current needs and future opportunities. 

Series 2: "In-the-Orchard" Weed Identification and Management - Click here to view flyer

  • May 10 - Arbuckle
    • ​Nickels Soil Lab: Green Bay Road (Between Wildwood and California)| Arbuckle, CA 95912
  • May 11 - Turlock
    • ​Genzoli Ranch: 1130 N. Commons Road | Turlock, CA 95380
  • May 12 - Bakersfield
    • Southern Star Ranch: 14400 Panama Lane | Bakersfield, CA 93311

      Topics will include:

  • Using CASP online tools to meet your growing needs
    • ​Nitrogen calculator, mapping, irrigation
  • ​Hands-on identification of weeds and implications for management
    • Identifying live weed specimens in pots and associated management options
  • ​Orchard demonstration and discussion: Weed monitoring and record-keeping
    • Orchard tour and discussion around recommended weed monitoring and record-keeping

Workshops begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude by 1:00 p.m. Expert speakers include leadership from University of California Cooperative Extension Weed Specialists and Almond Board staff and consultants. All workshops are free to attend and include a complimentary lunch. Attendees are encouraged to bring laptops, tablets or other electronic devices to demo tools onsite. Please RSVP to Rebecca at or 209-343-3245.

Stay tuned for dates and locations for the third and final series: Series 3: Dust Management, Renewable Energy and Incentives

Workshop Presentations

Series 1: Water & Nitrogen Management

Series 2: Pest & Honey Bee Management

Series 3: Air & Energy Stewardship

Funding Opportunities

Grants Available to Experiment with New Irrigation Practices

Grants of up to $20,000 are available to fund experiments on your farm to see if new irrigation practices could fit in your operation. The grower-led projects are supported and guided by a Technical Advisor — either a University of California irrigation specialist or other technical expert. Individual growers may apply for up to $20,000, and a group of three or more growers may apply for up to $25,000. Both your operation and the environment can be improved through these experiments. Results are shared with other producers. Read more about this exciting opportunity!

Overview for WSARE Farmer Research Education Proposals

Application Template for WSARE Farm Research Education Proposals

Grant Opportunities List

SWEEP Grants to Improve Irrigation Efficiency and Reduce Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)

2016 Speciality Crop Block Grant Program Workshops

During the first two weeks of November, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will present three workshops and two webinars on the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) competitive solicitation process. Workshops will feature an overview of the program, a review of the concept proposal questions, a live demonstration of the online application system, helpful grant writing tips and more. All prospective SCBGP applicants are encouraged to participate. View the full press release.

Additional Funding Opportunities

USDA Expands Microloans to Help Farmers Purchase Farmland and Improve Property

New Air Quality Incentives for Nut Farmers to Adopt Low-Emission Harvesters