Sustainable Growing Overview

A vital, healthy almond industry is dependent on using management practices best adapted to the local conditions to sustain production and growth for the next generation of growers. Growing 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 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 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 practices. The modules have been designed by peer growers and handlers, university experts and other authorities, covering irrigation management, nutrient management, air quality, water 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 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 video for an introduction to the California Almond Sustainability Program.

Self-Assessments

CASP Self-Assessments

The Almond Sustainability Program is dependent on voluntary participation. Growers who participate help the 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, 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:


Experts 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: http://www.almonds.com/newsletters/outlook/industry-experts-featured-abc...

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 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

 

Experts 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.

Workshops begin at 8:00 a.m., and conclude by 12:30 p.m. (lunch complimentary).


Series 3: Energy Stewardship & Air Quality

Speakers will discuss the following topics:

  • Energy Management Services and Incentives for Agriculture
  • Air Quality Regulatory Updates and Programs for Almond Growers
  • Equipment and Operations for Reducing Harvest Dust
  • On-Site Renewable Energy Systems (Solar) - Pros & Cons

Dates and locations for Series 3 workshops are as follows:

  • April 23 - Bakersfield
  • April 24 - Visalia
  • May 1 - Woodland
  • May 6 - Merced
  • May 7 - Modesto

For more detailed information on Series 3 workshops, click here.


Series 2: Pest & Honey Bee Management

Speakers will discuss the following topics:

  • Insects and Mites - Effective Monitoring and Decision Making
  • Habitat Enhancement for Honey Bees
  • Almond Sustainability Program Highlights and Online Features

Dates and locations for Series 2 workshops are as follows:

  • March 18 - Bakersfield
  • March 19 - Visalia
  • April 6 - Oroville
  • April 7 - Woodland
  • April 9 - Modesto
  • April 14 - Merced

For more detailed information on Series 2 workshops, click here.


Series 1: Water & Nitrogen Management

Speakers will discuss the following topics:

  • Irrigation Distribution Uniformity from Design to Maintenance - Why Care?
  • Practical Irrigation Scheduling, Technology and Deficit Irrigation
  • Nitrogen Decision Support Based on UC Modeling and Management Plans

Dates and locations for Series 1 workshops are as follows:

  • February 26 - Oroville
  • February 27 - Woodland
  • March 5 - Modesto
  • March 10 - Merced
  • March 12 - Visalia
  • March 13 - Bakersfield

For more detailed information on Series 1 workshops, click here.


 

Featuring new CASP modules: Financial Management, Ecosystem Management and Workplace and Communities. Bring your laptop or tablet, if interested in completing assessments online.

Workshop Presentations

Series 1: Water & Nitrogen Management

Series 2: Pest & Honey Bee Management

Series 3: Air & Energy Stewardship