Sustainably Speaking — Sustainability Program Aims to Increase Grower Participation in 2012


The Almond Board of California has set forth an ambitious goal in 2012 to triple participation in the California Almond Sustainability Program to 600 growers through workshop attendance and completion of the five sustainability modules.

The Almond Board and SureHarvest, along with partners including UC Cooperative Extension and Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), are collaborating to design and implement innovative workshop formats for attracting and providing value to growers beginning this November.
 
“Through grower participation in the program, we have collected a lot of data not only about what growers are doing related to sustainability, but in what areas growers would like more technical support and information to support continuous improvement,” said Dr. Joe Browde of SureHarvest. “This year, we are designing our workshops with more focus on providing growers with technical information from researchers and industry experts that can increase profits through improved efficiencies or production.”
 
Two upcoming workshops focus on completing the self-assessment, coupled with expert presentations on almond production topics such as irrigation management. The first two of the year will be held on Nov. 18 in Yuba City and Nov. 29 in Woodland. A self-assessment workshop will also be held on Dec. 6 in Modesto, prior to the annual Almond Conference.
 
Look for information about workshops by visiting the Almond Board website. For additional information or questions, email sustainability@almondboard.com.
 
This year’s Almond Conference is another opportunity to learn more about what is involved in participating in the sustainability self-assessment process. On Thursday, Dec. 8, at 1:40 p.m., an interactive session will give audience members a feel for participating in the California Almond Sustainability Program. Grower participants will use handheld remote controls to answer questions about their practices taken from the pest-management self-assessment module. The session will allow the audience to see the cumulative results and discuss specific practices with an Extension entomologist.
 
“By sharing their sustainability story in a confidential forum, growers are providing the industry with cumulative real-performance information that can be demonstrated to public policy influencers and buyers of California Almonds,” said ABC’s Gabriele Ludwig.
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