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North San Joaquin Valley Earns High AA Rating to Create Tree Nut Biomass Industries

AA rating means the region is filled with biomanufacturing opportunities because of available woody and nut tree biomass.


The almond industry and the innovative bioeconomy in the North San Joaquin Valley got a boost to develop businesses that would create new products made from almond wood, hulls and shells with a AA rating for a Bioeconomy Development Opportunity Zone.

The area, called a BDO Zone for short, is centered in Modesto and is a partnership among the Almond Board of California (ABC), BEAM Circular, which is a Modesto area non-profit that partners with private business and public entities to develop a bioeconomy, Stanislaus County, and Ecostrat. ABC and Beam funded the application for the BDO assessment.

The BDO Zone Initiative, a program to certify and rate regions for the prospects and risks for biomanufacturing opportunities, issued the high AA rating because of the availability of orchard biomass, nut tree shells and almond hulls as well as the large number of almond processors in the region. In addition, the BDO Zone has easy access to create partnerships in Silicon Valley and other tech and innovation driven areas. The BDO Zone Initiative is part of Ecostrat, a non-profit with a goal of boosting bioenergy, biochemical and biofuel development in North America.

The AA rating, “is a testament to our region’s unique positioning for global leadership in the bioeconomy,” said Karen Warner, BEAM Circular’s CEO. “Local communities here are proactively investing in the infrastructure, partnerships and innovation that will allow us to grow world-class bioindustrial manufacturing facilities in the heart of the most productive agricultural state in America. This region is ready to support and scale the future of sustainable bioproduction.”

New businesses using biomass could add new markets for the almond industry as well as further the industry’s continuing efforts on environmental stewardship.

“With this rating and the research investments made by the almond industry, we stand ready to partner with companies in bio-based industries,” said Josette Lewis, ABC’s vice president and chief scientific officer. “Almond biomass is uniquely concentrated with well established transport systems.”

Jordan Solomon, chair of the BDO Zone Initiative, said the region has more than a million tons of underutilized biomass available for projects.

“This first AA BDO Zone rating for tree nut biomass underscores the high level of readiness for biomanufacturing in the North San Joaquin Valley,” Solomon said. “The zone offers very low-risk supply chains and is positioned as a prime target for top-tier and innovative bio-based projects. The collaborative efforts of organizations dedicated to realizing this BDO Zone highlight the region's visionary approach and the bold stance it takes in the global bioeconomy.”

“Stanislaus County is proud to be investing in the growth of our region’s bioproduction leadership,” said Mani Grewal, chair of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. “We are building upon our historic strengths in agriculture and manufacturing to grow the bio-based industries of the future. We welcome collaboration with new projects that create quality jobs and advance the economic vitality of our community.”

The full BDO Zone rating for North San Joaquin Valley is here or visit

For More Information:

About the Almond Board of California
California almonds make life better by what we grow and how we grow. The Almond Board of California promotes natural, wholesome and quality almonds through leadership in strategic market development, innovative research, and accelerated adoption of industry best practices on behalf of the more than 7,600 almond farmers and processors in California, most of whom are multi-generational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

About BEAM Circular
BEAM Circular is building a vibrant regional ecosystem for the circular bioeconomy in California’s agricultural heartland. Anchored in the North San Joaquin Valley, the non-profit organization facilitates public-private collaboration through the BioEconomy, Agriculture, & Manufacturing (BEAM) Initiative to scale the most promising innovations in bioindustrial manufacturing and to advance solutions that support economic and environmental outcomes for local communities. The Stanislaus 2030 Investment Blueprint, and Stanislaus County provided seed funding to launch BEAM in January 2023. For more information visit

About the BDO Zone Initiative
The BDO Zone Initiative, part of Ecostrat, certifies regional readiness for bio-based manufacturing, creates global connections with project developers, and ignites an influx of clean energy opportunities. A BDO Zone rating is an internationally recognized standards-based technical risk assessment of biomass feedstock, supply chain, and infrastructure risk with respect to the development potential of new biofuel, renewable chemical, biogas, and bioproduct plants. Investment grade ratings attract new bio-based manufacturing plants to the areas where they are most likely to succeed-- and create jobs. For more information contact or visit

About Ecostrat
Ecostrat is the North American leader in supplying biomass due diligence for biofuels, renewable chemicals, biogas, and bio-product project development and finance For more information visit

About the North San Joaquin Valley
The North San Joaquin Valley is the ideal location for scaling globally competitive biomanufacturing. The NSJV is a tri-county region of 1.6 million people consisting of Merced, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties, located in the heart of the most productive agricultural land in the United States. A global leader in large-scale agricultural production and food processing, the region’s combination of existing manufacturing infrastructure and abundant biomass feedstocks are unparalleled. The NSJV’s proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area and regional centers of technology innovation gives it access to world-class biotechnology and advanced manufacturing innovation.