Turlock Journal Wins Award for Story on Almond Grower

Posted May 19th, 2015

Chuck Dirkse

Congratulations to the Turlock Journal for it First Place award in Agricultural Reporting in the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s prestigious annual “Better Newspapers” contest. 

The Journal’s peers honored the paper for an article by Elizabeth Arakelian on the resourceful irrigation and farming practices of California almond growers like Chuck Dirkse of La Mancha Orchards in Denair.

Dirkse had a prior career in the computer software industry and was a latecomer to almond growing.  In the article, he says his participation in the Almond Board of California’s one-year Almond Industry Leadership Program brought him up to speed quickly on advanced farming techniques, industry trends and leadership, learning from the experience of many other growers. From there, he was drawn to the Almond Board’s Almond Sustainability Program1 where he learned to evaluate his farming practices by assessing nutrient management, air quality, irrigation management, energy efficiency and pest management. 

The reporter noted that Dirkse is among a group of farmers investing in technology to mitigate the loss of excess water by installing soil moisture monitoring equipment linked to an IPad to allow for precise irrigation of his trees with less chance of water waste.

“Once you start understanding what sustainability means, you think more about it, Dirkse says in the article. “ It encompasses everything in your business – your employees’ well-being, the wellbeing of the environment – it all revolves around sustainability.”

Read the full article over at the Journal’s website.

1. California Almond Sustainability Program definition: Sustainable almond farming utilizes production practices that are economically viable and are based upon scientific research, common sense and a respect for the environment, neighbors and employees. The result is a plentiful, nutritious, safe food product.