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United States

Compliance with California and U.S. regulatory requirements for almond production is essential, and goes hand-in-hand with understanding the U.S. market environment.


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Market Overview

  • #1 ag export from California
  • #1 US specialty crop export
  • Almost 100% of U.S. almond production is in California
  • 80% of global production
  • Among top 3 California crops (volume and value)
  • 30% domestic, 70% export
  • Approximately 7,600 growers and 100 handlers
  • Over 91% family farms and 74% 100 acres or less
  • 104,000 jobs generated

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Key Issues

Air Quality

California almonds are harvested by shaking the crop to the ground where it dries naturally in the sun. ABC provides tools to California almond growers based on ABC-funded research on ways to reduce harvest dust to improve air quality.  Also, the almond industry is exploring new off-ground harvest techniques that would involve catching nuts before they reach the ground; further reducing dust at harvest.   

Water Quality

California almond industry is committed to improving water quality. Orchard practices that minimize offsite (ground and surface water) movement of nitrates are a focus of almond industry research.  University of California research has demonstrated nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) for almonds of 70-85%, making almonds among the most efficient nitrogen using crop. * Typical NUE in other crops is 50% or less.

* Muhammad, et. al. Seasonal changes in nutrient content and concentrations in a mature deciduous tree species: Studies in almond. European Journal of Agronomy. 2015.

Water Availability

California almond growers are focused on responsible and efficient water use as water is often a limited resource,  The Irrigation Improvement Continuum, launched in 2017 and based on ABC research and expert advice, is a mechanism for growers to improve water use efficiency.  Water-saving technologies have helped growers reduce the amount of water it takes to grow a pound of almonds by 33% since 1994.*

* University of California. UC Drought Management. Feb. 2010. UN FAO. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 66 – Crop yield in response to water. 2012. ABC Almond Almanac 1990-94, 2000-14.

Prop. 65

Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, is a right-to-know law that California voters approved in 1986.  It is administered through the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). OEHHA maintains a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Proposition 65 does not ban or restrict the use of listed chemicals. Instead, it requires businesses to provide warnings prior to causing an exposure to a listed chemical if the compound does not meet the established “safe harbor” level.

Reference Materials & Memos
  • Pesticide MRLs (how pesticides are controlled in California)
  • OSHA