Almond Board of California Election Under Way

Almond Industry Is Urged to Vote for Grower Positions on Almond Board of California

News Release

Voting began Jan. 31 to select two independent grower member and alternate positions and one independent handler member and alternate position on the Almond Board of California (ABC) Board of Directors. These positions will serve terms beginning on March 1.

Candidates for the independent grower position are:

 

Position One, Member (One-year term):

Brad Klump, Escalon (petitioner)

 

Position One, Alternate:

Mike Mason, Wasco (petitioner)

Position Two, Member (Three-year term):

Brian Wahlbrink, Waterford (incumbent)

Dave DeFrank, Fresno (petitioner)

 

Position Two, Alternate:

Bill Harp, Bakersfield (incumbent)

Candidates for the independent handler positions are:

 

Position Three, Member (One-year term):

Micah Zeff, Modesto (incumbent)

Position Three, Alternate:

Jonathan Hoff, Denair (petitioner)

Ballots and instructions have been mailed to all independent growers whose names are on file with ABC. The Almond Board must receive ballots by Feb. 16, for them to be counted. If any independent grower or handler does not receive a ballot, one may be obtained by contacting Bunnie Ibrahim, senior analyst, Government Affairs, ABC, at (209) 343-3228.

As a governing body for the industry, the ABC Board of Directors is composed of five handler and five grower representatives who set policy and recommend budgets in several major areas, including production research, public relations and advertising, nutrition research, statistical reporting, quality control, and food safety.

2019-02-05T16:31:52-08:00February 5th, 2019|

Hershey’s Chocolate Loves California Almonds

Almonds and Chocolate: The Perfect Duo

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

You can find a piece of Hershey’s Chocolate with almonds almost anywhere. The delicious pairing makes for the perfect treat! Karen Ocamb, a supply quality auditor for Hershey’s, is working to make sure the relationship between the almond industry and her company remains sustainable and beneficial.

After visiting the Almond Board Conference in Sacramento, Ocamb reported the good things the board is doing to make the partnership a success.

“My perspective of the Almond Board is a really good, beneficial kind of facility that takes the almonds and gives us a better perspective of what should be done out there,” she explained.

Ocamb also knows the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship between Hershey’s and the almond industry, particularly on the consumer’s behalf. Her goal is to ensure that the communication between the two stay open, in order to keep improving the quality of product for the customer.

“Almonds are a great source of protein, so for the company, blending the chocolate and the almonds together is an essential piece of giving something to the consumer that is beneficial to them, but also sweet,” she said.

2018-12-21T16:40:09-08:00December 21st, 2018|

Almond Alliance Fights for Growers

Almond Alliance Shares Grower Interest with Almond Board

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California almond growers are well represented by the Almond Alliance. Elaine Trevino, president of the Modesto-based Almond Alliance, explained the difference between the Almond Alliance and the Almond Board to California Ag Today recently.

“We have a very different structure,” she said. Almond Board’s budget is based on a mandatory assessment. They cannot do use their dollars for advocacy or political involvement. And so the Almond Alliance was created to help fill that void.”

The Almond Alliance is a membership-based organization. One big issue that California almond growers are facing is water allocation. It is very important to understand federal and state in terms of oversight.

Elaine Trevino

“Water is so complex, and right when you think you understand it, you realize that you don’t,” Trevino said.

She thinks their congressional delegation has worked very hard to fight for the agriculture industry. They call it a water fix.

The water infrastructure in California was designed when the population was one-third of what it is today.

“Until some of those hard discussions of growth and development and storage happen, it’s just going to be continual band-aids and fixes, and it definitely needs to be something much more,” Trevino said.

This is going to take some real leadership and a lot of people have been working very hard at this.

“I’m a big supporter of DeeDee D’Adamo, a member of the California State Water Resources Control Board, because she continues to fight for ag. She is very knowledgeable, especially when there is a water shortage,” Trevino said.

“Until we can start having some of those discussions about above ground water storage and general water use for the state of California, we’re gonna just be putting band-aids on really big problems,” she explained.

2018-12-12T15:15:38-08:00December 12th, 2018|

Irrigation Improvement Continuum Part of Almond Board’s CASP

California Almond Sustainability Program Offers Big Help to Growers

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The Almond Board of California has an Irrigation Improvement Continuum, which is part of the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP). California Ag Today recently spoke with Spencer Cooper, senior manager of irrigation and water efficiency with the Almond Board of California, about the program.

CASP

Spencer Cooper, Almond Board

The Irrigation Improvement module allows growers to move through from the most basic to the most advanced.

“We’re key on growers understanding the fundamentals and foundation of irrigation management practices,” Cooper said. “The more we can get out there with growers understanding the basics, the more we can advance and continue to be progressive and leaders in the industry.”

Cooper said if growers sign up for CASP at SustainableAlmondGrowing.org and complete all nine modules, growers will receive a copy of the Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum, a 154-page of soup to nuts on irrigation management that has taken more then 40 years of research that almond growers have funded.

2018-08-10T15:26:54-07:00August 10th, 2018|

Measuring Crop Protection Material Tolerances

Biological Tolerances May Be Needed

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

California Ag Today recently spoke with Gabrielle Ludwig, Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs for the Almond Board of California, about the issue of crop protection in almonds. Almonds are the number one specialty crop export. Almonds also remain the number one nut in global production and are California’s number two agricultural crop.

Ludwig explained that pesticides are used and necessary in today’s almond production. Pesticide residue is a concern for not only domestic production, but also for international distribution. And with biological products such as friendly fungi and bacteria, the biological industry noted that they are safe and free of residue tolerance.

“I would say for this industry, there’s a couple of things going on in parallel, and they don’t have exactly the same problems. So one is you have the sector where it is still a chemical that you’re applying, but it may not have very much toxicity or the residues are, for whatever reason, vanished,” Ludwig said.

“In the United States, we can get an exemption from a tolerance, where EPA has looked at and said there’s no health risk, and there’s no need to set a maximum residue limit. For those products then the question becomes: Do you have the same standards in other markets?” Ludwig asked.

“And again, one example is that the EU does have an exemption for tolerance process, but they don’t always have the same standards so EU is more likely to set a number than United States. And we have also seen examples where the United States is setting a number and the rest of the world says there’s no need to set a number because it’s a natural occurring compound.”

“So if you look at a pheromone, which falls into a natural occurring arena, there, you’re not even spraying the trees so it’s a totally different ball game,” Ludwig said.

“With biologicals, again, it’s a different ball game. You still need to have someone say, look at it, say it’s safe; because it’s going to be exempt from a tolerance.”

“But currently, there’s no testing for it,” Ludwig said. “With DNA technology, it probably wouldn’t be that hard to start testing for biological products’ lack of residue, especially ones that go on the produce that is eaten.”

“So again, what we’re saying here is, don’t rely on the fact you can’t be tested for it because we did that in the conventional pesticide arena and it’s caught up with us,” Ludwig said.

2021-05-12T11:05:14-07:00December 11th, 2017|

Almond Achievement Award Nominations Being Accepted

Deadline for Almond Achievement Award Nominations is Oct. 19

News Release

Since 2011, the Almond Achievement Award has honored an industry or allied-industry member who has added value to the California Almond industry through long-term service, contributions or innovations.

Nominations for the Almond Achievement Award are being accepted now. Winners must:

  • Be an individual with long-standing and direct involvement with the California Almond industry.
  • Demonstrate lasting impact on and commitment to the California Almond industry.
  • Have a record of proven service to the visibility and growth of the industry.
  • Contribute to California Almonds becoming a Crop of Choice and supporting California Almonds becoming the Nut of Choice.

Almond Board of California’s (ABC’s) Industry Services Sub-Committee will evaluate the candidates and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors. The 2017 recipient will be selected by ABC’s Board of Directors and recognized during the gala dinner at The Almond Conference by ABC President and CEO Richard Waycott.

The names of the award winners are placed on the wall of the Nonpareil Conference Room at the Almond Board of California office.

Nominating an almond industry professional for the 2017 Almond Achievement Award is easy. Simply email Jenny Nicolau (jnicolau@almondboard.com) and state your nominee’s name and company, as well as your reasons for the nomination. Applications must be received on or before October 19 for consideration.

2017-10-02T16:40:01-07:00October 2nd, 2017|

Almond Board CEO Talks About Group’s Mission

An Ongoing Series on the Value of the Almond Industry

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Because it takes a while to harvest more than one million acres, the 2017 almond harvest is still going strong. The Modesto-based Almond Board of California is a federal marketing order charged to market those almonds both domestically and globally. A board composed of 10 grower members oversees committees focused on production research, almond quality and food safety, nutrition research and the environment, just to name a few.

Richard Waycott is president and CEO of the Almond Board. He noted that he’s proud to be part of this massively growing industry. “It’s just been a wonderful pleasure for me, and it’s such a great career opportunity to be part of this industry and try and have vision and work with my board of directors on agreeing on that vision and then with the great staff and all of the industry volunteers we have to implement the vision,” he said.

Waycott is suitably biased toward the almond industry. “We do see almonds as being a crop that should be grown in California. It’s producing a product that should be consumed more by humans,” Waycott said.

“Our efforts to farm more sustainably in the future, than we do today, and to provide for more automation in the industry and better grower practices, et cetera, is what our mission is. I think we’re very much on a road to executing that in a very responsible and an innovative way,” he said

This is part of a series on the big value of the California almond industry.

2017-09-25T16:30:34-07:00September 25th, 2017|

Worker Safety During Nut Harvest – Part 1

Nut Harvest Safety –  Part 1

By Patrick Cavanaugh Farm News Director

Safety is very important, especially when working with heavy machinery. As most farm accidents and fatalities involve machinery, farm safety begins with educating and preparing workers for emergency situations, and making them aware of hazards. California Ag Today interviewed Paul Williams, a senior loss prevention consultant with the State Compensation Insurance Fund, regarding nut harvest safety.

“The hazards are primarily with walnuts and almonds. They tend to stir up more dust in the harvest process,” Williams said. “There are respiratory issues that employees need to be protected from.”

“There’s also a need for hearing protection with any type of farm equipment. A lot of times, you’re sitting there all day at elevated levels of noise – there’s potential for hearing loss. Hearing loss is often overlooked because it’s slow acting, but it can have a huge effect on workers lives down the road,” Williams explained. “It’s important to be aware of it as a factor, and we talking about it as one season, probably not going to be any noticeable … you do that for 20 and 30 seasons, and you’re not able to understand your grandchildren when they talk to you. It’s one of those things that sneaks up on you.”

Williams said there are also a lot of safety issues with farm equipment and transportation. “You’re driving a slow-moving vehicle down a county road at 10 miles an hour, and you’ve got impatient drivers who want to pass you. Many drivers are not paying attention at all and they rear-end your equipment,” Williams said. That happened in Kingsburg a couple weeks ago.

This is always a danger whenever you’re transporting harvesting equipment or any kind of farm equipment on a county road. “It’s always nice if you have a pilot car; it’s always nice if you have a truck behind with their flashers on, trying to control traffic and periodically being a good neighbor and pulling over and letting traffic get by you when that’s possible,” Williams said.

For more information on safety on the farm, go to: http://www.agsafe.org/

2017-09-02T23:57:46-07:00August 7th, 2017|

Recharging Aquifers Using Floodwaters

 

Floodwaters Could Recharge Aquifer

By Brian German, Associate Broadcaster

Last October, the Almond Board of California announced new partnerships with Sustainable Conservation, Land IQ and UC Davis researchers to look at ways floodwaters could recharge Central Valley groundwater aquifers. Daniel Mountjoy is the Director of Resource Stewardship for Sustainable Conservation, an organization helping to solve some of the challenges facing our land, air and, most importantly, water.

Mountjoy explained the idea behind the partnership: “The concept is, ‘Can we capture the available peak flows when they’re available from surface supply and recharge the groundwater so that it’s available during dry years when surface flows are under stress from environmental needs and other demands for it?’ ”

The thought is to use surface irrigation water during times of availability in order to flood almond orchards to recharge the aquifers.  This would not only help growers during times of drought, but also benefit those with limited access to surface irrigation.  Mountjoy has found some success in their research.  The initial focus will be on sandy soils, where the infiltration is really fast.

The concept behind the effort has already shown a level of success on a smaller scale.  “In 2011, Don Cameron at Terranova Farms in Western Fresno County captured 3,000 acre feet of water on 1,000 acres of sandy farm land. He infiltrated on pistachios, grapes and alfalfa fields in some fallow land during winter, as well as well into June and July on some of those crops,” Mountjoy said.

Partnerships like these are needed as California begins to fall under the full implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  “What we’re doing with the Almond Board right now is looking for sites in the Sacramento Valley, because there’s more likelihood that we’re going to have water supply there to test the concept. Both UC Davis and Sustainable Conservation are out working with growers,” Mountjoy said.

UC Davis will be working on the crop health aspect, while Sustainable Conservation will be looking into how much water can be put on different crops and what types of management compatibility there is with the crop.  Once a significant amount of data is collected, the next step in the process will be looking towards how to further incentivize the method for growers.  “Any time you recharge an aquifer, it becomes everyone’s aquifer. There’s still not a system in place to credit landowners for the benefit they are providing to their neighbors and to other irrigation pumpers,” Mountjoy said.

There are over one million acres of almonds stretching roughly 500 miles from Red Bluff to the south end of the San Joaquin Valley. Nearly two-thirds of that land is considered moderately good or better in its ability to percolate water into the underlying aquifers.  “We have to prove the viability that you can actually do this on farm land across extensive acres, because that’s really the cheapest solution, rather than buying land, dedicating it to recharge basins and managing it that way without production of crops,” Mountjoy said.

2017-01-24T15:09:38-08:00January 24th, 2017|

Almond Sustainability a Priority

Documenting Almond Sustainability

By Jessie Theisman, Associate Editor

Sustainable almond farming utilizes production practices that are economically viable and are based upon scientific research, common sense, respect for the environment, neighbors and employees. The result is a plentiful, nutritious and safe food. That’s what the Almond Board of California is working to achieve along with Joe Browde from SureHarvest.

Joe Browde, of Sure Harvest, Heads up the Almond Sustainability Program for the Almond Board of California

Joe Browde, of Sure Harvest, Heads up the Almond Sustainability Program for the Almond Board of California

The almond sustainability program uses grower submitted production information to demonstrate the sustainability of the almond industry.

“Some of the benefits have been consistent over time. At the ease of the program, folks can more readily participate in a user-friendly mechanism,” Browde said. “They’ll be able to look at the practices, how they compare to their peers around the state, and see what they can do to improve their performance. Mostly economically, as well as for the environment. The more participation, the more value for the almond board that can tell the industry story.”

“What we want to do is get folks engaged. We want to let them ensure that they see the value individually as well as see the greater value for the whole industry across the state” Browde said.

“Documentation is the name of the game going forward. They just have to get out there and tell their story,” said Browde, who also touched on how sustainability in California isn’t the exception. “It is the rule, and we find the more we look at practices, we’re actually amazed at times at the performance of almond growers across the state.”

“We want to make it as easy as possible, but we also want to make it valid at the end of the day and ground-truth things. It’s going in the right direction. We’re pleased, the almond board’s pleased and we’re going to make a difference,” Browde said.

2017-01-19T16:22:52-08:00January 19th, 2017|
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