NASS Predicts Another Record-Breaking Almond Crop

2019 Crop Predicted to be 2.50 Billion Pounds

News Release

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is predicting a record California almond crop for the upcoming production year. According to the NASS 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast issued recently, California almond orchards are expected to produce 2.50 billion pounds of nuts this year, up 8.69% from last year’s 2.30 billion-pound crop.  (1)

This forecast comes just weeks after NASS released the 2018 California Almond Acreage Report, which estimated total almond acres for 2018 were up 2% from 2017 at 1.39 million acres. Bearing acres—orchards mature enough to produce a crop—were reported at 1.09 million acres, up 6% from the previous year. Looking ahead, NASS reported preliminary bearing acreage for 2019 at 1.17 million acres, up 7.3% from 2018.  (2)

Richard Waycott, Almond Board President, and CEO

The first of two reports for the upcoming crop, the Subjective Forecast is based on opinions obtained from randomly selected almond growers located throughout the state via a phone survey conducted in April and May. NASS asked growers to indicate their total almond yield per acre from last year and expected yield for the current year based on field observations. The sample of growers interviewed is grouped by size of operation, and different individuals are interviewed each year, allowing all growers to be represented. NASS then combines the yield estimates obtained from each grower and extrapolates the information to arrive at the numbers reported in the Subjective Forecast.

While the Subjective Forecast provides early estimates of the upcoming crop after it is set, NASS’s 2019 California Almond Objective Report will provide a more precise estimate as it uses a more statistically rigorous methodology to determine yield. The report’s data is based on actual almond counts and measurements gathered from over 850 orchards throughout the state and includes the weight, size, and grade of the average almond sample broken down by both growing district and variety.

The California Almond Objective Report will be released on July 3 at 11:50 a.m. PDT. NASS conducts the Objective Report—the Subjective Forecast and the Acreage Report—in order to provide the California almond industry with the data needed to make informed business decisions.

1 USDA-NASS. 2019 California Almond Subjective Forecast. May 2019.

2 USDA-NASS. 2018 California Almond Acreage Report. April 2019. 

2019-05-20T15:08:50-07:00May 20th, 2019|

Farmers Encouraged to Fill Out Ag Census

2017 Ag Census Under Way

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke with Scot Rumburg, the Nevada State Statistician for the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. He stressed the importance of the 2017 Ag Census, which has recently been mailed out to anyone who makes a $1,000 or more from any agricultural enterprise.

“USDA has mailed four million copies of the census that will cover what we suspect is about three million farms. We have an over coverage of about one million trying to find everybody, trying to turn over every rock,” Rumburg said.

The Ag Census is conducted once every five years. The census is based off of any ag commodity, from bees and honey to crops, fruit and nuts to livestock of any type. If you produce or have the potential to produce $1,000, the statistic service wants to hear from you. There are people out there planting permanent plantings that are not up and running yet, but they are still considered.

The census is one of the only ways that the USDA can collect data.

“We have to try and get agriculture across the entire U.S. We do a lot of surveys between the five-year census,” Rumburg explained. “This is the only census where we go out and find every agricultural operator in the U.S., and it provides numbers and data that we cannot get on a regular survey.”

“There are people that want many different kinds of data to provide a near complete picture of what is going on in agriculture at nearly every level. The census is all- encompassing,” he said.

Many of the paper censuses arriving to farmers will direct them to an online digital census, by using a code that is given with the census. Operators are encouraged to use the online version.

The 2017 Ag Census is a reflection on 2017; it is not a future forecast. The census asks age, ethnicity, veteran status and many other items that give more information on American farms and farmers.

All farmers and those related to farms, including beekeeping operations, are encouraged to complete the census.

“Money for conservation programs and many other areas to be distributed at the national level is based on this data. It’s important for every operation to get the funding at, a minimum, the state level. All information is private and will not be disclosed to anyone,” Rumburg said.

2021-05-12T11:05:14-07:00December 18th, 2017|

Another Record Season for Walnuts

Walnut Yield Could Continue to Increase Over Next Few Years

By Brian German, Associate Broadcaster

October was the peak of harvest for the state’s biggest tree nut crops: almonds, pistachios and walnuts. California growers have completed this year’s walnut harvest, and so far growers are pleased with the yields. Final statistics for California walnut production in 2016 will not be available until mid- to late-January 2017.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)’s 2015 estimate of 365 thousand walnut acres in California (of which 300 thousand were bearing acres), represents a 50 percent increase versus a decade ago, according to Dennis Balint. Balint, who just retired as longtime executive director of the Folsom-based California Walnut Board and CEO of the California Walnut Commission since 1995, became the new special assistant to the California Walnut Board on November 1, 2016.

Dennis-Balint, California Walnuts

Dennis-Balint, California Walnuts

Growers had a record walnut harvest last year, and this year looks even more promising. “This year’s crop estimate from USDA’s California Agricultural Statistic Service (CASS) is 670 thousand tons, an 11 percent increase over last year’s 603,000 tons. 

The NASS office in Sacramento, as relayed by Balint, reported this year’s walnut season began with a significant amount of winter moisture, along with an ample amount of chilling hours and average weather conditions during walnut bloom.  Springtime rain concerned some growers because of the increased chances of blight and any resulting damage is under assessment.

While overall weather conditions were advantageous for growers, results were varied. “If you’re in Reading or Modesto, or Visalia, different factors affected you: climates, your own horticultural practices, what varieties you’re growing, etc.,” said Balint.

The estimate of this year’s harvest is good news for growers who, not many years ago, were fortunate to harvest merely 300,000 tons. Even with the estimated record harvest, there are still close to 80,000 acres of younger, nonbearing walnut trees in the state. Balint commented, “As those acres mature and come into production over the next few years—all things being equal—California’s walnut harvest could potentially increase by another 30 to 40 thousand tons per year.”

california-walnut-boardBalint also reported the Walnut Board has four tests in the grocery marketplace to determine how to increase stores’ holiday inventory of walnuts. [EDITOR’S NOTE: For fans of inshell walnuts, buy your supply early and often. Inventory of inshell walnuts is not expected to extend beyond the holidays.]

As of November 1, 2016, board members of the California Walnut Industry appointed Michelle Mcneil Connelly, former senior marketing director, as executive director of the California Walnut Board and as CEO of the California Walnut Commission.


The California Walnut Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. The Board is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers. The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service California Field Office is operated in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

2016-11-17T13:33:58-08:00November 16th, 2016|

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Celebrates 100th Anniversary

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway recognizes the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture on its 100th Anniversary

House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway submitted the following remarks for the Congressional Record recognizing the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture on its 100th Anniversary.

Remarks as prepared:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 100th anniversary of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). NASDA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization which represents the commissioners, secretaries, and directors of agriculture from all fifty states and four U.S. territories. The State departments of agriculture have served not only the farmers and ranchers of America, but also American consumers for a significant portion of our nation’s history.CDFA LOGO

“NASDA is a highly effective association which serves to grow and enhance agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government, and stakeholders. These partnerships are apparent in the halls of almost every office building in the District of Columbia. I rely on the hard working men and woman in the Texas Department of Agriculture to provide me with perspectives on how federal policy is impacting boots on the ground agriculture. I’m sure my colleagues rely on their state department of agriculture in similar ways.

“NASDA is an active partner with the United States Department of Agriculture through a longstanding cooperative agreement to employ a nationwide network of enumerators in support of the mission of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The data collected through this partnership informs a broad spectrum of legislative and regulatory initiatives, including farm programs under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Agriculture which I have the honor to chair.

“NASDA and its members likewise play a critical role informing Congress and the executive branch regarding the operation of federal and state programs covering everything from animal and plant health, food safety and marketing, nutrition, and literally hundreds of other consumer services.

“NASDA exists to amplify the unique voice of all state departments of agriculture. NASDA Members are able to amplify their national voice by achieving consensus on otherwise contentious issues such as threatened and endangered species, agriculture labor, and water quality.

“Mr. Speaker, I join the members and stakeholders of NASDA in celebrating their 100th year of advocating for American agriculture. I wish NASDA many more years of public service to American agriculture at the critical nexus of state and federal policy.”

2016-05-31T19:24:13-07:00February 2nd, 2016|

USDA, Microsoft Innovation Challenge Winners

Open Data from USDA, Microsoft Cloud Technology Strengthen Food Supply Through “Innovation Challenge” Winners


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Microsoft officials announced the winners of the USDA, Microsoft Innovation Challenge late last month in which contestants used USDA agriculture production open data to develop online tools that can help make the American food supply more resilient in the face of climate change.

“In yet another example of how public and private resources can be leveraged together to address significant global concerns, the winners of the USDA-Microsoft Innovation Challenge have used open government data to create an impressive array of innovative tools to help food producers and our communities prepare for the impacts of climate change and ensure our nation’s ability to provide plentiful, affordable food,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “For more than 100 years, USDA has compiled data on the farm economy, production, and the health of crops around the country, and it is exciting to see such modern, useful tools spring from these information sources.”

The Challenge was created in support of the President’s Climate Data Initiative, which aims to harness climate data in ways that will increase the resilience of America’s food system. USDA provided contestants with more than 100 years of crop and climate data through Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

“Combining the advantages of cloud computing resources with the government’s desire to provide open access to public data is likely to transform scientific research and business innovation,” said Dr. Daron G. Green, deputy managing director of Microsoft Research. “Microsoft’s partnership with the USDA evidences how public-private partnership can stimulate new applications, explore novel scenarios and, in this case, work towards a more resilient and sustainable food production.”

A total of $63,000 in cash and prizes were awarded, with winners selected from more than 346 registrants and 33 submissions from around the world.

The award recipients and their projects, are:FarmPlenty


  • Grand Prize, Open Source Application Award, and Best Visualization in Time or Space Award recipient: Farm Plenty, submitted by George Lee of San Francisco, Calif. This application allows farmers to analyze USDA data about crops grown within five kilometers of their farms to make informed decisions about their own crop choices.


  • Second Prize and Open Source Application Award recipient: Green Pastures, submitted by Khyati Majmudar of Mumbai, India. This comprehensive dashboard interface allows a farmer to visualize production, economic, livestock, and commodity data from NASS, ERS, ARMS, and other sources at scales from national to local, including information on farmers’ markets.


  • Third Prize recipient: What’s Local, submitted by Benjamin Wellington of Landscape Metrics LLC in Brooklyn, N.Y. This tool analyzes the resources that are required to produce agricultural outputs by using data from the Census of Agriculture in a way that allows urban population centers to connect with farmers in their area.


  • Honorable Mention: Open Source Application Award, and Best Student-Made Award recipient: Farm Profit Calculator, submitted by Fernando Napier and Matt Pedersen of Lincoln, Neb. Farmers can use this mobile phone application to compare their input costs (fertilizer, seed, fuel, etc.) to regional averages, and find financial efficiencies where their costs are above the norm.croptrends


  • Honorable Mention recipient: Croptrends, submitted by Chaiyawut Lertvichaivoravit and Ta Chiraphadhanakul of Thousand Eyes in San Francisco. This useful tool can be used for viewing spatial and temporal trends in crop production and yield by county for the entire United States by using NASS data.


  • Popular Choice Award recipient: VAIS, submitted by Ken Moini of Thallo Tech in Nashville, Tenn. This tool uses NASS data for the entire United States to provide a unique approach to visualizing crowd-sourced pricing data.


  • Large Organization Recognition Award recipient: Farmed, submitted by Bryan Tower of Applied Technical Systems in Silverdale, Wash. This tool allows farmers to view crop conditions in their area by using VegScape data from NASS combined with local weather data.


USDA is an active founding member of the Global Data Partnership through the memberships of both the U.S. Government Open Data and the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiatives. USDA is helping pave the way for coordinating global efforts to make agriculture and nutrition data open. USDA’s Open Data Catalog is the authoritative source of publicly available USDA data.

Since 2009, USDA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. USDA’s integrated research, education, and extension programs, supporting the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel, have resulted user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability, and ensuring food safety. To learn more about USDA’s impact on agricultural science, visit

2016-05-31T19:24:13-07:00February 2nd, 2016|
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