UC Offers Almond Production Short Course Nov. 5–7

Almond Short Course For Growers To Learn More

By Pam Kan-Rice UCANR News and Information Outreach

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will host the UC Almond Short Course Nov. 5-7, 2019, at the Visalia Convention Center.

UC faculty, UC Cooperative Extension specialists and farm advisors and USDA researchers who will provide in-depth, comprehensive presentations of all phases of almond culture and production. An optional field tour will be offered on Nov. 8 in Parlier.

The program is based on the latest information and research and will cover the fundamental principles that form the basis for practical decisions. Each session will include Q&A, quality time with instructors and networking opportunities. The full agenda is at https://ucanr.edu/sites/almondshortcourse/2019_Agenda.

This year’s short course offers an in-depth field tour at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center on Friday, Nov. 8. For an additional fee, participants can learn firsthand about topics ranging from orchard establishment and management to integrated pest management. See the tour agenda at https://ucanr.edu/sites/almondshortcourse/2019_Field_Tour.

Registration is $900, discounts are available until Oct. 21. On-site registration will be $1,000.

Registration includes:

  • Three full days of instruction with more than 35 presentations
  • Binders containing presentations
  • Three lunches and two receptions
  • DPR (PCA) & CCA continuing education credits (pending approval)
  • Option to add Field Tour for $65
2021-05-12T11:01:46-07:00October 15th, 2019|

Almond Board Schedules Market Facilitation Program Workshops

2019 Market Facilitation Program Workshops October 7 | October 11 | October 15 | October 16

USDA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) is continuing for the second year, providing almond growers with an opportunity to apply for direct payments to help alleviate the damage resulting from the global trade situation.

Unlike the 2018 program when payments were based on delivered pounds, the 2019 MFP program is based on bearing acreage. To learn more about the changes to the 2019 program, and how you can also apply for 2018 payments, the Almond Alliance of California and Almond Board of California are co-hosting workshops with local USDA Farm Service Agency offices.

Come learn about the program and how you can apply!

Chico, October 7, 2019 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Manzanita Place at Chico Elks Lodge #423 1705 Manzanita Avenue Chico, CA 95926 RSVP: MFP-Chico@almondboard.com 209-343-3220 Seating is limited.

Fresno, October 11, 2019 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Fresno County Farm Bureau 1274 W. Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA 93728 RSVP: MFP-Fresno@almondboard.com 209-343-3220 Seating is limited.

Bakersfield October 15, 2019 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. UC Cooperative Extension Kern County 1031 S. Mt. Vernon Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93307 RSVP: MFP-Bakersfield@almondboard.com 209-343-3220 Seating is limited.

Modesto, October 16, 2019 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Almond Board Of California  1150 9th Street, Modesto CA 95354 (15th floor of Double Tree Hotel) RSVP MFP-Modesto@almondboard.com  209-343-3220 Seating is limited.

For more information contact Toni Arellano at 209.343.3220; tarellano@almondboard.com

2019-09-30T21:19:46-07:00October 2nd, 2019|

Produce Passes All Residue Testing in 2017

FDA Produce Residue Sampling “Once Again” Verifies Safety

Last week the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its 2017 pesticide residue sampling data results. FDA concluded: “The latest set of results demonstrate once again that the majority of the foods we test are well below the federal limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Note the term “once again” in FDA’s statement. They used it because government residue sampling data year after year reaffirms the safety of our food and the exceptionally high level of compliance among farmers with laws and regulations covering the use of organic and conventional pesticides.

Let’s get a little technical for a moment and focus on how FDA residue sampling is protective of consumers. FDA employs a three-fold strategy to enforce the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) tolerances or safety standards for pesticide residues.
If you haven’t heard – September is National Fruit and Vegetable month. Yes, it is time to celebrate the only food group health experts and nutritionists agree we should all eat more of every day for better health and a longer life.
While decades of studies have shown the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables are overwhelming and significant, the safety of both organic and conventional produce is also impressive. Government sampling data shows an over 99% compliance rate among farmers with the laws and regulations required for pesticide applications on organic and conventional fruit and vegetable crops. This led the United States Department of Agriculture to state that: “The U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world.”

Many health organizations are promoting National Fruit and Vegetable month to remind consumers about the importance of increasing consumption – only one in 10 of us eat enough of these nutrient-packed foods each day.

However, studies show a growing barrier to consumption is fear-based messaging which inaccurately calls into question the safety of the more affordable and accessible fruits and veggies. This messaging is predominantly carried by the same activist groups year after year despite studies which show that “prescriptions” for fruits and veggies could reduce health care costs by $40 billion annually. Or that 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented each year.

2019-09-23T15:06:22-07:00September 23rd, 2019|

Help APG Advocate for Funding to Fight NOW

American Pistachio Growers Asking Industry to Help Fund Phoenix Facility

American Pistachio Growers (APG) has been integrally involved in obtaining federally funding for the Center for Health Science & Technology Laboratory in Phoenix, AZ. The facility was originally commissioned by the cotton industry to raise sterile pink bollworm for area-wide releases in an effort to suppress the pest.

The program was even more successful than planned and the cotton industry was recently able to declare pink bollworm eradicated. Now that the facility has excess capacity, pistachio, almond, and walnut industry leaders have made a push to start breeding sterile navel orangeworm (NOW) for aerial release in California. Unfortunately, at the end of this Federal Fiscal Year, federal funding for the facility ends, and unless a new funding appropriation can be made by Congress, the facility will close.

Many pistachio growers have asked how they can help in APG’s efforts to obtain federal funding. With current efforts being focused on the U.S. Senate, growers are encouraged to write a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) for her support. Sen. Feinstein sits on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, & Related Agencies, which is where APG is advocating for funding.
Here is a sample letter that can be used, or you can draft your own letter that incorporates the following talking points:

  • Navel Orangeworm (NOW) is an invasive and destructive pest harmful to tree nuts (almonds, pistachios, and walnuts).
  • As much as $800 million lost each year from lost product and consumer confidence.
  • NOW is a major vector for aflatoxin, which results in shipment rejections and food safety concerns, hurting our trade position in key markets.
  • Growers spend $150-$450 per acre every year to apply currently available tools to control NOW in orchards totaling more than $500 million annually.
  • Congress & USDA can co-invest with tree nut industries by appropriating $21 million to develop a sterile insect technology (SIT) pilot program for NOW.
  • The Center for Health Science & Technology Laboratory in Phoenix, AZ is perfectly set up to take on the pilot project, but will be shut down at the end of September unless adequate funding is provided.

Letters can be faxed to 202-228-3954, emailed to joe_petrzelka@feinstein.senate.gov or mailed to:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
303 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

2021-05-12T11:05:01-07:00September 20th, 2019|

2018 Fresno County Crop Report a Record: $7.8 Billion!

Fresno County up BIG on Production Value for 2018

 

Submitted to Fresno County Board Supervisors by Milissa Cregan Fresno County Ag Commissioner

It is my pleasure to submit the 2018 Fresno County Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report. In each of our annual reports, the Department likes to highlight a segment of our history; and this edition will feature the California Department of Agriculture’s Direct Marketing Program and the certi­fied producers and their crops.

This report is produced in accordance with Sections 2272 and 2279 of the California Food and Agriculture Code; and summarizes the acreage, production, and value of agricultural commodities produced in Fresno County. Fresno County’s total gross production value for 2018 is $7,887,583,790. This represents an increase of $859,559,690 or 12.23% over the previous year’s total of $7,028,024,100.

Once again, almonds continue to be the leading agricultural commodity in Fresno County with a gross value of $1,178,182,069, which represents 14.94% of the total gross value of all crops produced in 2018. The total gross value of grapes remained in the number two spot at $1,106,858,236 followed by pistachios for the ­first time at $862,144,401.

Fresno County’s agricultural strength is based on the diversity of crops produced. Included in the 2018 report are over 300 different commodities, 76 of which have a gross value in excess of $1,000,000. Although individual commodities may experience difficulties from year-to-year, Fresno County continues to supply the highest quality of food and fib­er nation-wide and abroad to more than 95 countries around the world.

Crop values vary from year to year based on production, market fluctuations and weather. It is important to note the figures provided in this report reflect gross values and do not take into account the costs of production, marketing, transportation, or other ancillary costs. These ­figures do not represent net income or loss to the producers of these commodities.

This report is our yearly opportunity to recognize the growers, shippers, ranchers and other businesses instrumental to and supportive of agriculture in Fresno County. We truly appreciate the many producers, processors, and agencies (both private and public) that supported our e‑orts in completing this report. In addition, a hearty thank-you goes out to my entire staff, especially Fred Rinder, Scotti Walker, Angel Gibson, Rosemarie Davis, Sam Sohal, and Shoua VangXiong. Without their hard work and valuable input, this report would not be possible.

 

2019-09-11T18:03:57-07:00September 12th, 2019|

Generic Promotion of US Pistachios is Powerful

New Analysis Points to the Power of US Pistachio Industry’s Generic Program

American Pistachio Growers’ (APG) efforts to reduce or eliminate trade barriers in several key overseas markets have been a significant boon to pistachio exports and to growers’ bottom-line. A new study, “An Analysis of the Effects of the American Pistachio Growers’ Program to Reduce/Eliminate Tariffs on U.S. Pistachios,” has quantified, for the first time, the direct benefit to the U.S. pistachio industry from APG’s strategic program to vanquish trade barriers.

The analysis from Dr. Dennis H. Tootelian, an emeritus Professor of Marketing, sought to determine what shipments of U.S. pistachios would have been if tariffs had not been lowered or eliminated in Israel, Mexico, China and Hong Kong, and the European Union which are the export markets prioritized for focus by APG. Many of his analyses centered on the period from 2009 through 2017 — the period in which tariffs were reduced in all five geographic areas.

Tootelian’s study showed that actual shipments of U.S. pistachios after the tariffs were reduced or eliminated for each export market were more than 2.3 billion pounds greater than what would have been expected had the tariffs remained in place. Equated in economic terms, the boost in export volume after the trade barriers had been removed amounted to nearly $3 billion greater value than what would have been expected had the tariffs remained in effect.

While Tootelian did not have any prior expectations of what his study would show, he was surprised by the findings.

“To see this kind of an increase in shipments on a before and after basis with the tariffs did surprise me. I did not expect this kind of result in the marketplace. These are not small numbers,” Tootelian said.   “What the data tell me is that there is latent demand for U.S. pistachios and once the tariffs come down, foreign markets want to buy them.”

Tootelian said the projected economic boon to U.S. growers is even more profound if the fluctuations in prices in China and Hong Kong were eliminated from the analysis.

“If you take the price fluctuations in China and Hong Kong out, the increase in value of pistachio shipments amounts to nearly $355 million more dollars per year — nearly $4.5 billion in total from the time when tariffs were in effect to after they were reduced or eliminated,” said Tootelian.

Data from the analysis estimated that more than 1.7 billion pounds of U.S. pistachios in total, or an average of more than 192 million pounds annually, may have gone into storage if they were not diverted to other markets. While the effect of the projected added supply on the world market is unknown in terms of lower prices, Tootelian said that it would surely have had a detrimental impact on U.S. growers.

“It is unknown what that would have done to the price,” he said. “In order to divert from storage and into other markets, prices probably would have had to come down considerably and whether they would have been able to market that much supply is an unknown.”

Underlying Tootelian’s analysis is the fact that price is not the sole determinant of the volume of U.S. pistachio exports. He said when tariffs are lowered or eliminated, traditional economics would dictate that increased shipments would lead to lower prices, but his data show demand for U.S. pistachios in some key markets remained high in the post-tariff era.  Several factors, he said, appear to be in play.

“One is the reputation of U.S. pistachios, which carries a very positive market image with consumers and importers. Second, it could be the quality of the product is better or more consistent, or both, for what consumers can buy from other countries,” said Tootelian. “And third, there are a lot of reputable health studies that show nuts are healthy and nutritious.  APG has invested considerable resources raising consumer awareness of the healthful attributes of pistachios, and consumers appear to be willing to pay a higher price. That is pretty clear from the data.”

APG has aggressively worked in the halls of Congress, with U.S. trade officials and with foreign governmental bodies to alleviate burdensome trade barriers and create a more open market for U.S-grown pistachios.

“Quantifying the value of APG’s efforts to growers has been difficult up to now, but this new study gives us some tangible answers to the importance of the work we are doing on behalf of the U.S. pistachio industry,” said Richard Matoian, APG’s executive director. “Frankly, we were quite surprised at the magnitude of these numbers.  It’s our strong belief that whenever and wherever trade barriers exist to the free flow of American-grown pistachios around the world, we will confront them vigorously.”

In a postscript to his analysis, Tootelian added, “If I were a grower, I would be encouraging APG to be doing this more in other markets because the greater the demand there is for the product, the less goes into storage and that helps boost the price.”

 

2019-09-10T19:23:58-07:00September 11th, 2019|

Pistachios Need Potassium

Low Potassium Leads to Low Yields

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Potassium is a needed element in pistachios, so keep that in mind for the next season’s production.

Phoebe Gordon, Orchard Farm Advisor from Madera and Merced counties. She explains how low potassium can lead to low yield in pistachios.

“Aside from nitrogen, potassium is needed in the highest concentration of plants compared to all the other essential nutrients,” she said. It may be hard to diagnose a deficiency, especially if leaf samples are not taken. Low yields are a symptom of this deficiency. That’s why farmers need to make sure that they are taking their yearly or bi-yearly leaf samples from their trees.

Applying potassium is specific to the grower’s preference. “I would say the source doesn’t really matter as long as you pick what works for you and your situation,” she said. But there can be differences. Growers might want to pick a higher soluble fertilizer if they like to fertigate because they can put more in over a shorter period of time. Banding works as well. It fixes soils where potassium can be trapped in clay particles. The bands saturate the soils and leaves the potassium available for uptake.

Applications of potassium are needed year-round. “About 29 pounds of potash is removed per thousand kernel yield and about 27 is needed to supply tree growth,” Gordon said. You want to be able to replace what was lost in previous years. Potassium is a little bit easier because growers are not going to lose it because it is not negatively charged. Potassium sticks around in the soil.

2019-08-16T08:17:57-07:00August 20th, 2019|

Generic Pistachio Marketing Has Big Value

Analysis: Export Markets Shows Nearly $3 billion Post-Tariff Shipment Increase Resulting From U.S. Pistachio Industry’s Generic Program.

American Pistachio Growers’ (APG) efforts to reduce or eliminate trade barriers in several key overseas markets have been a significant boon to pistachio exports and to growers’ bottom-line. A new study, “An Analysis of the Effects of the American Pistachio Growers’ Program to Reduce/Eliminate Tariffs on U.S. Pistachios,” has quantified, for the first time, the direct benefit to the U.S. pistachio industry from APG’s strategic program to vanquish trade barriers.

The analysis from Dr. Dennis H. Tootelian, an emeritus Professor of Marketing, sought to determine what shipments of U.S. pistachios would have been if tariffs had not been lowered or eliminated in Israel, Mexico, China and Hong Kong, and the European Union which are the export markets prioritized for focus by APG. Many of his analyses centered on the period from 2009 through 2017 — the period in which tariffs were reduced in all five geographic areas.

Tootelian’s study showed that actual shipments of U.S. pistachios after the tariffs were reduced or eliminated for each export market were more than 2.3 billion pounds greater than what would have been expected had the tariffs remained in place. Equated in economic terms, the boost in export volume after the trade barriers had been removed amounted to nearly $3 billion greater value than what would have been expected had the tariffs remained in effect.

While Tootelian did not have any prior expectations of what his study would show, he was surprised by the findings.

“To see this kind of an increase in shipments on a before and after basis with the tariffs did surprise me. I did not expect this kind of result in the marketplace. These are not small numbers,” Tootelian said.   “What the data tell me is that there is latent demand for U.S. pistachios and once the tariffs come down, foreign markets want to buy them.”

Tootelian said the projected economic boon to U.S. growers is even more profound if the fluctuations in prices in China and Hong Kong were eliminated from the analysis.

“If you take the price fluctuations in China and Hong Kong out, the increase in value of pistachio shipments amounts to nearly $355 million more dollars per year — nearly $4.5 billion in total from the time when tariffs were in effect to after they were reduced or eliminated,” said Tootelian.

Data from the analysis estimated that more than 1.7 billion pounds of U.S. pistachios in total, or an average of more than 192 million pounds annually, may  have gone into storage if they were not diverted to other markets. While the effect of the projected added supply on the world market is unknown in terms of lower prices, Tootelian said that it would surely have had a detrimental impact on U.S. growers.

“It is unknown what that would have done to the price,” he said. “In order to divert from storage and into other markets, prices probably would have had to come down considerably and whether they would have been able to market that much supply is an unknown.”

Underlying Tootelian’s analysis is the fact that price is not the sole determinant of the volume of U.S. pistachio exports. He said when tariffs are lowered or eliminated, traditional economics would dictate that increased shipments would lead to lower prices, but his data show demand for U.S. pistachios in some key markets remained high in the post-tariff era.  Several factors, he said, appear to be in play.

“One is the reputation of U.S. pistachios, which carries a very positive market image with consumers and importers. Second, it could be the quality of the product is better or more consistent, or both, for what consumers can buy from other countries,” said Tootelian. “And third, there are a lot of reputable health studies that show nuts are healthy and nutritious.  APG has invested considerable resources raising consumer awareness of the healthful attributes of pistachios, and consumers appear to be willing to pay a higher price. That is pretty clear from the data.”

APG has aggressively worked in the halls of Congress, with U.S. trade officials and with foreign governmental bodies to alleviate burdensome trade barriers and create a more open market for U.S-grown pistachios.

“Quantifying the value of APG’s efforts to growers has been difficult up to now, but this new study gives us some tangible answers to the importance of the work we are doing on behalf of the U.S. pistachio industry,” said Richard Matoian, APG’s executive director. “Frankly, we were quite surprised at the magnitude of these numbers.  It’s our strong belief that whenever and wherever trade barriers exist to the free flow of American-grown pistachios around the world, we will confront them vigorously.”

In a postscript to his analysis, Tootelian added, “If I were a grower, I would be encouraging APG to be doing this more in other markets because the greater the demand there is for the product, the less goes into storage and that helps boost the price.”

2019-08-10T09:33:07-07:00August 10th, 2019|

Almond Harvest Underway

A Whole Lot of Almond Shaking is Going On Throughout California

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

It’s a busy time of year for the almond industry as harvest is going strong. It starts in Kern county and moves all the way north or Chico. It will take nearly two months to get across 1.4 million acres, and it’s going to be about a 2.2 billion pound crop, which is down 3.5% from 2018 where the production was about 2.28 billion pounds. It was less than ideal weather conditions in the spring, which caused us dip in production.

However California remains the best place in the world to grow almonds. It’s all about the Mediterranean climate in California— long hot summers with the rain and cold in the winter, ideal for almond trees.

Navel Orangeworm is a critical pest in almonds, pistachios and in a lesser way for walnuts. And they continue to be a significant pest during  almond harvest season as the adult moths can lay eggs, which can pupate later in almonds turning them off-grade. Once shaking is done and the almonds are picked up out of the field, it’s important to get that crop out of the orchard as soon as possible to minimize navel orange worm infestation.

Almonds are the first tree nut to be harvested. Later on, pistachios will start, following that we’ll be walnuts.

 

2019-08-08T10:54:00-07:00August 7th, 2019|

Elaine Trevino Given USDA Appointment

Almond Alliance President Appointed to USDA Agricultural Trade Policy Advisory Committee 

News Release

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have appointed Almond Alliance President Elaine Trevino to the USDA Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade.

The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee provides advice and information to the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on the administration of trade policy, including enforcement of existing trade agreements and negotiating objectives for new trade agreements.almond crop

“I am honored to be appointed to this prestigious agricultural trade policy committee,” Trevino said. “Given the almond industry’s dependence on global trade health, this position is an important one to ensure there is a continued strong presence at the table for California almonds.”

Congress established the advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure a private-sector voice in establishing U.S. agricultural trade policy objectives to reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative jointly manage the committee.

2019-06-19T22:50:19-07:00June 18th, 2019|
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