The Almond Industry Conference, is December 10th through the 12th in Sacramento
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
“The Almond Industry Conference is just a short month and a half away, December 10th through the 12th,” said Jenny Nicolau Senior Manager of Industry Relations and Communications at the Almond Board of California. “This year it’s being held at Cal Expo in Sacramento. It’s a three day event with something for anyone involved in the almond industry.”
It’s free to attend. There are sessions from production research to marketing, more than 250 exhibitors and you can register online today at almondconference.com.
“As long as you register, there’s a badge waiting for you. And this way we have everything set up for all the attendees. It is free, but we want people to preregister, so we can plan in advance,” noted Nicolau.
On that website you can also purchase a lunch for Tuesday and Wednesday while supplies last, but this year, there will be more food options.
“New this year, we’ll actually have a food truck village, so there’s really no reason that you need to leave Cal Expo to go grab something to eat,” explained Nicolau. “We’re going to bring everything on site so you don’t miss out any time walking the trade show floor or attending any of the sessions. Everything will be on site,” she added.
Of course there’ll be lots of hours and continuation credit for growers and PCAs.
The Almond Board of California Has Eyes on European Consumers
By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor
The Almond Conference was held recently in Sacramento, and growers and pest control advisors heard lots of news from forward-thinking industry leaders. Stacey Humble is Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications for the Almond Board of California, which hosts the annual event. She told California Ag Today that extra big crops are coming.
“You know, we have a dramatic increase in production coming online – about 500 million pounds. So, in terms of marketing, we need to make sure that we are utilizing all the resources that we have to their maximum benefit and that we’re reflecting on lessons learned in synergies and opportunities that we can take from one market to the next,” Humble said.
The Almond Board is looking at how they can strengthen sales in new markets as well as existing markets.
“How we can do more in existing markets so that we’re balancing our investment portfolio?” Humble said. “We’re trying to do more quickly in some markets and establish ourselves for success in the long term in other markets.”
A good example of possible increasing sales is the big European market, such as Germany. They are the biggest importer of almonds, but consumers there do not eat them as a nutritious snack.
“The German consumer loves the flavor of almonds, loves almond products and is very familiar with it, but has the lowest top of mind awareness in any market that we work in when it comes to thinking of almonds as a snack,” Humble said. “That is a huge opportunity. It’s essentially a new market for us, within an established market where we have existing trade relationships, where the consumer is familiar with the product and seeks it out already but just does so as a bakery ingredient.”
Christi Heintz, executive director for Project Apis m. (PAm), elaborated on the message she presented at the annual Almond Conference last month in Sacramento, “Our purpose at the Almond Industry Conference was to meet growers and talk to them about planting additional forage before and after almond pollination. These are times of dearth when honey bees are not getting the nutrition they need and beekeepers have to feed tremendous amounts of sugar syrup or high-fructose corn syrup to keep the bees alive,” Heintz said.
Established as a non-profit organization in 2006, PAm has the goal of funding and directing research to enhance the health and vitality of honey bee colonies while improving crop production. Heintz explained PAm.—named after Apis mellifera, the scientific name for the European honey bee—offers farmers free mustard mix for pre-almond bloom or clover mix for post-almond bloom to extend the season of nutrition availability for bees when they are most vulnerable. The increase in forage also benefits bees by providing additional natural and more diverse sources of nutrition resulting in better pollination and increased crop yields.
Heintz wants more growers to take part in the program. She reemphasized, “Honey bees love almonds, but we worry about those times just before and just after bloom. If you can get something going before bloom, you’ll get bee colonies that want to go out and forage for pollen, and they will be in great shape for almond pollination,”Heintz said.
Heintz has managed research, including pollination research since 1979, and has focused on honey bees since 2006. She also manages the Environmental Sustainability Program and production research for the Almond Board of California.