Almond Industry is Strong at 1.3 Million Acres

Almond Industry’s Vision is Continued Strength

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The vision and the overall business model of the almond industry in California are looking very strong. Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board of California, expanded on these strengths in a recent interview with California Ag Today.

“One way that the almond industry has achieved success is the fact that we are very resource rich, and the Almond Board of California is blessed by very strong support financially and strategically for the industry,” Waycott said.

Richard Waycott, Almond Board
Richard Waycott, Almond Board President and CEO

“We have the ability to work on very serious projects and programs for California agriculture and because of our size, just over 1.3 million acres, we can have a tremendous impact on the ecology of the state, on environmental practices, on ag practices that can then obviously be disseminated and taken advantage of by other California agriculture,”  Waycott explained.

Waycott said the almond industry’s role is to produce this wonderful food product for human consumption.

“The hulls and shells [are used] for other purposes, and we’re working very hard on that to determine new applications for those co-products, but then again to use the financial and the talent and treasurer of the industry and the size of the industry to innovate more rapidly and provide for constructive change,” Waycott explained.

Excellent business practices is a part of the Almond Board of California’s mission.

“We do see almonds as being a crop that should be grown in California, and it’s producing a product that should be consumed more by humans,” Waycott said. “The industry strives to farm more sustainably in the future than we do today and to provide for more automation in the industry, better grow our practices is what our mission is, and we’re very much on a road to executing that in a very responsible, in an innovative way.”

My Job Depends on Ag Continues Growth

Decal Sales Go to Nonprofit

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

California Ag Today recently spoke with Steve Malanca, one of the founders of My Job Depends On Ag Facebook group, which he started alongside Erik Wilson. The page was inspired by an economic number that stated that California Agriculture is only two percent of the gross domestic product of the state.

Not want to sit still on what looked like very small contribution to the overall California economy, Malanca, a former equipment salesman, crafted a decal in 2013 with the message My Job Depends on Ag. The idea was to spread the word that agriculture contributes to millions of jobs in the state, including restaurants, banks, clothing stores, supply stores, almond candy manufacturers, tortilla factories and virtually every business in smaller farm communities.

The Facebook page was launched in April 2015.

“It continues to grow,” Malanca said. “It grows in increments of a thousand members every four to six weeks, and we’re reaching 78,000 members in the three-year existence, and the message continues to grow.”

“Our California decal sales are now more than 60,000, and for the third year in a row, through the Central Valley Community Foundation, our profits are going to add more than $20,000 to a nonprofit account in order to continue giving out scholarships for kids.

Malanca’s job definitely depends on ag. He now works at West Valley Almond Huller in Mendota. And he told us about research trying to find a way to use of excess almond hulls. It’s called bio-solarization, which targets the use of almond hulls in row crop applications.

“The idea is to add 10 to 12 tons of hulls per acre on row crop beds, which come in various widths of 60 inches to 80 inches,” Malanca said. “By incorporating a huge amount of hulls over the top couple of inches of that soil, they can then cover it with plastic and create an environment that’s conducive to fumigant application, which kills soil pathogens. The idea is to substitute a chemical fumigant for hulls and accomplish the same goal.”