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.
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.
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.