Big Almond Crops Coming, Marketing Efforts Shift to Higher Gear

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.

Almond Board of California
Stacy Humble

“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.”

 

 

 

 

Winegrape Quality In SJV

Nat DiBuduo: Valley Winegrape Growers Must Produce Quality

By Laurie Greene, Editor

Nat DiBuduo, president of Fresno-based Allied Grape Growers believes there are good opportunities for Central San Joaquin Valley winegrape growers. “I think the San Joaquin Valley [winegrape growing industry] will survive because growers are working at producing winegrapes at a higher quality and at a higher price,” said DiBuduo.

“Overall, I think the industry is doing well,” stated DiBuduo, “and we just have to work with our San Joaquin Valley growers to produce a better quality grape. It’s like a chicken and an egg; they’ve got to be able to get paid for that better quality. And of course, growers need a solid contract with a good price to make it worthwhile,” he noted.Allied Grape Growers logo

DiBuduo noted that the Bureau of Reclamation’s initial announcement at the beginning of this month that federal water users will receive merely a five percent water allocation, fortunately, does not affect many of his grower-members. “Most Allied growers are not Westside growers; but they will be severely affected by the groundwater regulations soon to be in place.”

DiBuduo explained the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is predicted to create major issues for production agriculture. “Oh yes, we’ve got guys who have sold their property because they didn’t have enough groundwater,” he said.

New Jordan Research Center Breaks Ground At Fresno State

by Patrick Cavanaugh

 

Under clear blue skies, with hundreds of agricultural industry members in attendance, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State broke ground yesterday on a new 30,000 sq. ft. Jordan Research Center, at the corner of Barstow and Woodrow Avenues, designed to foster collaboration among students and faculty in agricultural sciences and technology engineering and science and mathematics. The new research center of Fresno State is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

Ground BreakingFresno State President Joseph I. Castro said the world-class Jordan Research Center would provide many opportunities for students. “We are very excited about the Jordan Research Center. It’s going to provide many new opportunities for the next generations of leaders in agriculture, advance the research throughout our region and play a key role in strengthening our economy here in the Valley,” Castro said.

Castro said that the ag industry in California would be there to support that center well. “We are blessed with so many partnerships now with agriculture, and one of my highest priorities is to expand the number of partners, and this Center will help us do that.”

A $29.4 million dollar gift from the Jordan family to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in 2009 made this facility possible. “We are so fortunate to have the Jordon’s as friends. They love agriculture, and they love Fresno State. And we are grateful for their gift.”

The monetary gift is the largest cash gift in Fresno State’s history and among the largest ever in the CSU system.

“My late husband Bud, as well as brother-in-law Lowell, would be so very pleased to see not only the family legacy tied to Fresno State agriculture, but to know that the future of agriculture will be well served by the work to be done in the research center,” said Dee Jordan.

Dee Jordan
Dee Jordan

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Castro also announced three gifts to establish endowments to enhance laboratory spaces inside the building:

Retired Fresno Dentist Harry Moodigian, who walked onto the Fresno State campus in 1956, has given $200,000 in support of a microbiology lab at the center. “I want to see my University in the forefront of research in the field of microbiology. This is a wonderful way of supporting the research program.

And, Dave Watkins, senior vice president of agricultural operations for Loam Spices and Vegetable Ingredients has established a $200,000 endowment to support the interdisciplinary research lab.

“We moved our headquarters to Fresno three years ago, and we immediately began reaching out to the University to build our relationship, established an intern recruiting program, and when this opportunity came along, it was a perfect fit for us,” said Watkins.

Alumni Earl and Beverly Knobloch gave in support of the instrument/robotics laboratory space.

The drought has a tremendous impact on nutrient cycles leading to top management decisions this year beyond agricultural liquid fertilizer recommends of balanced nutrient program to strengthen plants in times of stress which speeds recovery this year’s soil and plant analysis extra importance close attention to residual nitrate levels is critical remember practice responsible nutrient management during this drought here yes you can with agriculture liquid fertilizers@worldliquid.com

This $24 million project will feature open, flexible space designed for collaborative research. Faculty and students from the Jordan College will work alongside colleagues in the Lyles College of Engineering and the College of Science and Mathematics.

“At Fresno State, we want to support advances in the agriculture industry, and we have the opportunity to do that with the Jordan Research Center,” said Castro. “This facility is going to make a tremendous impact in the Valley and around the world. We’ll be able to perform research that will advance knowledge throughout the industry.”

“This is the first-of-its-kind on a CSU campus. Fresno State agriculture will be on the leading edge as we continue to make significant contributions to enhancing production agriculture, food systems and natural resources,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College.

The state-of-the-art center will include wet and dry laboratories and laboratory support space. “For our students, the Jordan Research Center will create an environment where research becomes totally integrated into university life. This will be a place where the region’s greatest minds will enrich our environment and unlock the solution for our greatest challenges,” Boyer said.

“Fresno State specializes in applied research, aligning its resources with the needs of the Central Valley,” Castro said. “The Jordan Research Center is a perfect example of the vision and creativity that will drive Fresno State’s growth.”

 

For more information, contact Shannon Fast, associate director of development for the Jordan College, at 559.278.4266 or sfast@csufresno.edu. To discuss potential partnership opportunities in the Jordan Research Center, contact Alcidia Freitas Gomes at 559.278.4266 or alcidia@csufresno.edu.

CAPCA’s Terry Stark: Biopesticides More Mainstream

Stark Speaks About CAPCA and its Role in the Biopesticide Industry.

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

 

Terry Stark, President and CEO of California Association of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA,) told 140 attendees at the Biopesticide Industry Alliance semi-annual early April meeting in Sacramento, what his organization thinks about the softer pest and disease control products.

“CAPCA represents 3,000 members of the 4,000 licensed-PCAs in California.

We have expanded our educational outreach through CAPCA-ED. We run 40 seminars annually throughout the state to aid all license-holders to improve their categories,” Stark announced,” said Stark.

“The regulatory burden pushes us to be better and more advanced,” Stark said. “CAPCA has 16 chapters, and each chapter has a director seated on the state board. My Chairman of the board is Jeremy Briscoe a Certis USA national manager. So I believe CAPCA is very well integrated with the biopesticide industry. Jeremy is the first representative that is a non-retail, non-independent to serve as the chair of CAPCA. This is a big move in the mentality of what we do,” said Stark.

CAPCA has traditionally centered on the San Joaquin Valley – production agriculture – the heart and soul of diversified agriculture and the money. “However, in the last 10 years, the wine industry has taken a step higher than the our other crops. All of a sudden we have Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, and southward to Santa Maria and Ventura County.”

Stark explained that everything west of I-5 tended to be the “softer side” of PCAs and chemical use in California. “I say that with respect because the wine industry was looking for ways to use less conventional products, ways to brand both organically and sustainability and with lower tolerances for their products. That caught on solidly seven or eight years ago.” Stark continued, “My largest independent PCAs are between Mendocino and San Francisco.”

“Like my Ventura guys and gals, they use more biological controls by releasing a lot of beneficials,” said Stark. “And it’s hard to come in with a hard-core application and maintain your beneficial populations,” he said.

When Stark was asked to speak at the Biopesticide Alliance meeting, he was asked to talk about perceptions. “I reflected on what I saw as a manager when they hired me to come to CAPCA. You talk about perception of biopesticides, with all due respect to my membership, 30 percent think that it’s one way or the highway.

In the central part of the state, from Kern County and throughout the desert valleys, it’s still spray and run. It’s big business, big acres. But it has its place,” said Stark.

He spoke about California being a hodgepodge of the most invasive species in the world, with many new pests coming in seemingly every week.

“Our entire citrus industry is facing Asian Citrus Psyllid which vectors the deadly citrus greening disease; we just survived the Glassy-winged sharpshooters in the wine industry; and, we’ve got Shot-hole bores coming to avocados. This represents huge production areas,” he said.

CAPCA has recognized that there are new ideas in pest and disease control and has moved towards being able to incorporate other chemistries, pheromones, and other items into the tool chest.

 

CAPCA’s Aging Demographics

Stark shared some demographics of CAPCA. “In CAPCA meetings, I don’t see a lot of dark-haired people sitting in the room. I don’t see a lot of females sitting in the room.

Our gender is 10-15 percent females,” he said.

Seventy five percent of my membership has 16-plus years of experience as PCAs. CAPCA also manages 1,000 Certified Crop Advisor (CCAs) who focus on nutrient recommendations, and the same demographics carry over to them. Of that, 35 percent have 30-plus years of experience. Do you think many will work past 30 years?

CAPCA’s last membership survey was done in 2010. We are projecting a 20% loss of membership by 2015. And that continues outward in a five-year cycle.

Through the Department of Pest Regulations we are only testing maybe 12-15 percent maximum replacements with young PCAs coming into the cycle.

How do we survive? We are turning to electronics, iPhones, and iPads.

PCAs have to be licensed in California if you are using restricted-use materials, soliciting for sale, and/or acting as an expert thereof. That takes care of the whole sales group too.

So, in biopesticides, you’re outside of that umbrella in most ways. You have some products that you to play with, but overall, that gives a “softer approach” for the younger PCAs to look at.

 

 Working Areas of PCAs

Sixteen percent of PCAs work in field and row crops; 34 percent in trees & vines, the only ones getting water this year; vegetables at 12 percent; and turf and ornamentals –10 percent. Turf and ornamentals in California drop 50 percent in the last 5 years with the collapse of the housing and commercial real estate industries, plus golf courses, they have had a pullback. So our members have moved to retail and other areas.

If you are in PAC and you are in retail, you represent 30 percent of the industry. Eighteen percent are independents, and that means you truly do your own thing: if you have alfalfa, you have 20,000 acres you’re looking at; if you have citrus, you’ve got 3-5,000 acres; if you have vineyards, you’d better have 2-3000 acres to pay for it—if you want to make big money—and you’re working 7 days a week to do that. Seventeen percent are in-house; these are the Paramount’s and the Boswells of the industry. They hire CCAs and PCAs like full-time employee of the ranch.

The dynamics of I-5 is not moving into the Central Valley or into the southern counties. You have pockets of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara where you have nursery stocks, that‘s always been kind of open to the biopesticides industry and its products.

What I think has made the biopesticide industry successful, beyond all of your research, hard work and marketing, are the opportunities and the new wave of using your thumbs, and twitter, and communications, and Facebook, and social media in general. The outreach that you can do your business on the iPhone and still drive down the road, answering your clients’ questions has enabled the “boutique” industry in the last 5 years to come closer to the mainstream because customers don’t have to do any special work to find out about you. You are in their feed lines of information. These are important tools,” said Stark.

“California is a highly-regulated environment, so electronics has complemented other resources. I think the known fact that many products are less toxic is a huge benefactor,” he said.

“Take the Light Brown Apple Moth, which ended up being a environmental community PR campaign that kicked food and agriculture’s butt in California. And now every fruit tree in Santa Cruz is going to die from the apple moth. You can’t even move the firewood because it will contaminate the rest of the area,” Stark said.

The unknown elements of a pheromone to treat the moth were a big problem because the public did not understand, and the industry took it for granted. “The pheromone is about as soft and appropriate as you can get in the marketplace,” said Stark. “But we need to approach the public in a different way. And I think the biopesticide industry is doing a much better job,” he said.

“I’d be remiss with all of the large companies sitting in the room, the BASF’s, Syngenta’s, Bayer’s, the Valent’s—all have learned to adopt and bring into their tool chest additional products that can complement their conventional materials and usually make the grower more profit,” noted Stark.

“CAPCA doesn’t get into this much, but we have a lot regulatory obligation responsibility to protect the field worker. The toxicity and the life of the product go a long way in how you get back into the field,” he said.

“So, in the biopesticide world, you have a better opportunity of targeting the exact pest you need to target. It’s not a broad-spectrum-type deal. So that gives you the advantage. My PCAs see that– my 50 percent younger side in the house – sees that. And that’s a positive for this industry,” Stark said.

IPM is not a word that is understood until you get to California. CAPCA cannot do anything in his recommendation without being CEQA-oriented (California Environmental Quality Act) must look for alternative uses before any restrictive material can be made; otherwise he is in violation of his own recommendation. IPM, and biopesticide products fit that requirement to make that check mark when they do that.

“In addition, biologicals are lower priced than they ware 7-8 years ago. And that’s good because the grower doesn’t spend a dime more than they have to. If you think PCAs are out there pounding product or fertilizer on, and the farmer is not making any money, just three minutes later in the coffee shop, that guy is fired and another is hired,” Stark said.

“It is important to the sustainability in going forward, when you have a regulatory environment like we do in California. We have a built-in arena here and people are always listening to what can be done better and still make a profit. In my opinion, you are off to the races and biopesticides are mainstream now,” noted Stark.

If you can hit 15-20% of the marketplace, it’s been a great quarter-century run for you to get there and I think the CAPCA membership is looking forward to a long-lasting relationship.

He reminded attendees of the popular CAPCA Conference, Oct. 19-21, 2014 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. “I have 1,300 attendees and 150 exhibitors. What better place to be than with 800-900 license holders. It’s all relationships. Once you get the relationship, your social media, and your electronics, your product will sell itself,” Stark concluded.