How We Grow

2019 March/April How We Grow

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2 2 FROM LEADERSHIP I believe that farming is a noble profession. Those of us in the ag community — those who are directly involved in production agriculture — are quite proud of what we do. We consider our work to be good, honorable, at least decent, if not righteous. We are, after all, producing food for the rest of the nation and for a significant part of the world. The success of U.S. agriculture and California agriculture means that the rest of the population no longer must toil daily to produce their food. In fact, most individuals can pursue multiple endeavors of their choosing. This great opportunity, however, is accompanied by a disconnect between the daily life "down on the farm" and the daily life of those working the "nine-to-five." What's more, that disconnect is often expressed in the form of consumer misunderstanding and even, at times, added regulation or legislation. Despite that disconnect, however, ours is an industry that is continuing to progress in producing a high- quality crop and investing in new technologies to help us move the needle, all while producing more with less. We continue to find smarter ways to monitor water use and are producing greater yields with less inputs. We have discovered a mating disruption technique that allows us to control navel orangeworm populations with fewer pest control applications, overall. We're discussing alternative uses for almond hulls, shells and woody biomass, and we're continuing to make advances in low- dust harvesting equipment. And we can't take our foot off the gas. The Almond Board of California's (ABC) Board of Directors developed a set of goals aimed at helping growers and the broader industry continue to advance toward next-generation farming practices, practices that are more economically, environmentally and socially responsible. These goals — the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals — recognize our local role in California agriculture and global role as a powerhouse in almond production, and ultimately state the industry's commitment to grow almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, protecting our local communities and the environment. Not only will these goals help the industry benchmark its current successes in the areas of water use, integrated pest management, zero waste and harvest dust, but they will also allow the almond industry to best communicate its efforts in producing a sustainable crop to its consumers. One key tool the industry uses to benchmark its achievements and learn how to do more is the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP). If you want to know what changes you should consider making on your operation or want to see how your operation compares to others in the business, you must enroll in CASP to analyze that data. CASP participants can document their practices and track that information year to year to see how they've improved. Data gathered from CASP also allows us to answer questions about how almonds are grown when asked by buyers and consumers, not to mention legislators and regulators. Ultimately, it is only through the industry's commitment to CASP that we can continue to defend our right to farm for generations to come. In this issue of How We Grow, you'll learn more about research that ABC is funding in the four goal areas, as well as the progress being made toward those goals. You'll also read about an industry leader, John Thoming, and his decades of service to the industry, from sitting on Almond Board committees to implementing progressive ideas on his operation. Finally, be sure to check out the "Movers and Shakers" section, which recognizes various industry members for their contributions to the industry, their local communities and the larger ag sector. Mel Machado Member, Board of Directors Almond Board of California

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