How We Grow

2019 March/April How We Grow

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14 RESEARCH UPDATE Fueling the Fundamentals Behind Responsible Farming Research informs action, drives change and propels growth — all reasons why the Almond Board of California (ABC) has remained committed to research for decades. This year, ABC is investing $6.8 million into 75 independent research projects exploring next- generation farming practices in areas including water sustainability, 1 pollinator health, harvest dust and finding new uses for almond coproducts. "Innovation is at the core of sustainable almond farming," said Almond Board of California President and CEO Richard Waycott. "It is critical that innovation drives the achievement of the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals set by the ABC Board of Directors. Hitting industry targets for water use efficiency, integrated pest management, harvest dust and coproducts requires us to keep the pedal to the metal when it comes to research." Looking ahead, this commitment to scientific research supports the California almond community in growing the farm of the future. For instance, to increase the use of environmentally friendly pest management practices, researchers are exploring methods that disrupt the mating patterns of navel orangeworm. In the area of harvest dust management, researchers are evaluating different types of equipment and harvesting methods. Findings in these and other areas will help move the industry toward achieving its goals while informing critical business decisions that growers need to make now and into the future. Part of our history, critical to our future Since 1973, the almond industry has invested $80 million in research through the Almond Board to improve its understanding of almonds' impact on human health, food quality and safety, and to improve farming practices while minimizing environmental impacts. Evidence of the research program's success is in the numbers. For example, ABC has funded more than 200 water research projects since 1982, and the learnings from this research have helped farmers reduce the water needed to grow a pound of almonds by 33% over the past 20 years. 2 In addition, this year ABC put $1.2 million toward nine coproduct-focused research projects with applications spanning from in-orchard practices to value-added uses across a variety of industries. "We enjoy working with the almond community because their goals align with ours," said Lydia Palma, researcher and Ph.D. student at University of California, Davis. Palma is researching value-added uses for almond coproducts. "The Almond Board is investing in research so nothing goes to waste, with the goal of a neutral footprint." As we move through 2019, projects focused on water, harvest dust and pollinator health round out the Almond Board of California's top three research focus areas. In those areas, research allocations include $610,000 to nine water projects, $579,000 to seven honey bee health projects and $327,836 to five harvest dust projects, allocated through the Harvest Dust Workgroup. "We've all been committed to continuous improvement," Waycott said. "These investments in research provide us with more fuel to keep moving forward, further and faster." 1 Sustainable almond farming utilizes production practices that are economically viable and based upon scientific research, common sense and a respect for the environment, neighbors and employees. The result is a plentiful, healthy and safe food product. 2 University of California, Feb. 2010. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, 2012. Almond Board of California, 1990-94, 2000-14. "Hitting industry targets for water use efficiency, integrated pest management, harvest dust and coproducts requires us to keep the pedal to the metal when it comes to research." – Richard Waycott

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