Environmental Information for the
California Almond Industry

Almond Industry Headline Environmental News April 19, 2007

   Air Quality

  • Burn Ban for Almond Orchard Removal in SJV Takes Effect this June - - Almond growers in the San Joaquin Valley as of June 1, 2007 will no longer be able to burn removed orchards as part of a ban on open agricultural burning being phased in by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Growers will still have until June 2010 to obtain permits to burn prunings from surface harvested crops such as almonds. The June deadline on orchard removal burning marks the third phase of the gradual elimination of open burning in the San Joaquin Valley to manage agricultural products, including prunings.  “This process has been going on for several years but this is the first phase-out deadline to affect almonds directly,” said Gabriele Ludwig, Senior Manager, Global Technical & Regulatory Affairs with the Almond Board of California. <more>  April 15, 2007 Almond Newsletter

Water Quality

  • Watershed Coalition newsletter now available - - The latest edition of the Watershed Coalition News is now available from the Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES.) Developed by CURES with funding from the Almond Board of California, the project’s goal is to link growers to the watershed coalitions. The Winter/Spring 2007 edition features stories about the boost in watershed coalition memberships; the new scrutiny facing those applying for membership after the Dec. 31, 2006 deadline; a UC Davis study that says high E. Coli levels in many Central valley waterways may be coming from human sources; ongoing surveys to document grower use of Best Management Practices; and new methods to determine orchard sprayer coverage. The newsletter can be download as a PDF file at the CURES wesbite www.curesworks.org/newsletter.asp  April 13, 2007 CURES Press Release

Crop Protection

  • Miticide choices fortunately plentiful - - Tree nut growers in California have been blessed with a rapidly expanding arsenal of miticides over the past few years, according to David Haviland, Kern County University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor. “All of a sudden, we’ve added eight new products to our portfolio in only the past two years,” he told attendees at a Bayer CropScience sponsored Tree and Vine conference held this winter. “I sincerely hope the days of monitoring and treating if and when you hit a threshold are back.” <more> March 7, 2007 Western Farm Press
     
  • Reducing off-site movement of pyrethroids not difficult - - Sampling of various agricultural water bodies in 17 Central Valley counties by University of California researchers has shown
     that roughly one-quarter to one-third of the sites have toxic levels of pesticides or other substances. Using Hyalella azteca, a small amphipod commonly used to text toxicity, Donald Weston, 
    adjunct professor, University of California, Berkeley, determined that pyrethroids were largely responsible for presence of toxicity among the 127 sites. <more> 
    April 6, 2007 Western Farm Press 
     

Sustainability

  • Regulators See First-Hand Environmentally Friendly Almond Farming and Processing Practices - - Regulators from state and federal agencies that establish and enforce environmental laws in agriculture spent a beautiful mid-bloom day in March at the facilities of Travaille and Phippen Inc. in Manteca for the Almond Board’s third annual Environmental Stewardship Tour. The tour gave regulators, along with media, researchers and other invited guests, a first-hand look at the steps almond growers and handlers are taking to address air quality, water quality, endangered species, pesticide use and other environmental issues. <more> April 15, 2007 Almond Board Newsletter
     

  • Manteca Almond Grower Showcases Environmentally Friendly Farming for Regulators - - Dave Phippen of Travaille and Phippen Inc. in Manteca is proud to welcome regulators to his almond orchard. Phippen, an almond grower and chairman of the Almond Board of California, has good news to share about the integrated pest management and sustainable farming, harvesting and hulling/shelling practices underway at Travaille and Phippen. Phippen in March hosted some 20 regulators from various local, state and federal agencies during the Almond Board of California’s 3rd Annual Environmental Stewardship Tour to showcase what he and other almond growers are doing to address air quality, water quality, endangered species, pesticide use and other environmental issues. Phippen said the operation has been practicing Integrated Pest Management for more than a decade, relying on monitoring and sampling, biological control and orchard sanitation to control pests with reduced reliance on broad-spectrum insecticides. <more> April 15, 2007 San Joaquin County Farm Bureau Newspaper
     

  • Almond Board’s Environmental Tour Educates Regulators - - The Almond Board of California’s (ABC) spring environmental stewardship tour opened the eyes for  Sacramento’s water, air, and pesticide regulators to the challenges and positive solutions in the industry. Hosting the one-day event in early March was Dave Phippen, chairman of the ABC board of directors and co-owner of Travaille and Phippen, growers, packer and shippers of almonds in Manteca, Calif. The tour was part of Almond Board’s implementation of a five-year plan (2003-2008) “to be the healthiest specialty crop in the world” benefiting the consumer, the environment, and the industry.  Joining Phippen in the tour was his son-in-law Nick Gatzman, one of the operation’s farm managers. Both led attendees through their orchards and processing facility and outlined ways they are reducing their impact on the environment. <more> PNP Nut Grower & PCA magazine Feb 16, 2007
     

  • Budding Prospects. Pathogen worries can make it tough for green farmers - - Almond growers aim to keep their customers healthy by keeping salmonella and other germs out of the orchards. Many try to do this by excluding rodents and other creatures that can track germs onto the orchard floor, where the nuts lie after being shaken from the trees. But many growers also like to maintain at least some ecological diversity on their farms. They might do this with grassy cover crops between the trees, or hedgerows at the orchard's edges. Trouble is, these mini-habitats could nurture the very animals that growers want to keep out so the crop doesn't become tainted. "Human pathogens are unfortunately carried by these birds and squirrels and so forth," said Merle Jacobs, associate director for industry relations at the Almond Board of California, during an orchard tour near Ripon last week. "There's always a balance: Are you mitigating one problem and adding to another problem?" <more> March 10, 2007 Modesto Bee
     

  • Almond tour highlights stewardship. Growers want to have ‘the healthiest specialty crop in the world - - ’Mummified nut removal, cover crops and specialized shredding equipment, all examples of farming practices that help the environment, were highlights of the annual Environmental Stewardship tour by the Almond Board of California. Members of federal, state and local regulatory agencies as well as other growers were on hand to learn farming and processing practices aimed at making almonds "the healthiest specialty crop in the world." The tour was hosted by Dave Phippen, chairman of the Almond Board of California, at the Travaille and Phippen plant. Under a canopy of almond blooms, Nick Gatzman, who leads the pest control and cultural operations for Phippen's almond orchards, spoke emphatically about their goal of reducing pesticide use. "The most cost-effective control is orchard sanitation," Gatzman stressed. <more> March 9, 2007 Capital Press
     

  • Almond growers raising environmental consciousness - - It was too blustery to be buzzing about Dave Phippen's almond orchard on Friday - only one bee could be found pollinating the white blossoms. There was plenty of sweet talk, though, about farmers' efforts to aid the environment. For the third time, the Almond Board of California hosted a tour promoting the crop and the way it is grown. <more> March 3, 2007 Stockton Record

General Industry News

  • Buzz grows on bee deaths. Keepers tell House panel about crisis in Valley, elsewhere. - - Gene Brandi is losing his six-legged livestock, and lawmakers want to know why. A Los Banos-based commercial beekeeper, Brandi normally manages about 2,000 colonies. On Thursday, Brandi told a House panel about 40% of his colonies died over the winter -- by far, his worst loss in three decades of business. "Even though my loss is substantial, other beekeepers throughout the country have suffered much greater losses," Brandi testified. <more> March 30, 2007 Fresno Bee
     

  • Bee shortage won't hurt almond crop, say experts - - The almond industry has faced cold and rain and a shrinking bee supply during this year's bloom, but it appears to be making it through just fine — so far. Enough blossoms likely are being pollinated to assure an adequate nut harvest in late summer and fall, the Almond Board of California reported this week. That verdict was based on a survey of orchards by a task force for the Modesto-based group. "Their expert opinion was that we would have enough bees to complete the pollination of our almond crop," said Marsha Venable, spokeswoman for the board. The bloom started in mid-February and likely will fade out next week. The emerging nuts still could get hit by spring storms, but for now the board is confident, Venable said. <more> March 10, 2007 Modesto Bee

 

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