Almond Board of California
Contact:  Colleen Aguiar
(209) 343-3209
caguiar@almondboard.com


Almond industry conference focuses on environmental stewardship

(Dec. 9, 2004 Modesto, Calif.) - Almonds are the leading agricultural export from California and in this case, bigger is better.  The 32nd Almond Industry Conference held December 1-2 at the Modesto Centre Plaza in Modesto, California highlighted the positive results that an industry of this size can accomplish. Of particular interest during the two-day event was the demonstrated leadership role the industry plays in environmental issues. "Being a large specialty crop makes it all the more important that we continue to improve our stewardship of the land," stated Chris Heintz, director of production research and environment at the Almond Board of California (ABC).  "We are proud of our environmental leadership and will continue to stay at the forefront of these initiatives."

The annual two-day event, the largest almond-specific conference of its kind, attracted more than 1000 industry members from throughout the world who together produce and supply more than 80% of the world's almonds. This year's conference focused on the environmental and food safety challenges facing California's almond industry.

Headlining the environmental stewardship agenda was AG Kawamura, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture who spoke on the environmental challenges the industry faces. "The almond industry is setting leadership action examples in so many different areas--air, dust issues, the Pest Management Alliance, and sustainable IPM solutions. They are out there making strides in these issues and making investments to find solutions," commented Secretary Kawamura.

Proving that the industry is not afraid to tackle the tough environmental issues that face growers today, the conference included an air quality panel discussion that allowed growers to learn and understand new air regulations.  Panel moderator and Air Resources Board member Dorene D'Adamo commended the ABC for giving environmental issues such high visibility at their conference. 

 

AIR QUALITY. Dorene D'Adamo, California Air Resources Board member, moderates panel discussion on air quality at Almond Board of California conference Dec. 1, 2004 in Modesto.

Scientists and researchers from UC Davis presented cutting-edge research project summaries in the area of environmental stewardship.  Results were presented on various topics including:


The conference also marked the unveiling of a growers' guide to help almond growers make environmentally responsible pest management decisions year-round without decreasing their yields or increasing their reject levels. The guide  is published by the University of California and summarizes practices demonstrated in a 5-year project funded with $476,000 in Pest Management Alliance grants from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). The Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices in Almonds is also available from the University of California for $7.00 by calling 1-800-994-8849 or clicking on http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/21619.pdf(Note: The download file is about 1.8 megabytes and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader). Sales tax, shipping, and handling are added to the cost of each order. 

Also during the conference, EPA Region 9 representative Cindy Wire presented to the Almond Board its second consecutive Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) Champion award. The EPA praised the almond industry for "its steadfast commitment to reducing the impact of agricultural pesticides and its willingness to take a leadership role in developing and facilitating sustainable agriculture techniques and practices." 

The almond industry has established itself as a leader in addressing environmental issues.  ABC Board members echoed the need for continued focus in the areas of land, water and air quality.  The Almond Industry Conference affirmed the progress that has been made and the industry's future commitment to this area.

For more information on the ABC's Environmental Stewardship program contact Colleen Aguiar at caguiar@almondboard.com or (209) 343-3209. You may also visit www.AlmondBoard.com for information on this program and other ABC programs.

Thirty years of research funded by almond growers through the Almond Board has given the industry tools to become better stewards of the land.  Today's almond farmers strive to continually improve their farming practices while maintaining a productive and healthy environment for future generations.    

EPA ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMPION award is presented by EPA Region 9 representative Cindy Wire, second from right, to Almond Board CEO Richard Waycott, left, and Almond Board Production Research and Environment Director Chris Heintz, along with A.G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

  For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit www.AlmondBoard.com