The good news about almonds doesn't stop at the four years of record shipments, last season's unprecedented billion pound harvest or the recent U. S. Food and Drug Administration health claim touting the benefits of consuming almonds and other nuts to lower cholesterol.

The industry received more good news recently when the Almond Board of California recommended to the USDA a reduction in its grower-enacted federal marketing order assessment on the marketable kernel pound weight of almonds from 2.5 cents to 2 cents for the 2003 crop.