The Almond Board of California says handlers had received a record 1.043 billion pounds as of Dec. 31, 2002. The announcement was made with the release of the industry's monthly position report, an account of all monthly receipts and shipments transacted by handlers from the previous month.

The former record of receipts for an entire crop year, 830 million pounds, was set during the 1999-00 crop year.

The report also highlighted domestic and international shipments for the month of December. International exports surged 30 percent over the same month last year, shipping 65 million pounds. Shipments within the United States also experienced a healthy increase of 17 percent vs. the same month last year moving 23 million pounds in the month of December.

On average, 98.5 percent of the crop is received by December of each crop year. Handlers will continue to report receipts through July 2003 at which time a year-end report will be made available. The December report surpasses the crop objective estimate of 980 million pounds by 6.4 percent. The annual estimate was issued in June 2002 by the California Ag Statistics Service.