The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports a preliminary California almond crop size of 1.020 billion pounds for 2003.

The Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts Preliminary Summary report shows a 6 percent decrease from the 2002 crop of 1.084 billion pounds and a 2 percent increase from the June 2003 objective estimate of one billion pounds. The report is based on 530,000 bearing acres of almonds.

Crop worth $1.42 Billion

According to NASS, the 2003 crop is estimated to have a farm value of $1.42 billion, an 18 percent increase from 2002. Almonds are California's No. 1 agricultural export and the U.S.' No. 1 horticultural export based on value.

The December 2003 Almond Industry Position Report, published by the Almond Board of California reported 985 million pounds of almond receipts as of Dec. 31, 2003. The board, the industry's federal marketing order, will make final crop size figures available in early August of 2004 with the conclusion of the 2003/2004 crop-year on July 31, 2004.

The annual NASS preliminary report can be viewed in its entirety at http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/nassr/fruit/pnf-bb/ncit0104.pdf.

The Almond Board of California does not track price. The board administers a grower-enacted federal marketing order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. Established in 1950, the board's charge is to promote the best quality almonds, California's largest tree nut crop. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit www.AlmondBoard.com.