These cumulative findings are encouraging, though not surprising. We know that California almond growers are at the forefront of integrating sustainable strategies and technologies. The California Almond Sustainability Program provides growers and their representatives an opportunity to collectively tell their sustainability story to buyers, consumers and public policy makers.

The program is also designed to create a cycle of continuous improvement for growers to self-assess their current practices, interpret and compare where they lie on the sustainability continuum, and develop plans to further implement sustainable almond farming practices. For instance, although many growers use recommended irrigation system infrastructure, data shows that some may further optimize performance by testing for distribution uniformity more often. Data indicates that distribution uniformity tests were done on fewer than half of the assessed orchards within the last year.

Individualized reports give each participant a snapshot of their use of sustainable practices in comparison to other almond growers throughout the state. Workshops can provide insight into a range of practices and technologies to further improve operational efficiencies.

The Almond Board has set forth an ambitious goal this year of tripling grower participation in CASP to 600 growers. We know that it can be asking a lot for growers to dedicate several hours to participate in an assessment workshop and are working to make the most of growers’ participation.

Based on grower input gleaned through their participation in CASP, the Almond Board and SureHarvest are partnering this year with UC Cooperative Extension, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers and/or private industry to design and implement innovative workshops that will add value for growers.

A number of upcoming workshops will use an expanded format, coupling self-assessment with expert presentations on almond production topics such as irrigation management. The first two workshops will be held on Nov. 18 in Yuba City and Nov. 29 in Woodland. A self-assessment–only workshop will also be held on Dec. 6 in Modesto, prior to the annual Almond Industry Conference.

This year’s conference will illustrate the self-assessment process to growers at an interactive session on Thursday, Dec. 8. Grower participants will use handheld remote controls to answer questions about their practices taken from the pest-management self-assessment module. The session will allow the audience to see the cumulative results and discuss specific practices with an Extension entomologist.

Go to AlmondBoard.com/farmpress23 for more information about workshops. For additional information or questions about the California Almond Sustainability Program, email sustainability@almondboard.com or call the Almond Board office in Modesto at (209) 343-3200. To sign up for a workshop, contact Debye Hunter by email at dhunter@almondboard.com or phone (209) 343-3230.