Today’s Internet is a highly-charged, information super magnet which attracts about 2.2 billion people worldwide daily seeking answers. Searches run the gamut from how to skip a rock across water to the nutritional benefits of U.S.-grown tree nuts.

The website reveals about 78 percent of the U.S. population has Internet access, mostly high-speed, compared with about two-thirds in Europe and Australia/Oceania.

The Internet is a very crowded place. With a plethora of special interests online, the competition for mouse clicks by Internet surfers is extremely vigorous.

For agricultural interests wanting to grasp the global consumer’s food dollar, highly effective, food-based websites are critical to meet the demands of today’s Internet savvy consumer interested in foods which contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

“Eight billion pages of online material help customers decide what to buy and not buy, including information analyzed before they enter a grocery store,” says John Hartman, president of MEA Digital in San Diego, Calif.

“This provides a fantastic opportunity for you (the pistachio industry) to provide that information,” said Hartman, who spoke during the 2012 American Pistachio Growers’ (APG) Conference held in San Diego, Calif., this spring.

(For more, see: Pistachio industry poised to sell record crops)

The same point is valid for other high-value California tree nut industries including walnuts and almonds, plus farm products in general.

MEA Digital recently launched the APG’s updated website,

“There are more than 1 million websites that mention pistachios,” Hartman noted. “That’s great but it means we need a fantastic website to stand out in the crowd.”

In the coming months, the APG website will include international versions in the Mandarin, Italian, Japanese, German, Spanish, and French languages.

The Internet is not your father’s Oldsmobile. It began with the development of computers in the 1950s; mostly for scientific purposes. The commercial Internet was rolled out around 1995.

Today, advertising and articles in print and via electronic sources through the Internet, radio, and television help spur global food sales. It is imperative for consumers to learn about agriculture so producers, processors, and marketers can continue to expand production to feed the burgeoning world, expected to reach 9 billion people by the year 2050. The current global population is 7 billion.

APG Board Chair Jim Zion told the 650-plus crowd that global pistachio sales need to increase 15 percent to 20 percent annually to keep pace with the estimated 100,000 acres of non-bearing acreage expected to enter bearing production over the next several years.

Currently, 250,000 acres of pistachio trees are in the ground (150,000 bearing and the 100,000 non-bearing acres).

California producers grow 98.5 percent of U.S. commercial pistachio production. The balance is grown in Arizona and New Mexico.

The same methodology is true for California-grown walnuts and almonds. To succeed, production from increasing acreage must be sold in domestic and international markets for supply and demand to be in sync. This helps create good producer prices essential for a long-term viable industry.