In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, increasing the number of sustainable practices that are being implemented in orchards is helping to improve the overall industry in a myriad of ways. Expanding sustainability in the almond industry is assisting growers better manage water supplies and nitrogen needs, in turn improving overall crop efficiency and profitability of orchards. The Almond Board of California (ABC) has been working with growers for a number of years through a sustainability initiative.
“CASP, or the California Almond Sustainability Program is actually coming up on its tenth year. This fall will be ten years since growers have started to fill out self-assessments on what practices they are or not using within the orchard. We started with two modules, in the meanwhile, we’re now up to essentially nine modules,” said Gabriele Ludwig, Director for Sustainability and Environmental Affairs at ABC. “This whole program is set up not just to obtain information but really it’s also about grower education, time to reflect and this whole cycle of continuous improvement.”
Having growers submit information on their own sustainability efforts encourages a spirit of cooperation within the industry and helps dictate where more educational resources may need to be developed. “Typically you’re worrying about irrigation today, or pest management tomorrow, but really this sitting down and doing CASP gives a chance to sort of think about all the things you’re doing in an almond orchard and then also reflect on is there anything you could change, or do better,” said Ludwig.
Aggregating information directly from growers has also helped to increase public awareness of the industry’s sustainable practices, particularly during times of increased public scrutiny such as the last California drought. “We were able to tell the growers’ story because we had that data which we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise and we were actually one of the few crops who were able to credibly provide information countering to what others were saying,” Ludwig noted.
Listen to the report below.