Almond Update: ‘A Lot to Celebrate’ for the State of the Almond Industry

Brian GermanAlmond Update, News from our Sponsors

The 2021 Almond Conference officially began on Tuesday with a holistic look at the state of the almond industry. Attendees heard from growers, researchers, and other industry members about the ups and downs of the year. As with most years, there have been some successes and challenges. Almond Board of California Chair Brian Wahlbrink explained that overall, it has been a positive year. With multiple years now of significant production, demand has remained strong for California almonds.

Almond industry

“We’re doing a great job on the sales side through the 100+ processors that we have in the state. But really, we have such a dynamic industry,” said Wahlbrink. “We’ve had so many high shipments lately and over the course of the year that we’ve put ourselves in a good spot right now. So, I think there’s a lot to celebrate.”

The theme of this year’s Almond Conference was ‘Rooted in Success,’ highlighting the resiliency of the almond industry as a whole. Issues of water remain a challenge for producers, with drought conditions compounded by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. But growers have made great strides in efficiency in recent years, which Walhbrink explained has a lot to do with the increased tonnage. Even with the challenges, production is expected to remain fairly consistent over the next five years. “I think taking everything into consideration between prices and water and the future of some zones, I think we’re going to be hanging there as far as the tonnage goes,” Walhbrink.

Significant work has also been taking place cultivating markets to handle the high levels of production. Challenges with port congestion have affected the almond industry, as many agricultural products struggle to reach export markets. However, Walhbrink remains confident that once logistical issues begin to straighten out there is a significant opportunity for continued export success.

“We’ve seen explosive growth in China and India and we’re just dealing with that short-term port situation right now, so the numbers won’t be as great,” said Walhbrink. “But once we can get those resolved and back into those markets the consumers want almonds.”

Listen to Wahlbrink’s interview below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West