Almond Update: What the Biomass Industry Rating Means for Almond Growers

Brian German Almond Update, Almonds, News from our Sponsors

The recent AA BDO Zone rating the North San Joaquin Valley received holds significant potential for almond growers. The rating helps to highlight the viability of the area to support a strong biomass industry. Josette Lewis, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer for the Almond Board of California (ABC) explained the rating is now available to companies around the world that are interested in feedstock for bio-based industries.

Biomass Industry

“We have a rare AA rating that’s really based on that woody biomass in particular from the almond industry, walnuts, a bit of pistachios, and some fruit trees as well,” Lewis noted. “It really raises the visibility, and it unites the efforts of the almond industry and the region to try to attract companies to consider siting facilities in that region.”

Despite constituting two-thirds of almond orchard output, hulls, shells, and woody biomass have historically been underutilized. The AA rating demonstrates to companies that the area centered in Modesto has the necessary elements to support a strong biomanufacturing industry. Development of a strong biomass industry in the area could help to provide another revenue stream for growers.

“The goal is to bring more dollars back to the grower,” said Lewis. “More diverse uses of those co-products will either directly add money back to the grower, perhaps defraying more of the cost of hulling and shelling as those co-products have higher value. Or in the case of the trees for example, finding alternative uses than just relying on whole orchard recycling.”

The rating came about through a collaboration between ABC, Stanislaus County, and BEAM Circular. Infrastructure investments in the area bring new opportunities for growers, but also new job prospects and tax revenue for the local economy. Lewis said they have already been in contact with an economic development agency in Fresno County with the goal of highlighting the viability of that region as well.

“[We] look forward to hopefully replicating this rating and hopefully again raising the visibility internationally as to the reliability, the quality, the really strong infrastructure that we have for almond biomass and almond co-products, as well as affiliated tree industries as well,” Lewis explained. “So, we hope that this is the first of at least two of these in the state.”

Listen to the segment below.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West