Grant Program to Complement Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program

Brian GermanAlmonds, Industry, Nuts & Grapes

Blue Diamond Growers (BDG) has been furthering sustainability efforts within the almond industry for several years. Grower members can receive a higher price per pound of almonds by participating in the Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program (OSIP). BDG Director of Sustainability, Dr. Dan Sonke said the central element of the program is the California Almond Stewardship Platform from the Almond Board of California.

Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program

“This is the industry’s sustainable agriculture platform that engages growers across a wide array of sustainable ag issues and allows us to document where we are as a co-op on adopting those practices,” Sonke explained. “By participating, we get a cumulative dataset that we can use to share with our customers and interact with other stakeholders on how we’re doing on sustainability.”

The incentive program has been largely successful, with 40 percent of BDG orchard acreage enrolled in OSIP. More than $1.74 million has been paid directly to growers through the program. Additionally, 11 percent of all BDG acreage is Bee Friendly Farming certified. Sonke notes that OSIP is also a complementary component of the Blue Diamond USDA Climate-Smart Grant program. That program helps to further incentivize and advance the adoption of sustainable production practices within the almond industry.

“We do ask all of our growers who want to get the grant dollars to also do the Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program. That provides additional benefits for us. It provides a higher price for them. So, everybody wins we hope,” said Sonke. “It also benefits the entire almond industry because that data – again, grower data is protected and private – but the data cumulatively helps the entire industry portray the good benefits and good growing practices of California almonds to our markets around the world.”

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West