Thursday, June 25, 2015

Almond board pushes back against criticism

With drought-related water cutbacks causing many an urban lawn to go brown, environmentalists -- perhaps most notably those in advocacy organizations disguised as news media -- have seized on the opportunity to try to blame almond producers for using too much water and (gasp!) sending their product overseas. The Almond Board of California is pushing back, announcing today a $2.5 million commitment to production research that includes studies on irrigation efficiency and honeybee health.

From the almond board's press release:
Today, the Almond Board of California (ABC) announced a $2.5 million dollar commitment to independent, third-party research into next-generation farming practices. The funding is part of an ongoing effort by the almond community to develop innovative production practices that lead to continued improvement in efficient and sustainable1 farming.

Today's funding approval follows a natural progression of research efforts by the Almond Board that enable almond growers be good stewards of the land. In the last two decades, industry-funded research overseen by ABC allowed farmers to reduce the amount of water they use per pound of almonds by 33 percent2. It has also helped develop orchard practices that better promote healthy environments for honey bees.

"We've made great strides in building a sustainable industry over the past 40 years," said Almond Board CEO Richard Waycott. "Because of the industry's commitment to research and efficiency, growers use 33% less water to grow a pound of almonds than they did two decades ago. Today's investment will fuel the next round of innovation to ensure we continue to grow healthy, nutritious food while improving water efficiency and continuing to protect our pollination partners."
Waycott mentioned the blame game in a conference call with reporters, saying: "We've been caught up in the blame game and the shame game. We feel that's not a comfortable place to be, but I think our industry has done a lot (to conserve) ... We're focusing on the future and on solutions."

For my complete story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

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