USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports that California’s almond acreage continued to increase in 2018. Bearing acres, or orchards that have matured enough to produce a crop, are reported at 1.09 million acres, which is up 6% from 2017.
Total almond acres for 2018 is estimated at 1.39 million acres, up 2% from the previous year. With this increase, almond growers remain committed to continuous improvement, finding ways to responsibly produce more almonds to meet domestic demand (the US is the largest market for almonds, with California-grown almonds making up 30% of the market) and global demand.
Last year, the Almond Board of California (ABC) Board of Directors prioritized industry resources in four key areas that will ensure almonds remain as leaders in California agriculture as they work towards producing an economically, environmentally and socially responsible crop.
These four key areas – water use, harvest dust reduction, environmentally friendly pest management, zero waste – ladder up to the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals, which build upon a history of significant industry achievements. For example, over the past two decades growers have reduced the amount of water it takes to grow a pound of almonds by 33%.
On the processing side there have been zero outbreaks of foodborne illness attributed to California almonds since the rollout of a ground-breaking pasteurization program a decade ago. In fact, earlier this month the Almond Board was selected to receive the GMA Food Safety Award from the International Association for Food Protection, in recognition of the Board’s “pre-eminence in and contributions to the field of food safety.”
“The California almond industry continues to prove itself as a leader in responsible practices, from the orchard to the processor,” said Almond Board President and CEO Richard Waycott. “The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals act as a guidepost on our journey towards continued advancement and innovation throughout the industry. With the latest acreage numbers, we’re confident in our ability to continue to meet global demand and to provide the world with a high-quality product.”
On Friday, May 10, 2019, NASS will release the 2019 Subjective Report, which provides an initial forecast of the upcoming crop. Data for the Subjective Report is based on opinions obtained from almond growers in a survey sent by NASS. Almond growers will soon receive the NASS survey and are encouraged to participate.