It’s both National Almond Day and National Innovation Day, according to the Almond Board of California. To celebrate, the board announced today that it’s investing $4.7 million in research projects that focus on next-generation farming and sustainability practices.
The funding will be divided between 82 independent third-party research projects that include irrigation efficiency, air quality and honey bee health.
“This commitment helps ensure that almond farmers and the industry as a whole have the tools to implement sustainable production practices that result in a plentiful, nutritious and safe food product for consumers the world over to enjoy,” said Almond Board Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs Gabriele Ludwig.
The Almond Board’s research programs were launched in 1973, and have funded projects across a range of topics. Most notably has been the attention paid to sustainable water use across the state, and protecting the honey bees that pollinate the crop each year.
These projects have clear results: Since 1982, California almond growers have cut back the amount of water needed to produce a pound of almonds by 33 percent. And since 1995, $2.3 million has been committed to supporting honey bee health research.
“By continually investing in research, we challenge ourselves to do more and continue to pave the way for almonds to be an economically, environmentally and social responsible crop for California.” said Almond Board CEO Richard Waycott.
Almond Board-funded research is supported by grants from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program.