The feds have a hunch that almond orchards in California have reached 1 million acres.
That preliminary number for 2017 is a sign that the industry keeps booming despite a five-year drought that stressed many growers. And it’s welcome news to the holders of an estimated 97,000 jobs generated by farming, processing and the ripple effect.
The job number came from the Almond Board of California, based in Modesto. The state accounts for about 80 percent of the world’s supply.
The acreage report is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This week, it announced a final figure of 940,000 acres for 2016 and suggested that 60,000 have been added since.
These numbers are only for orchards old enough to be harvested. An additional 300,000 acres have been planted and will yield nuts within a few years.
The federal agency will make its first projection of the 2017 crop May 10. The harvest will start in August.
Elsewhere on the Farm Beat:
The seventh annual Fresno Food Expo, showcasing San Joaquin Valley products to the world, will take place July 26-27.
The event will include a trade show where food and beverage producers can meet buyers for grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses. The public can take part in tastings during a portion of the expo, to be held at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center.
The keynote speaker will be Phil Lempert, also known as the Supermarket Guru, a leading expert on food trends.
Once again, the expo will feature new-product contests. Last year, Aubrey Lim won the Buyer’s Choice Award with a beef-heart version of jerky made at the SnackMasters plant in Hilmar.
Registration and other information is at www.fresnofoodexpo.com.
Nominations for the 11th annual Leopold Conservation Award, for careful stewards of the state’s farms and ranches, are due July 14.
The $10,000 honor is named for Aldo Leopold, who helped inspire the conservation movement with his 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac.”
The award will be announced at the annual meeting in December of the California Farm Bureau Federation. It sponsors the contest with Sustainable Conservation, which has offices in San Francisco and Modesto, and the Sand County Foundation in Wisconsin.
More information is at www.leopoldconservationaward.org.
John Holland: 209-578-2385
By the numbers
428,000: Acres of California almonds in 1996
610,000: Acres in 2006
940,000: Acres in 2016
1 million: Initial estimate for 2017
Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service