A leaner 50th annual almond conference this past December reflected the times almond growers are living in. While the conference was pared down, attendance was up as growers looked to panel sessions focused on reducing input costs while driving markets for expanded consumption of alomonds in coming years.
The Almond Board of California and Land IQ estimate the removal of around 60,421 acres of almonds for the year through September 2022, approximately 4.5% of the 1.3 million bearing acres in 2022. Compared to removals in 2021, this may be the first year in the last two decades that more acres have been removed than replanted. It will likely also result in the first year of declined production in recent memory.
With times so challenging, speakers at this year’s conference said they will call for a demand and supply correction as well as expanded efforts to target new consumers. While exports have also been a focus of alomond industry growth, this year’s conference focused on attracting younger domestic consumers. Instead of the usual panels of importers, attendees were introduced to social media influencers who the Almond Board will support to get health and lifestyle messages out to potential younger demographics in the U.S. Growers and crop consultants also flocked to research poster presentations and exhibitors looking for answers to production challenges.
On a positive note, many of the shipping contraints that challenged the industry the last couple years are beginning to correct themselves largely through legislative efforst to constrain shipping line manipulation, industry efforts to facilitate the flow of nuts to ports and a reduction in demand for imported goods that were causing some shipping contaiuners to leave California ports empty.
Marni Katz has lived and raised her family in the San Joaquin Valley for nearly 30 years. In that time, she has covered agriculture for a number of leading ag publications and organizations and gained a reputation for understanding and digesting complex information and presenting it to growers. She enjoys learning about new ways growers can farm more profitably and efficiently, and working with researchers and stakeholders to bring that information to the growing community. In her free time, Marni plays saxophone with jazz groups throughout the Valley and is an avid tennis nut.