California farmers are among the most regulated in the U.S., and keeping abreast of various environmental regulations is a big task for growers. At the same time, almond growers often complain that regulators have little understanding about what it takes to grow almonds.
The Almond Board’s annual Environmental Stewardship Tour brings legislative and regulatory agency staff to the farm for an up-close look at how almond growers produce their crops, the good practices employed, and the impacts of the laws and regulations imposed on farmers. In past years, the tour has taken participants to small farms, large farms and huller/sheller operations. The tours feature practices related to water supply and irrigation management, air quality, pest management and harvest operations.
This year’s tour, the eighth since the program was created, will take participants to eastern Stanislaus County to visit the orchards managed by Lent-Burden Farming, which will feature its innovative water conservation and irrigation management methods.
The Environmental Stewardship Tour provides participants with a personal look at a grower’s operation and an opportunity to meet real farmers on real farms. More importantly, it has provided an open dialogue with California’s policy makers and allowed the almond industry to showcase exactly how we produce the safe and nutritious California Almond. Some say that communication is the key to solving any problem. If this is true, and I believe it is, then the Environmental Stewardship Tour has become an important tool in opening a line of communication with our legislators and the regulatory community.
Mel Machado, Chair