Assembly member Toni Atkins recently visited a local almond
orchard and processing facility to learn about the almond industry,
at the invitation of AHPA, the Ag Council of California and the Almond Board. Majority Leader Atkins, D-San Diego, one of the few urban members of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, noted the importance of an open dialogue between rural and urban communities to better understand issues affecting both.
Dave Phippen, of Travaille and Phippen, Inc., and Toni Atkins
discuss solar energy use in almond production.
With the orchard in bloom and still active with bees, Atkins learned that more than half of the commercially kept bees in the U.S. are used to pollinate almonds each year and that the almond industry has invested more money in bee research than any other U.S. commodity. In addition to bee health, other topics discussed
included nutrient management and its relationship with water quality, irrigation practices and air quality.
Atkins was impressed with the use of solar energy to support
the operations, and learned that a growing number of almond
operations use solar energy. During the facility tour, Atkins had the
opportunity to see product being hand-sorted, and was shown samples of the different grades and defects.