Over 3,900 people attended the Almond Board of California’s (ABC) 45th annual Almond Conference in Sacramento, California – the largest crowd ever. The major theme of this year’s conference, and the main topic of the State of the Industry address, was unleashing orchard potential with three guiding principles:
- Creating demand for almonds ahead of production
- Accelerating agriculture innovation
- Transforming the consumer landscape
“We are focused on what we are calling ‘unleashing orchard potential’,” said Richard Waycott, President and CEO, ABC. “We want to realize the potential of every aspect of almond farming and marketing with the increased assessment.”
Much of this potential can be found in the coproducts and biomass almond orchards produce in addition to the almond kernel. ABC is increasing research around coproduct uses to create more value for the industry with these products, embracing a zero-waste approach.
“Our orchards produce 4 products: kernels, hulls, shells and woody biomass,” said Waycott. “We have been focused on the kernel, and now we are going to take that approach and apply it to the coproducts.”
This year’s Conference boasted 60 speakers with session topics ranging from the Food Safety Modernization Act to global marketing to pollination to irrigation management, many sharing results from Almond Board-funded research projects Throughout the event, Pest Control Advisors and Certified Crop Consultants had the opportunity to earn 45 Continuing Education Units. All Conference presentations can be found at Almonds.com/ ConferencePresentations.
The tradeshow floor featured more than 270 exhibitors along with a research poster session and several Almond Stage presentations. Throughout the Conference, there were 3 keynote sessions focusing on innovation. Speakers included Daniel Lubetsky, founder and CEO of KIND Snacks, Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, John Haugen, Vice President/General Manager, 301 INC – Emerging Brand Elevator at General Mills and Tal Ronnen, cofounder of Kite Hill and executive chef at Crossroads.
ABC and the Almond Leadership Program again supported California FFA Foundation with a silent auction during the Conference and a live auction at the annual Gala Dinner. These two events raised over $30,000 for college scholarships to be awarded to outstanding California FFA students.
The next Almond Conference will be held December 4 – December 6, 2018 at the Sacramento Convention Center.