Almond Conference Offers Sharp Focus On Farm-Level Topics

    Almond orchard ready for harvest. Nuts in the middles. Photo: Photo: Sara Savary, AgFax Media

    COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives this year and The Almond Conference 2020 is no different. For the first time, the annual industry conference will be conducted entirely in a virtual setting, and while different than the in-person conferences of years past, this year’s event will provide growers the opportunity to attend a session in the morning, work in the afternoon and join networking events throughout the day.

    Still, similar to last year, the 2020 Conference will offer growers the opportunity to engage with exhibitors in the virtual trade show, hear from industry leaders during the State of the Industry address, and attend a variety of educational sessions where researchers, industry experts and ABC officials will share production information on a range of topics.

    “This truly will be an exceptional conference and my hope is you will attend all or part of the proceedings, especially if you have been an infrequent participant in the past,” said Richard Waycott, President and CEO of the Almond Board. “There is tremendous value to be derived from this annual event – which is free – so please mark the sessions on your calendar!”

    For growers, the following TAC sessions – focused on production issues as well as global trade and the impact of legislation in California – may be especially valuable. We encourage growers to mark these sessions in their calendars and watch the sessions live, or visit to ABC’s The Almond Conference 2020 YouTube playlist where recordings of most of the sessions will be made available the week after TAC.

    Tuesday, Dec. 8

    • 8 a.m.: State of the Industry address: Waycott, ABC Chair Kent Stenderup and Vice Chair Brian Wahlbrink will highlight key trends around the world that affect growers and processors, in addition to providing a look ahead into strategic ABC initiatives.
    • 9 a.m.: Using Incentives to Drive Innovation and Achieve 2025 Goals: Learn how to take advantage of financial incentives offered by multiple agencies to support you in adopting new practices, many of which support the industry’s journey toward the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals.
    • 10 a.m.: How to Maximize Groundwater Recharge: This session will focus on ways the almond community can support efforts to address groundwater overdraft, in addition to discussing the challenges to maximizing recharge.
    • 11 a.m.: New Perspectives in Irrigation Management: Hear the latest ideas around how to answer key irrigation questions such as when to start irrigating, how to implement an advanced approach to estimate how much to irrigate, and new concepts to consider when applying water.
    • 11 a.m.: Optimizing Orchard Profitability: Factors to Consider: With the industry facing lower prices and higher input costs, calculating the right mix of inputs critical to maintaining profitability and ensuring orchard health can be challenging. During this live discussion, panelists will provide factors to consider based on years of experience in the field, noting what has been most valuable, as well red flags to avoid.

    Wednesday, Dec. 9

    •  8 a.m.: General Session — The Big Picture: How Global Events Will Impact American Agriculture in the Years Ahead: Join a conversation with former U.S. Trade Representative Darci Vetter and former USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden as they talk about how events happening around the world today will impact American agriculture and the California almond industry for years to come.
    • 9 a.m.: Almond Varieties and Selections: Join this session to learn more about the latest national and international varieties and selections under evaluation, in addition to ABC’s overall breeding strategy.
    • 9 a.m.: California Legislative Update: What Happens Next?: During this sessionCalifornia legislative leaders will share their insight on what to expect in 2021 related to the coronavirus and other key issues.
    • 10 a.m.: Adding Value in the Middle: Hulling & Shelling: This session will cover the latest research on potential high-value uses for hulls and shells as well as the latest technologies in hulling and shelling to produce high-quality hulls and shells.
    • 11 a.m.: The Journey Toward Dust Reduction and Off-Ground Harvest: Learn about the latest findings in dust reduction and off-ground harvest research, and where the industry stands in its journey toward dust reduction.
    • 11 a.m.: Global Trade – Looking at the 2021 Horizon: In 2020, U.S. trade negotiators have been actively engaged in market access issues, trade agreements and addressing nontariff barriers that can impact almond exports. What is on the horizon for 2021?

    Thursday, Dec. 10

    • 8 a.m.: General Session: Political Outlook: 2020 Election and Beyond: Charlie Cook is one of most sought-after pundits in American politics. His live appearance at The Almond Conference comes at a pivotal time, falling between the December 8 “safe harbor deadline” for state electoral college slates and December 14, when electors will meet in their states to cast their votes. Beyond the outcome of the presidential race, Cook will analyze the outcome of the “down ballot” races that will determine the makeup of the House and Senate for the next two years and other dynamics shaping the American political landscape.
    • 9 a.m.: Organic Almonds: Why and How from a Grower’s Perspective: Organic almond growers discuss why organic provides a profitable opportunity for them, how they navigated the transition from conventional to organic and some of the challenges they face.
    • 10 a.m.: Effective Weed Management Considerations: Experts will discuss how to identify which weeds are growing in an orchard, how they may be best managed in the tree rows, when mowing is advantageous and other factors in weed management.
    • 11 a.m.: IPM Tips for Key Insects and Diseases: Learn about IPM practices for common threats to an orchard, including navel orangeworm, web-spinning mites, Alternaria, hull rot, and other key insect pests.

    There still is time to register here for the conference.

    A complete conference agenda also is available online.

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