How We Grow

2021 May/June How We Grow

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to growers for free provides a great starting point for growers to understand how their water is being applied across the orchard. And, in the process, this testing can uncover some issues that may be overlooked because they appear insignificant at first glance," said Devol. For instance, findings from last year's evaluations by Tehama County RCD showed 59% of systems had clogged emitters or sprinklers with no flow, while 33% of systems had leaks in tubing, fitting or sprinkler lines. Pollination partners Since 1995, the Almond Board has funded 126 research projects focused on improving pollinator health. This research has led to guidance for growers on how to best protect honey bee health both during bloom and year round, and explores the vast benefits of implementing cover crops in an orchard system to both improve pollinator health and provide value to the orchard ecosystem. While ABC works with various beekeeper, pollinator and other organizations, there are two that also work especially closely with industry members: Project Apis m. and Pollinator Partnership. Last year, the Almond Board announced its partnership with Pollinator Partnership, the world's largest non-profit dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. One element of that partnership was the alignment of ABC's California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) and Pollinator Partnership's Bee Friendly Farming (BFF) program, which encourages planting cover crops and permanent habitat such as hedgerows to promote pollinator health year round. With this alignment, growers who complete certain assessments in CASP that are required to meet BFF criteria can streamline registration for the BFF program and become Bee Friendly certified. "Pollinator Partnership's Bee Friendly Farming Certification is a perfect conduit to increase pollinator benefits and to ensure protection and sustainability within the almond industry. Almond growers are terrific partners in best management practices," said Laurie Adams, president and CEO of Pollinator Partnership. When it comes to sourcing cover crop seed, growers can turn to Project Apis m. This organization manages the Seeds for Bees program, which provides California growers with a variety of seed mixes that bloom at times of the year when natural forage is scarce, but managed and native bees are active. While the mixes are designed to meet the nutritional needs of honey bees, they also provide habitat and nutrition for other pollinators and beneficial insects. In the spring of 2020, the Almond Board announced its Bee+ Scholarship, which brings together Pollinator Partnership and Project Apis m. to provide free cover crop seed to almond growers and encourage planting of cover crops. ABC will provide the scholarship in 2021, as well (see "Cover Crop Resources Clarifies Confusion" for more details). "Working with organizations like the Almond Board of California, Pollinator Partnership and many more, along with many researchers, almond growers and beekeepers, we can achieve far more collectively than we can separately," said Project Apis m. Executive Director Danielle Downey. "Protecting and improving honey bee health, not only during the short time that bees are in our orchards but year round, is critical to the success of every almond grower – responsible farming is at the heart of what the California almond community does. By working with national organizations such as Pollinator Partnership and Project Apis m., we are expanding our focus to all pollinators, viewing working lands as part of biodiverse ecosystems," said Lewis. To learn more about ABC partnerships or how to leverage materials and education from these collaborative efforts, email Since 2013, almond growers have planted 41,200 acres of cover crops in partnership with Project Apis m. 1 1 Billy Synk. Director of Pollination Services. Project Apis m. November 2020. Represents total plantings from 2013-present. Almond Board of California 14

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