The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports California’s almond acreage increased in 2015.
Bearing acres — orchards old enough to produce a crop — are at 890,000 acres, up 1.1 percent from 2014. Total almond acres for 2015 were estimated at 1,110,000, up from 1,050,000 acres the previous year .
This growth follows a twenty year trend in which California almond acreage has doubled, matching increasing global demand for heart-healthy, nutrient-dense almonds At the same time, there are concerns about competition for limited resources in California, raising questions such as: What has this acreage replaced? What are the implications on water use? And what are the implications for California overall?
Some have suggested that the shift towards higher value, permanent crops has led to an increase in agricultural water use. However, according to the California Department of Water Resources, the total amount of water used by agriculture has held steady since 2000, and has actually declined over a longer period of time, largely due to more efficient irrigation management and infrastructure.
“Almonds take up about 14 percent of the state’s irrigated farmland but uses 9.5 percent of California’s agricultural water, less than a proportionate share,” said Almond Board of California (ABC) President and CEO, Richard Waycott. “Because of the industry’s commitment to research and efficiency, growers use 33 percent less water to grow a pound of almonds than they did two decades ago.”
To learn more about these and additional sustainability initiatives, please visit almondsustainability.com.