SACRAMENTO — The Almond Board of California announced the investment of $5.9 million in 85 independent research projects and launched its Almond Orchard 2025 Goals Roadmap at its Dec. 10 annual conference in Sacramento.

The research explores next-generation farming practices and brings the California almond community’s total research investment since 1973 to $89 million.

California produces about 80% of the world’s almonds. The industry reached 1 billion pounds of production in 2005, now is about 2.5 billion and continues to grow, cashing in on consumer desire for healthful snacks.

Among the research projects next year are $678,000 for water sustainability research and $607,000 for identifying new uses for almond co-products.

“The California almond community takes a long-term view of success based on respect for the land and local communities,” said Holly King, board chairwoman.

Since 1982, California almond farmers have committed $8.1 million to 221 research projects on irrigation efficiency, groundwater recharge and water quality. Water to grow almonds was reduced 33% over 20 years and by 2025 the board commits to reducing water another 20%.

The board wants to achieve zero waste by 2025 by full utilization of hulls and shells.

Since 1977, the board spent $3.5 million on 79 research projects involving uses in dairy feed, livestock bedding and electrical generation. The $607,000 this year funds 13 studies looking at uses in recycled plastics and biofuel.

Two more goals are increasing adopting of environmentally friendly pest management tools 25% and reducing harvest dust 50% by 2025.

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