Blue Diamond Awarded $45 Million from USDA to Expand Climate Smart Orchard Programs
Funds are part of historic federal investment to combat climate crisis and protect U.S. lands and natural resources
recycling. As a dynamic global consumer packaged goods company, Blue Diamond ’s unique market position enables it to connect climate-smart almond farms to consumer markets through branded almond products as well as an international ingredient business with major multinational brands all committed to climate impact reductions. Dr. Dan Sonke, director of Sustainability for Blue Diamond Growers , facilitated the co-op’s application for the USDA funds in the spring of this year. “We are honored by this award, which will fund on-the-ground climate-smart practices to not only sequester carbon to combat climate change, but also enhance the biodiversity of orchards and the soil. These regenerative practices enhance the resiliency of our farmers in a changing climate and with global market challenges.” Sonke says next steps for Blue Diamond are to work with growers, USDA officials, and applicant partners to finalize the scope and timing of proposed activities along with the related funding. More information on Blue Diamond ’s existing commitment to sustainable practices can be found on the Sustainability website at bluediamond.com/Sustainability and will be shared in the 2022 Sustainability Report anticipated for release in mid-November. Further information on the grant will be highlighted in the Sustainability session at our annual meeting on November 16 and in the November/ December issue of Almond Facts.
This September, Blue Diamond was awarded $45 million in funds provided by the USDA as part of a massive climate protection partnership activation. Blue Diamond was one of 70 partners named out of 450 proposals submitted to the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities: usda.gov/climate-solutions/ climate-smart-commodities, for a first round of funding. Almonds are the top perennial specialty crop in the U.S. as measured by value, and Blue Diamond Growers is the largest supplier of almonds from California. Mark Jansen, president and CEO of Blue Diamond Growers , praised the announcement. “This is a historic opportunity for our 112-year old cooperative representing nearly half of the almond growers in California,” said Jansen. “These funds will help significantly accelerate and expand the stewardship impact that our multi-generational family farms are already making in orchards throughout the state. On behalf of our nearly 3,000 grower-owners, I applaud the USDA for a vision to commit meaningful investment in furthering climate smart American agricultural production.” According to Jansen, the funding will be used in the co-op’s orchards, to help Blue Diamond growers expand existing implementation of cover crops, conservation plantings, hedgerows, and practice whole orchard
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