New Taskforce Developed to Address Alternative Uses for Biomass, Hulls, and Shells

One result  of the strategic planning earlier  this  year  was a movement of all research related activities conducted by the Almond Alliance to the Almond Board.  The Almond Board working closely with the Almond Alliance has established a task force to look  at alternative uses for almond biomass (sticks, orchard removals, etc.),

hulls, and shells. With the crop  production expected to increase  30% by 2020 finding alternatives uses is a priority for both organizations. The Alliance and some  of our members will  serve  on the task force which will  build on research previously funded by the Alliance as well  as explore completely new  avenues.  There  are three  general avenues  of research being pursued; new  uses, exports, and orchard reuse.

To view  the New Task Force press release provided by Almond Board of California,  Click HERE

Legislative Advocacy

On   midnight,  August   31,  2016   the   legislature  gaveled  down   the   2015-16 Legislative Session.  The legislature worked to send  a host  of  critical bills  to the Governor for consideration by  September 30th, the  deadline for approving or vetoing legislation.

The 2015-16 legislative session will be known as one marked with historic progressive measures  being passed  – an increase  in minimum wage,  ag overtime and  climate change  were among the many bills signed  into  law.  With this progressive legislative leadership and focus, the Almond Alliance worked tirelessly with coalitions on key issues throughout the  session. The Alliance tracked 72 bills  and took positions on 22 this year.

Biomass Relief – Support

The  Almond Alliance,  working with Assemblymembers Dahle  and  Gordon and  a coalition representing various interests was  successful in getting SB 859  passed by the legislature and signed  by the Governor. This measure  includes an important but  modest proposal to ensure biomass facilities continue to operate as an integral piece  of  the  state’s  management of  wood waste  for the  next  five  years.  SB 859 requires the State’s utilities to procure 125 MWs of biomass power annually for the next  five  years; twenty percent of the biomass feedstock can be supplied from ag and urban  sources.  125 MW’s is the annual equivalent of the power generated by an estimated 4-5  biomass plants.  A very  important element of  the  bill  is that closed plants will  have  access  to the  bidding process as longs  as they  were  operational prior to June 1, 2013.

This bill  will  certainly provide some  short  term relief  to biomass plants,  which is a positive for the  almond industry since  it relies  on  biomass for orchard removals, huller/sheller sticks, and other woody byproducts.


Almond Alliance Biomass Coalition Efforts Continue – Multi Industry Coalition Letter Sent to Gov. Brown

Almond Alliance  hosted a coalition meeting of biomass producers, forestry professionals, urban waste collectors, agricultural entities and city sanitation district advocates to develop a strategy to address the immediate crisis as well as build a model for a sustainable biomass industry.  The biomass industry has had significant challenges over the past few years and this has created a crisis for almond hullers, processors and growers.  With five biomass plants having shut down in the last two years, and Mendota Biomass closing last month, chipping rates have increased from $350 per acre to over $1200.

Almond Alliance has helped form a coalition in Sacramento to address the problem.  Members of the coalition also attended a meeting at CDFA to discuss the impact on ag and possible solutions.

The Almond Alliance  coalition consisting of biomass producers, forestry professionals, urban waste collectors, agricultural entities and city sanitation district advocates submitted a letter Governor Brown as part of a comprehensive strategy to address the immediate crisis as well as build a model for a sustainable biomass industry.

  • A letter was sent from a broad coalition  of ag, urban waste entities, forestry industry and others to the PUC, Governor Brown and various other agencies including Cal EPA, CDFA, Natural Resources Agency, Air Resources Board, and CalRecycle encouraging sustainable longer term contracts for biomass producers.
  • A letter from a broad section of legislators has been submitted to the Public Utilities Commission asking for immediate action to require utilities to implement sustainable contracts with biomass plants.

By bringing all the diverse interests together with our traditional ag allies, Almond Alliance has provided a path for a broad coalition to maximize effectiveness and outreach to offer the greatest opportunity for a successful short term and long term solution to the crisis impacting almond hullers, shellers and growers.

Almond Alliance Comments on Proposed State Composting Regulation

Almond Alliance recently submitted comment to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) regarding their proposed composting regulations.

While we’ve concluded that CalRecycle and local enforcement agencies (LEAs) shouldn’t be regulating AHPA members as composters or hull and shell as compostable materials due to the majority of our product going to animal feed and other non-composting beneficial uses – we felt it was important to make that point loud-and-clear and to request explicit exclusion of our feed and other beneficial use activities from the composting rules.