Criticism of California almond industry fueled by unavailable, unpublished poster

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RIPON, Calif., Sept. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Almond Alliance of Californiareports new research from Eastern Kentucky University researcher Dr. Kelly Watson involving almond acreage growth trends was presented at the geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference this week and is being called into question by the California almond community and the Almond Board of California which published this release yesterday:http://newsroom.almonds.com/content/almond-board-highlights-eastern-kentucky-university-almond-analysis-inaccuracies. The California almond industry has seen a growth in the number of LLCs in California as more and more growers are choosing to form limited liability companies to protect their assets and manage their operations

The poster, “Monitoring Change in Agricultural Land and Water Usage in California’s Central Valley Using Geospatial Techniques,” and associated research have been reported by some media outlets despite the fact that it has not been made publicly available, is unpublished and is yet to be peer-reviewed. The Almond Alliance of California is concerned that the researcher hasn’t responded to repeated requests from members of the almond industry for data sources, methodology and fact-checking steps.

While the poster presented at this week’s GSA conference remains unavailable, an earlier version of the poster “Monitoring Change in Agricultural Land and Water Usage in California’s Central Valley” from this spring isavailable online on the Eastern Kentucky University website and contains several distinct inaccuracies and areas of concern, which include:

  • A description of the project’s methodology indicates that it relied on “multispectral data NAIP imagery from 2007 and 2014” to delineate almonds and other crops. National Agricultural Imaging Program (NAIP) aerial imagery for California in 2007 does not exist.
  • The maps on the poster denoting where almonds are grown in Californiaindicate significant plantings located in places like Salinas Valley andNapa Valley. Widely available annual almond acreage reports published by the USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service indicate that almonds are not grown in those regions. It is also visually apparent to residents and visitors that almonds are not grown in these regions.
  • The results narrative of the poster states that “between 2007 and 2014, 650 thousand acres were converted to almonds in California’s Central Valley.” However, annual almond acreage reports for those same years indicate 280,000 acres of growth, nearly 2.5 times less than the researchers found.

The concerns summarized here suggest that this research has not been confirmed with on-the-ground verification and is perpetuating inaccuracies about the almond industry. Representatives of the California almond community look forward to reviewing this research and dialoging with the researchers to better understand their data sources, methodology, and validation steps in order to ensure the highest level of accuracy in research related to almonds.

About Post Author

Suman Munshi

Founder Editor of IBG NEWS (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018). Recipient of Udar Akash Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain Award 2018. National Geographic & Canon Wild Clicks 2011 jury and public poll winner. Studied Post Graduate Advance Dip in Computer Sc., MBA IT,LIMS (USA & Australia), GxP(USA & UK),BA (Sociology) Dip in Journalism (Ireland), Diploma in Vedic Astrology, Numerology, Palmistry, Vastu Shastra & Feng Sui 25 years in the digital & IT industry with Global MNCs' worked & traveled in USA, UK, Europe, Singapore, Australia, Bangladesh & many other countries. Education and Training advance management and R&D Technology from India, USA, UK, Australia. Over 30 Certification from Global leaders in R&D and Education. Computer Science Teacher, IT & LIMS expert with a wide fan following in his community. General Secretary West Bengal State Committee of All Indian Reporter’s Association
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