Sustainable California Citrus
These days the term "sustainability" has become somewhat of a buzz word in reference to responsible agriculture production. What exactly constitutes as sustainable varies depending on who you talk to. Ask a farmer and they will tell you that sustainability is about producing a legacy, ensuring that future generations too will be able to cultivate a viable crop on the same land. Sustainability is about learning from the past to prepare for the future and fulfilling an inherent responsibility to the environment and to society, working with the land in order to feed the world today and in the future. The California citrus industry has not only sustained, but thrived for over 125 years.
Integrated Pest Management
Follow this link to learn more about how citrus growers are utilizing integrated pest management programs to better protect their crop and sustain plant and environmental health through the use of beneficial insects and innovative cultural practices. Read more here.
Fresno State University Report on Agriculture Water Use in California
A study conducted by Fresno State University shows just how efficient irrigation practices are in California agriculture. Although agriculture is often to blame for reduced water availability, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, this report states that there is actually little potential for increased water supply by reducing agricultural water use. California citrus growers are at the forefront of improving irrigation effectiveness so as to produce a higher quality, higher yielding crop. Report the entire report here.
WATCH: Feast or Famine
This is an excellent video that clearly points out the facts that the citrus industry is inherently sustainable in its farming practices through food safety standards and Integrated Pest Management practices. Click here to watch.
United Fresh Foundation Tackles Sustainability in California Citrus
Burleson Smith, Vice President of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability for United Fresh joined CCM and other industry leaders on a tour of produce operations in Central and Southern California. Smith met with growers, packer and fresh cut market representatives to discuss practices they are taking to make their businesses more sustainable.
"Participants at the meeting each agreed that defining ‘sustainability' is easier in principle, but more difficult in the details," said Smith. "Clearly, each company represented has displayed elements of sustainability, and we were able to discuss the practices that make them successful over the long term. There was a sense that much of what is taken as ‘common sense' approaches to become more efficient, like drip irrigation, may escape notice as an element of being more sustainable."
Through the Sustainability Advisory Board, United Fresh aims to work with growers and others to clearly communicate steps the produce industry is taking. The discussion clearly indicated that there are concerns that any discussions about sustainability should take into consideration differences in regional and crop production practices/demands.
California Citrus Mutual's Joel Nelsen, who recently joined the Sustainability Advisory Board, introduced Smith to several citrus producers and CCM directors who discussed water, vegetation and pest management practices on their operations, including remote sensing and bio controls. From these discussions, it was clear that such practices are highly specific to the demands of each operation, and no "one size fits all" practices exist. Several of the growers mentioned concern about someone not familiar with their local conditions dictating practices that might not fit their operationas well as practices that have already been adopted to improve operational and economic efficiency.