The California Prune Board has reinforced its commitment to sustainability by joining the US Sustainability Alliance, an organisation that represents 25 farming, fishery and forestry organisations
The California Prune Board has joined the US Sustainability Alliance (USSA).
The member organisation for US agriculture represents 25 farming, fishery and forestry organisations and supply chain partners, promoting sustainable US production practices and products to a global market.
Spanning 43,000 acres of land across the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, California Prunes lead the premium prune category worldwide thanks to the craftsmanship at work in the orchards.
The Californian Prune industry generates millions for the US state’s economy and supports thousands of jobs across farms; many of which have been passed down through generations. While there is heritage, there is also progress, with growers embracing innovative technologies and sustainable practices that conserve energy, reduce water use, and improve the safety and quality of prune production while ensuring longevity for the industry.
The industry has implemented thoughtful and scientifically-based practices to help protect the environment while producing safe, nutritious prunes
- Esther Ritson-Elliott, Director of International Marketing and Communications, California Prune Board
In a state renowned for drought, water conservation efforts are being made across a number of orchards, with precise micro-irrigation systems significantly reducing water usage. The work done by the Mariani Family in Vacaville, for example, has saved more than eight million gallons thanks to the utilisation of a water purification plant to recycle water waste for use in the orchards.
Renewable energy is also being utilised by handlers and growers like Sandra Mitchell of the Mitchell Ranch in Yuba City, who has invested in solar arrays to provide a major source of energy for the farm.
As part of efforts to maintain nutrient-dense soil and improve irrigation efficiency, some farmers are utilising cover crops and other methods such as Marysville’s Ranvir Singh, of Feather River Farms, where grasses are left to grow to help capture carbon and clean the air.
Soil health is also the focus of Yuba City’s John Taylor, of Taylor Brothers Farms, who is focusing on improving prune tree health and productivity by injecting nitrogen and trialling beneficial bacteria in his soil.
Meanwhile, techniques to improve the ecosystem and habitats are being utilised widely across the orchards, including the positioning of owl boxes to encourage smart pest control, and the use of apiaries for crop pollination.
With California Prune growers working in partnership with nature, the California Prune Board and the US Sustainability Alliance are keen to highlight their progress to a worldwide audience.
Esther Ritson-Elliott, Director of International Marketing and Communications, California Prune Board, said: “As part of strides towards sustainable practices, California Prune growers and handlers invest in orchard management and research that demonstrates its commitment to the planet, and the communities in which farmers operate and serve."
Ritson-Elliott continued: “The industry has implemented thoughtful and scientifically-based practices to help protect the environment while producing safe, nutritious prunes. Now, as part of the US Sustainability Alliance, we aim to continue to share our knowledge and practices with our fellow members while promoting California Prunes’ sustainability initiatives to a global audience.”