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Blue Diamond Growers Launch Grant Program

Blue Diamond Growers launched its USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Grant Program with its 3,000 grower-owners this week. The program is part of an effort to expand the use of climate-smart practices in almond orchards.

The initial launch of the program offers almond growers no-cost seed and a financial incentive for implementing cover crops and/or conservation cover on their land. These practices will work towards sequestering carbon and will enhance the biodiversity of orchards, while improving soil health, according to Blue Diamond. Growers will work with civil society technical partners, Pollinator Partnership and Project Apis m., to implement these practices.

"This is an exciting and unique opportunity for growers outside of the traditional federal, state, and local resources that are typically available to them," said Dan Sonke, senior director of sustainability, Blue Diamond Growers, in a statement. "We know that cost and technical barriers are the largest hurdles to overcome when implementing climate-smart practices. This project provides resources to accelerate our grower-owners' advances in soil health, biodiversity, and climate-smart agriculture."

The program will also work to identify almond-specific methods for quantifying the greenhouse gas impacts of implementing climate-smart practices and will explore market-based mechanisms to reward growers for their stewardship work.

The USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Grant Program further extends Blue Diamond's Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program. OSIP has more than half of Blue Diamond acreage enrolled, with over 15 percent of Blue Diamond's acreage being Bee Friendly Farming certified.

"Not only does this program benefit growers, but food companies and retailers as well," said Sonke. "Customers can partner with Blue Diamond to support the use of climate-smart practices which benefit the climate, soil health, and orchard biodiversity, and thereby procure almonds with a measured GHG reduction quantification that helps meet their own climate and sustainability targets."

Blue Diamond Growers will largely begin to implement the grant-related practices across California beginning in October, after this year's harvest.

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