Monday, December 7, 2015

Each Spring I open my private collection of trees to the public for a free conference which draws hundreds of attendees from across America. The lectures are focused around soil health and how to fix soil, in addition to tree cultivation, and growing nutrient dense food. I invite professionals recognized globally for being the experts on the topic of soil ecology and molecular biology of soil health. 30 years ago when I started the site had terrible soil that was saline, sodic and alkaline clay that's 12 feet deep, the vicious triad of horrible soil. The pH measured as high as 9.2 with a low of 8.5 in the best areas. I was told by my soil science professor in college that it was impossible to fix this type of soil, however today I have one of the highest active carbon levels measured by the USDA NRCS in the United States and I've never added compost, worm castings or the other stuff used to try and build soil. Hundreds of tree species now thriving on the site are labeled for the event, and the grounds have a nursery with over 100,000 trees in container cultivation for our retail Trees That Please Nursery in Los Lunas NM. If you want to attend one of these spring garden tours, and learn how to use bio-mimicry of molecular biology to fix soil fast, keep an eye on our nursery web site for the event datewww.treesthatplease.org






Thursday, December 3, 2015

Our annual tradition at Trees That Please is to sell living Christmas Trees. Once again we have an outstanding selection of beautiful live nursery grown conifers. Come and see our wide selection while it lasts.




Monday, November 23, 2015

Albuquerque’s Largest Urban Forest Tree Renewal Project




Urban forests are an important part of city ecosystems. They improve air quality, provide shade, increase property values, and improve our quality of life. Urban forests can be described in a variety of ways, including vegetation in local parks, public areas, private land, and in or around communities. The high elevation desert landscape of Albuquerque New Mexico is no exception to this. Silver Hills, one of the oldest neighborhoods in southeast Albuquerque, began their urban forest in the 1920's. The neighborhood includes University Boulevard, Gold, Lead, Coal, and Silver Avenue.  Silver Hills has always been known for its large beautiful shade trees, Siberian Elms, plantings encouraged by Clyde Tingley, chairman of the Old City Commission who lived on Silver Ave.

Siberian Elms, or Ulmus pumila, are known for being fast growing and hardy in their youth, but as they grow older they become susceptible to insects and disease, and have a relatively short life span.  By the 1970's the original elm trees of Silver Hills were coming to an end of their lifespan;  they seemed fine on the surface, however they were slowly rotting away on the inside and becoming a public safety hazard. The city and Silver Hill Neighborhood Association began to take action in 1977, with the formation of the Silver Hill Reforestation Project. The project began the plan of removing all the original elm trees and replacing them with the standard tree pallet across Albuquerque, most of which are very high water trees.

On June 15, 2000   the Neighborhood Association invited nursery man, soil ecologist, and local businessman Michael Melendrez to present a seminar on which native and adapted trees are the best trees for Albuquerque's urban forest. The neighborhood was worried that it would lose the ambience that the elm trees created if they replaced them. That’s when Michael Melendrez came in and explained that in a short period of time they could have better trees, that are native to the southwest, drought tolerant, longer lived, and less susceptible to insects than elm trees.   In addition to listing the best trees for Albuquerque’s future, Michael educated the Neighborhood Association on the importance of also fixing the ecology of the soil using bio-mimicry techniques so that the future landscape of trees and grass would be more stainable and need less water.  The southwestern native trees that were discussed for the area included; Western Soapberry, Texas Red Oak, Chisos Red Oak, Bur Oak, New Mexico Live Oak, and Chinquapin Oak, plus a non native but adapted species called the Chinese Pistache. The neighborhood was so impressed by Michael’s seminar that they insisted that the hired architect use only Michael’s trees, rather than his standard selection used often in Albuquerque. 

Picture of trees to be replaced:


In the fall of 2001, Trees That Please was contracted by the City of Albuquerque to apply Soil Secrets products, formerly known as Mycorr-Beasties, to the entire medium and parkways of Silver Ave within the historic district. Michael Melendrez, his father Sam Melendrez, and employee Dr. Mike Karr, and Trees That Please Associate -Dan Garrison, hand spread the various materials, which at that time, made up the protocol of Mycorr-Beasties.   

The objectives of the project was to restore the soil ecology, make the soil more porous and able to absorb irrigation water, replace high analysis fertilizers, and keep the grass and trees green and healthy. If it worked, the City and the Neighborhood Association would require it be specified into the reconstruction of the new landscape plantings that would take place a few years later in 2004.  The site was evaluated for a period of time while the funding for the reconstruction was obtained. As it turned out it did work, it instigated, stimulated, and supported a healthy soil ecology necessary to grow healthy trees. Soil Secrets molecular biology became sole source on the project along with trees grown by Trees That Please Nursery. Today the trees planted in Silver Hill have grown into large healthy trees that the neighborhood has grown to love, and are beneficial to Albuquerque’s urban forest. The images of the trees shown in this blog came from Trees That Please Nursery and are currently thriving in Silver Hill. 


Soil Secrets no longer sells Mycorr-Beasties, as their current lineup of products are much more advanced than what they could do in the early 2000's.  Since the years of the Silver Hill Project, Soil Secrets has grown up.  For the Proof of Concept research and Molecular research, they hired Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, and the New Mexico Consortium Labs, to help prove that they were making a unique molecular biology products including TerraPro which contains the active ingredient of Supramolecular Humic Molecules, a Soil Pro-Biotic consortium of beneficial soil bacteria called BioPack and the most concentrated mycorrhizal fungi product in the world called EndoMaxima.   Mycorrhizal fungi help plants get nutrients and water out of the soil and protect plants from disease.    The Supramolecular Humic Molecules discovered and manufactured by Soil Secrets are bio-identical and are the carbon rich molecules  that defines the essence of a healthy soil. To complete the protocol Soil Secrets makes a nutritional calorie  that feeds the soil food web called Protein Crumblies.

Trees That Please Delivering Trees:2004


At the present time, some of the largest farming company's on Earth are using Soil Secrets to restore soil ecology, decrease the amount of water needed to grow a crop, improve the crops nutrition profile and improve the growers profit margin.   A massive Highway construction project in a western State is also preparing to use approximately a million dollars worth of Soil Secrets product, as the sole source for the project and in New Mexico the State Abandoned Mines Agency is specifying Soil Secrets for reclaiming uranium mines near Grants. 

Picture taken:2006 Planted trees 




Picture Taken:2009 Notable Growth

Picture Taken: 2014 Autumn Colors


Last Pictures Taken: 2015






By: Amanda Melendrez
Trees That Please Nursery



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Driscoll Salt Control Success Story Update.

Just refreshing this success story.  Since the past few years has proven difficult with the drought and the lack of surface irrigation water causing a buildup of salinity in our croplands of the West.  These two photos reflect the potential to fix salinity problems by using TerraPro, an exclusive product of Soil Secrets.  In one photo the crop is easily seen with yellow and salt stressed foliage while the other photo shows foliage not stressed.  Both fields are side by side at Driscoll's in California, where one field was treated with theTerraPro which contains as an active ingredient humic acids that are bio-identical, supramolecular humic molecules.

By: Michael Melendrez  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why Hydrogen Peroxide at Planting??

As a response to a question posed by a customer: Why use Hydrogen Peroxide for planting trees? it is worth addressing. 

Hi Sharon,
 
Victor from Trees That Please forwarded to me your email concerning the use of hydrogen peroxide in tree planting.  Your comment about the damage to the soil microbiology is very good.
 
So why would I suggest using this product?  Here's my answer.  For many years the nursery industry and the landscape construction industry have struggled with tree and shrub plantings that result in call backs, dead trees and added expense and less profit to the company.
 
The main culprit  was the soil zone of discontinuity caused by the texture and structure difference of the soil inside the planting site with that of the native soil.  This barrier is called the soil interface zone, which causes  water,  oxygen and roots difficulty crossing.   The garden books teach us to dig and prepare the $100 hole for the $10 tree by mixing all kinds of goodies into the backfill, including peat moss, straw, commercial soil builders, etc. However I've learned in my three decade long career as a nurseryman and grower of hundreds of thousands of trees, that this causes the zone of discontinuity to get worse and not better.  Starting back in the mid 80's I began a study of solutions to this problem and did many trials using different techniques.  This is when I stumbled upon the use of hydrogen peroxide which worked to break down that barrier.  Granted the product would kill any soil microbe it comes into contact with and as the owner of the most significant soil ecology company on the planet, Soil Secrets, I'm always cognizant of helping the soils terrestrial biosphere and not damaging it.  So we studied this problem by doing soil assays of the soil being impacted by the hydrogen peroxide, which is that 1/8" to 1/4" zone that the peroxide fluffs up.  What we discover is that the effervescent reaction causes the soil interface barrier to go away, resulting in the roots of the plant, water and oxygen now being able to cross from the backfill soil into the native soil.  While there is a tiny kill zone caused by the treatment, that zone is not significant compared to the microbiology that's native to the backfill soil that was dug out the hole in the first place.  Plus, we always recommend without exception the use of our TerraPro product which includes molecular biology that will rapidly inoculate and establish on the site.   Bottomline, when trees and shrubs are planted using this technique, the roots can grow beyond the planting site hole and we have the opportunity to have success on purpose rather than success by accident.  When our Soil Secrets protocol of TerraPro and Protein Crumblies are included we see even better success.    
 
Michael Martin Meléndrez
Managing Member of Soil Secrets LLC
 
www.soilsecrets.com

Monday, September 28, 2015

Another Success Story

The Soil Secrets company is currently involved in new product development with the company that invented the first synthetic oil called Amsoil and their Natural Fertilizer division called Aggrand.  The following corn production project used by Aggrand and Soil Secrets.  

The photo was taken by Bob Geyer, one of our Soil Secrets associates in California.  Bob also represents Aggrand in California for agriculture.  This field was treated the first year using just the Aggrand protocol and the corn silage yield increased  from 24 tons per acre on the sandy areas of the farm and 26 tons per acre on the better soils, jumping to 38 tons per acre.  At the end of the first year the corn stood at 15' 1" while the variety used called Bagglietto is suppose to only grow to 12 1/2 feet.        The second year the field was  treated with TerraPro and the same corn variety was planted using the same Aggrand protocol as the first year.  This time the corn grew to 15 feet 5 inches tall.  At the time of this blog the silage has not been harvested so the tonnage figures are not known, but Bob calculates it will be several tons greater per acre than the first year.   

Here's the full nutrient/Soil Secrets protocol used the second year:  
1. At planting 2 gallons of Aggrand 4-3-3 liquid per acre was shanked into the soil
2. At planting 1 gallon of the 0-0-8 Aggrand kelp and potash liquid was shanked into the soil at the same time as the 4-3-3.
3. 1-ton per acre of Soil Secrets Ag Grade TerraPro was  broadcasted across the field.
4. 60 units of Nitrogen per acre using UN-32 liquid was applied at with the 2nd irrigation
5. Field was planted at 32,000 plants per field and the extremely light nitrogen load of 60.64 pounds of nitrogen per acre worked extremely well.  When fields were planted at 64,000 plants per acre using the same protocol the corn sitll reached the 15 plus foot height, showing that the 60.64 pounds of nitrogen was still enough even with double the number of plants.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Here's an article from Western Farm Press on Pistachio's

Here is the article John Miller sent me confirming information on Pistachio blanks occurring at  20 to 30%  state wide in California. http://westernfarmpress.com/tree-nuts/rising-some-tough-challenges-california-pistachio-growers-wrap-successful-season   As a reminder of our client in California that we just posted a blog story on his acreage producing an additional 600 pounds of nuts above and beyond his remaining acreage not treated with our protocol.  His trees treated with our TerraPro protocol  averaged less then 5%,  actually 3 - 4.8% http://www.soilsecretsblog.com/2015/09/good-news-on-another-success-story-that.html

 
Michael Martin Meléndrez
Managing Member of Soil Secrets LLC
 
www.soilsecrets.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Growing Pecan Orchards in Southeastern Arizona

Here's good news from our West Coast Distributor John Miller of Spec International. 

He sent me this report with photos yesterday, September 14, 2015. 
The farm is located near the New Mexico Arizona State line South of Interstate 10 in the Chihuahuan Desert.  The trees are irrigated with above ground spray heads with water coming from deep irrigation wells.  Soils are typical Southwestern desert dirt with high pH, high salinity and poor structure after its been disturbed.  As a result crops including  tree crops often show signs of salt burn, iron uptake problems (chlorosis) and zinc uptake  problems on pecan trees.  This particular grower is putting in over a thousand acres of new trees each year with some of the acreage treated with our TerraPro and Protein Crumblies products.  I'm glad he's left some acreage untreated as it gives us the opportunity to compare.  They are also being supplemented nutritionally with a foliar feed using an AgGrand 4-3-3 product which Soil Secrets collaborates with as both company's are very complementary to each other.  Here are some photos showing treated versus non treated, so you can draw your own conclusion.
Leaves from non treated trees

  

Leaves off of trees treated with Soil Secrets and AgGrand



Trees on the left have been treated while those on the right have not.





Looking into the treated field, showing vigorous growth on trees treated May of 2015 with TerraPro, Soil Secrets Bio-Identical Supramolecular Humic Molecule product.


Looking into the field of non treated Pecan trees



Typical new growth with vigorous foliage of a TerraPro treated Pecan.  Trees were treated 4 months earlier at the beginning of the growing season. 

The changes seen on this pecan orchard are consistent with our results seen in California Almond and Pistachio tree orchards where TerraPro's aromatic chemistry corrected the health of the soil, opened up the structure making the soil more porous to oxygen and water, which improves the availability of water and nutrients, while decreasing the damage caused by salinity.   We've done compaction measurements that quantifies these changes showing the compaction of the soil droping form a psi of 300 down to 50 - 75 psi down to a depth of 3 feet. If our penetrometer can probe the soil to a depth of 3 feet with only 50 to 75 pounds of pressure than water and oxygen can easily get into the soil, which changes everything and puts that soil on the journey to better soil health.    Getting the irrigation water to penetrate deeper will help to reduce your irrigation frequency needs and improve the crops ability to get mineral nutrition up into the plant.  In addition to needing less irrigation water, healthy soils also need less fertilizer inputs and in this case the farmer can skip the typical sulfuric acid treatment that's commonly used in Arizona and New Mexico's pecan industry in the attempt to open up the soil and remediate the harmful effects of salt.  TerraPro can do this much more effectively while also improving the health of the soils terrestrial biosphere.  


Michael Meléndrez
Managing Member of Soil Secrets LLC
 
www.soilsecrets.com

crop yield report has come in, reflecting improved soil health on California Pistachio field

Good News on another success story that just came in today.  If you remember our blog story from last January 2015, Don DeBoer had performed some soil compaction testing with his penetrometer on Pistachio orchard land owned by Charlie Gragnani.    http://www.soilsecretsblog.com/2015/01/soil-health-and-changing-soil-compaction.html
The results of the testing discovered that the soil compaction had dropped a bunch, from an average of 300 psi coming down to an average of 75 psi.  This is significant because there's a direct cause and effect where water and oxygen can now penetrate the soil when its psi has been reduced.  The reason,  the drop in psi is demonstrating an increase in soil porosity, which also causes an increase in air space in the soil.  This is the single most important thing that can happen to the soil as its health improves!

So what's the good news?  The crop has been harvested and evaluated and the grower was able to collect an average of 600 more pounds of nuts per acre above and beyond the control fields.  At a price of $4 per pound that means the grower made an additional $2400 net profit per acre caused by our TerraPro product improving the soil porosity.  In addition the % of blanks was under 5%, compared to 20% being normal in California this season.

Michael Martin Melendrez
Managing Member - Soil Secrets LLC







Friday, September 11, 2015

What Tools In The Tool Box Do We Have To Build a Healthy Top Soil?

I was returning from Las Cruces recently and along Interstate 25 I saw huge piles of compost being deposited by the landscape contractor, which reminded me to write this article.

With each year we learn something new and improve upon the old techniques and products we've offered.  In some ways you may find this frustrating because it may require us to stop making some products as they grow obsolete by newer ideas and better products that we can support our claims with good science.  Soil Secrets taps into the National Labs asking for "Deliverables" that will help support our ongoing R & D and help us provide products with the best efficacy possible.   For example, in the arena of Humic Acids, a substance sold by many companies, but previously without the molecular description to substantiate what the potential Mechanisms of Action could be based on the geometry of the molecules, the thermal energy value of the molecules, and the resulting functionality of the molecules.  The industry couldn't even tell us how many molecular species there are.  Today Soil Secrets owns that information, as we've done the only molecular descriptive evidence ever done on Humic Acids, and for that reason I prefer to call them Humic molecules and not Humic Acids which we can produce as "Bio-Identical" to those found in Nature's best soil.    We've have also done DNA extraction and gene sequencing on our soil microbial inoculants to make sure we are doing things right with the right soil creatures.  We pay ISO Certified labs to test and measure our Protein in the product we call Protein Crumblies, making sure it has the amino acid profile we want, so we are certain it's a good quality soil microbe food.  We now have a firm understanding of the value of certain soil amendment products and how to use them in a more appropriate way.  For example, I can recall a Landscape Architect in Albuquerque saying that Oak trees need a well manured soil.  If manure was not available, the architects specified huge amounts of organic matter called "Soil Builder" to be amended into the soil.  Know we now know that manure can contraindicate soil and plant health because it contains salinity that the soil does not need.  Beyond the potential salinity problem, adding manure or even incorporating too much good quality compost to the soil can cause the soil to spoil by making it go anaerobic (without oxygen) because the higher the level of decomposable organic matter we incorporate into a soil the more oxygen the microbes need to decompose those organics.  This is called increasing the Biological Oxygen Demand, which is not good for the soil as it creates toxic substances such as alcohol and lactic acid.  Plants hate that stuff!

We must understand what the tool in the tool box is for and in the case of compost, that tool is to add a fertilizer value of minerals, not to try and build a top soil.  Adding compost as a light top dressing is a way to re-mineralize those elements that are being used up by the vegetation.  So its a fertilizer not a soil builder!   How much is enough?  If its a good quality compost made from mineral rich organic matter, you many only need about 30 - 35 pounds per every 1000 square feet, and on a larger scale not more than 1500 pounds per acre.  As you can see that's a tiny amount of product!   It's a common mistake to see mountains of compost dumped on a site in the attempt to build up the organic matter of a soil, buts that's the wrong thing to do.

Soil Secrets is Bio-Mimicry, copying the Natural Process.
Building a top soil is the process of Soil Carbon Sequestration, and that is done by the association of photosynthesis, production of liquid carbon (sugar) and roots of plants articulating with soil microbes including the mycorrhizal fungi, where the plant roots provide the liquid carbon as a source of energy needed by the microbes.  So if the site lacks plants, such as a new construction zone, or a farm field plowed and left empty, there's no photosynthesis, no roots, no liquid carbon, therefore limited soil microbes and zero Carbon Sequestering taking place.

So how do we get from Zero, back to Hero status as far as soil health is concerned?   We can jump start the process by using inputs such as inoculants, nutritional calories of amino acids from a high quality protein, and fortifying the soil with Supramolecular Humic Molecules (Humic Acids), as these improve the ecology of the soil enough to allow many other good things to happen.  For example, if the soil is of poor quality lacking structure, oxygen and water will have trouble getting into the soil.  This is huge limiting factor to soil health and plant health.  By adding the "Bio-Identical Supramolecular Humic Molecules" active ingredients of TerraPro, we can see a rapid improvement in the porosity of the soil, which will allow oxygen and water to penetrate.  Everything that's good that needs to happen to the soils ecology is contingent upon Water and Oxygen being able to penetrate that soil!  TerraPro is the proper tool for making that happen, not compost, not fertilizer, not worm castings, and not wetting agents.  Here's a story on our blog where we measured this change taking place in soil porosity.  http://www.soilsecretsblog.com/2015/01/soil-health-and-changing-soil-compaction.html

In the business of health food and nutriceuticals, we've figured out that by eating organic whole yogurt we can inoculate our bodies with beneficial microbes.  There are even higher dose Pro-Biotics you can buy that provide billions of living cells of bacteria, known to be good for us.  Now we know that the same can be done for soils, where we can commercially produce bacteria and fungi that are synergistic with one another and also beneficial for plants.  The fungi are called Mycorrhizal products, which are measured by the species and the spore count per gram or per pound.  The bacteria are also measured by species and by CFU (Colony Forming Units).  For a mycorrhizal product Soil Secrets offers MycoMaxima, a blend of many species able to help a wide array of plants from pine trees, oak trees and turf, or EndoMaxima, the industries highest spore count product useful for annual crops and most landscape plants. For mine reclamation and highway re-vegetation, EndoMaxima is the best mycorrhizal product to use as it has the Glomus (syn. Rhizophagus) species needed to inoculate all the plants used under those conditions.   However Mycorrhizal fungi don't work alone, and the soil's ecology is much more complex than that, so Soil Secrets is now releasing a Soil Pro-Biotic BioPack, which is a consortium of microbes designed to help turn dirt into soil.
For the time being BioPack is available in a size for agriculture and for landscape construction, coming in a 50 gram pack which covers one acre.  The price is about $25 to $28 per pack depending on where you buy it.  To see the label and species names with CFU data, download the attachment.    It's 100% Certified USDA BioBased.  In other words, the 50 gram packet is 100% microbes.

Here's a summary of the flagship Soil Secrets products used  jump start and support a healthy soil ecology, ether in real soil, or in manufactured substrate (potting mix).


--TerraPro -  Formerly  known as Earth Magic.  The active ingredient is a full blend of the Humic molecules that are Bio-Identical and which are fully Supramolecular.  Humic molecules when Supramolecular can correct soil structure, improve the aerobic environment of the soil helping with microbial respiration,  have a solutioning effect on the minerals in the soil making them more available, has a chelation overlay effect helping to hold the minerals so they don't leach away, improve the soils ability to manage the water, and a more livable habitat for plant roots and soil microbes.

--EndoMaxima or MycoMaxima provides the correct mycorrhizal f spores that can benefit the majority of plants.  EndoMaxima contains the Glomus generalist fungus that associates with the majority of plants on Earth, while MycoMaxima contains both the Glomus and a blend of Ecto type fungus that are specialists with hardwoods such as Oaks, Pecan, Pines and other trees.  MycoMaxima is also sold under the retail name White Lightning.

--Soil Pro-Biotic Bio Pack, fortifies the soil with bacteria and other  beneficial soil microbes.

--Protein Crumblies provides the building blocks of life known as Amino Acids.  We use this product to feed the soil microbes a nutritional calorie of protein, helping to support better soil health.

--TTP Supreme Compost, provides mineral elements for re-mineralizing the soil if its low in minerals.

Michael Martin Meléndrez
Managing Member of Soil Secrets LLC
505 550-3246
www.soilsecrets.com

Thursday, August 20, 2015

https://www.facebook.com/michael.m.melendrez/videos/801133416669192/?l=1217826145871123190
These photos and comment came from John Miller, a Soil Secrets Distributor working on a project in Baja Mexico wine production using SS products.
"Here are the latest photos from Mexico. Luis, the farm Manager is very happy and totally amazed at what TerraPro has done for his production. Vines are averaging 8 Kg production per plant and they have 3,333 plants per hectare. Here it is, the middle of August when his vines would show water stress with dry curling leaves from lack of water uptake due to high salts and poor soil structure for moisture retention. He has had nothing but hot sunny days for the last three weeks and the vines are very healthy with a larger crop then normal for a vine that has started it's fourth year of growth."
TerraPro is the only bio-identical humic molecular product in the soil ecology industry. Humic molecules that are truly supramolecular can repair and enhance any soil, even mine tailings that are extremely toxic. It's a proprietary intellectual property of Soil Secrets LLC.
There are a few retail nurseries around the country that believe in and promote soil health and Soil Secrets is the industry leader in that venue. My Trees That Please Nursery in Los Lunas is the only Albuquerque market retail nursery that promotes and uses Soil Secrets and we sell a lot of it. Soil Secrets is not only successful on home gardens in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, on farms in Deming and the Mesilla Valley, orchards in California and vineyards in Baja Mexico, its also used on the campus of Texas Tech and lawns in Kansas City Kansas as seen here in before and after photos.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Is California Sucking the Almond Industry Dry?


The following article is about Almond Production in California 
and the amount of water needed. 

This article is very timely as Soil Secrets Soil Ecology products are being used by California's Almond producers proving to help with the water problem while also helping to produce good crops using less water.


Is California Sucking the Almond Industry Dry?

Almond Trees, farming, drought, trees
 (AP Photo/Russel A. Daniels, File)
If you don’t live in California, the serious drought—which is now in its fourth painstaking year—may not affect your everyday life. But you are probably eating their almonds. The state produces 80% of the world’s almonds and the industry has been taking the brunt of the water shortage ever since.
“Blame game doesn’t help. Yes, it takes about one gallon of water to produce one almond. And, it also takes 1.4 gallons of water to produce two olives. And, four glasses of milk needs about 143 gallons of water to produce. Should we stop making milk in California too? Where does it end?” says Dr. Harinder Grewal, Senior Agricultural Inspector for the Department of Agriculture at Stanislaus County, California.
California produces nearly half of all U.S. grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. But the real money maker is almond production which contributes over 100,000 jobs and $11 billion to the state’s economy, according to the University of California Agricultural Issues Center.
Janet Daniel, an almond farmer who runs J.D. Almond Farms in California, says it’s been very frustrating to read reports that they’re to blame for the drought.
“A lot of the reports are inaccurate and extremely misleading. This is a food product that is very important. Yes, it takes water to produce it, but nothing goes to waste. It’s a 100% contained product. We have everything computerized. Every drop of water is calculated,” says Daniels, whose farm produces over 1.5 million pounds of almonds a year.
“All of California has been impacted by this historic drought, but as conversation about the drought has progressed, there have been claims about almonds and agriculture more generally that lack context, or are blatantly wrong,” says Robert Curtis, Director of Agricultural Affairs at the Almond Board of California.
“The crop about to be harvested is estimated to be down 4% from last year’s crop, which was down from the year before that.  Drought and water stress can impact almond tree growth and crop productivity for a 2-4 year period, after the stress subsides,” says Curtis.
According to Grewal, California has only had about 4.3 inches of rain so far this year (last measured on May 31st).
“The situation we’re in is scary but the good thing it that it wakes people up. We need to plan for the long term. California depends on agriculture. We all need food and we can’t depend on food from other countries. This is a national security issue,” adds Grewal.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, agriculture uses about  41% of California’s total water supply – not 80% as often quoted.
“Farmers are used to getting 30-40 inches of water, now they get 18-20 inches. Most farmers lost 50% of their water supply,” says Grewal.
The Almond Board of California says that in 2014, the drought has cost farmers $1.5 billion dollars and the loss of more than 17,000 jobs.
Steve Knell, a General Manager at the Oakdale Irrigation District says it’s important for people to realize that it takes a lot of water to keep our mouths full.
“It takes about 1 million gallons of water per year to sustain a family of 4 in America. If you want to help reduce the water resource shortfall we face in this drought I think you have two choices: either stop watering the lawn or stop eating.”
Grewal says we need to stop pointing fingers and look for more long and short-term solutions instead.
“We’re in trouble but we can’t stop growing things. We need to find ways to conserve water and educate people instead of blaming anyone. Almonds bring revenue. We need to protect this industry. Poor leadership in the past has gotten us in this situation and we need to find solutions to get out of it," says Grewal.
Follow Jade Scipioni on Twitter @jadescipioni


Michael Martin Meléndrez
Managing Member of Soil Secrets LLC
505 550-3246

www.soilsecrets.com