Orchard Origins

The California walnut industry has long been known for producing high-quality, safe, and nutritious walnuts. Much of this reputation has been built by the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in the industry. These include Integrated Pest Management (IPM), for which California Walnut Board’s Production Research Advisory Council (PRAC) Entomology Working Group even received the California Department of Pesticide Regulation IPM Innovator Award. The award is the department’s highest environmental honor and was established to recognize organizations that use IPM in innovative ways to reduce pesticide use and address pest-related challenges.

The California Walnut Board’s PRAC Entomology Working Group is part of a comprehensive, long-term effort to continually improve walnut production practices. During the past decade, the California Walnut Board has invested $5.5 million in production research activities (roughly 36% of the Board’s production research outlay) aimed at finding integrated and alternative approaches to managing key pests and diseases.

For nearly 50 years, the California Walnut Board has been committed to advancing sustainable growing practices through its production research program. The California Walnut Board has been a leader in the Walnut Pest Management Alliance, which focused on overall pesticide reduction through practices that were economically viable for growers and environmentally responsible. This is central to a sustainable environmental stewardship program for walnut growers. The California Walnut Board has been a partner in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) since 2000. The EPA has recognized the California Walnut Board as a Silver member of the PESP, reserved for partners achieving higher environmental standards.

California has the nation’s most stringent regulations on pesticide usage, with all the pesticide use documented. Further, there is a continuing education requirement for all pesticide applicators and crop consultants, ensuring that any use of pesticides is done strictly in accordance with label guidelines and as part of a holistic and responsible approach to protect trees, farmlands, and the environment.



The California Walnut Board continues to develop new sustainable practices through the PRAC (Production Research Advisory Council) process established in 2005 to provide input for long-term planning and coordination of research in four areas: genetic improvement, orchard management, plant pathology, and entomology. Research priorities are weighted higher when they lead to more economical and environmentally friendly practices for growers to improve their sustainability. Additionally, the Board has also focused on improving post-harvest food safety practices to help the industry comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act and help maintain its stellar reputation.

The industry’s commitment to sustainability is deeply rooted in its California heritage, rich farming knowledge, and responsible stewardship practices. Environmental Stewardship is one of the key pillars in the California Walnut Board’s sustainability effort, which also includes Sustainable Nutrition & Human Health, People & Community, Economic Health, and Food Safety. This important work enables the California walnut industry to continue to protect the land upon which walnuts are grown and ensure that consumers can continue to reap the nutritious benefits of walnuts.

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