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The number of Californian almond groves has nearly doubled over the past decade and now there is even more exciting news to share! Almond Board of California has predicted almond production to increase BY ONE-THIRD, from an estimated 2.25 billion pounds in 2017 to a staggering 3 billion pounds in 2021. Almond Board of California President and CEO Richard Waycott told Food Navigator USA the industry has been focused on water efficiency and have been able to produce a pound of almonds with a third less water than 20 years ago, which will allow for significant growth in the next few years.

But why the demand for almonds? Well, you guessed it – to meet the growing demand for plant-based alternatives, such as plant-based yogurts, milk, and nut milk lattes. Consumers are done with dairy and the numbers don’t lie. Consumption of dairy has been facing a steady decline for decades. Today, Americans consume 37 percent less dairy than they did in 1970 and in the past year alone, consumption of low-fat milk plummeted by 13 percent.

And it seems that the increase in almond production is actually partially being caused due to the fact that dairy farmers are planting almond groves to get in on this burgeoning trend!

Numerous farmers in California, one of the U.S.’s largest dairy-producing states, have given up on dairy in favor of planting almond groves. Waycott noted that dairy farmers who “…might have traditionally planted x-hundred acres of corn or silage for their dairy herds .. are now sourcing that from out of state and diversifying into almonds.”

Dairy farmers are increasingly opting for the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” motto … which is a pretty good idea business wise as plant-based milk is set to reach a market value of $16.3 billion in 2018!

Almonds sometimes get a bad rep for being water-intensive crops, but when you consider the amount of resources needed for dairy, almond milk comes up as an environmentally superior product. When you add up the water used for food, water, and cleaning the facility the average dairy cow uses 4,954 gallons of water per day on a dairy farm. In fact, it’s estimated that it takes around 30 gallons of water to produce one glass of milk and 23 gallons of water to make almond milk. So while arguments have been made that almonds are a highly water-intensive crop, it is a better choice in than dairy – not to mention, almond production doesn’t come along with the methane emissions and extreme air and water pollution that dairy farming does.

As these almond-growing dairy farmers are seeing, the future of food is increasingly becoming plant-based. We certainly hope this is a trend that continues to grow and soon their cow’s milk portion of their business will disappear altogether!

To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.

Image Source: skeeze/Pixabay

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65 comments on “Smart Dairy Farmers Are Planting Almond Crops Because Even They Know No One Wants Cow’s Milk Anymore”

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Michele Kitchin
8 Months Ago

Macadamia crops even better. The had shell protects from the outside environment pollutants.... Love macadamia milk


Reply
James Struver
8 Months Ago

Almond milk. What a joke. There is less than 3% almond in it. Sorry to burst your bubble. Cows milk is still exceptional regardless of their environmental impact. Just being honest.


Reply
Bryan Cazarez
06 Jan 2018

Regardless of environmental anomaly? The cows are inseminated artificially

Robert Jones
8 Months Ago

The point should be does the almond, alfalfa, and corn growers have a right to use all of California water growing in a desert environment. Alfalfa uses more water than Almonds. 80% of all almonds are grown in basically a hot desert. In Oregon in Colton we grew alfalfa every year and we didn't water the field , rain watered it, all our nut trees fed by the rain, our 5 acres of heirloom apples fed by rain. Shame on California. Here in AZ same moronic logic, we are hot desert with little water. We are going to let Nestle's pump our ground water to sell water world wide, cities point of argument for it is, well ,our breweries and pop makers use even more so if they can why can't Nestle's. Good farmers are responsible they grow responsibly as a good caretaker of resources. corporate farms have no conscience . Find an Oregon nut and make milk out of that. If your going to drink almond milk just realize you add to Californias water problem. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/04/16/399958203/how-almonds-became-a-scapegoat-for-californias-drought


Reply
Jeanne Amato
8 Months Ago

Almonds do take an inordinate amount of water so not the best choice either


Reply
Kim Wiedemann-Ortner
8 Months Ago

People have been drinking cows milk for thousands of years...fads come and go...


Reply
Saalim Hassan
8 Months Ago

World famous kashmiri almond industry is hit hard by this hybrid(GMO) produce from California. Kashmiri almond orchards been chopped down by farmers because there is no value for kashmiri almond.How sad.


Reply
Kate Anderson
8 Months Ago

I don't want pesticide covered almonds either


Reply
Bobbie Briggs
8 Months Ago

We are taking over the world... watch out 2018


Reply
MaryAnne Bannon Robertson
8 Months Ago

They are extremely water intensive. There are much better alternatives. Sunflower is one.


Reply
Robert Jones
8 Months Ago

Almond milk is gross. Cow's milk is as long as it's whole. Skim used to be just waste because it has no value except for when they add stuff to it. Almonds are ruining Cali because it's uss insane amounts of water to grow the nuts. Almond industry is one of the biggest water users around. Which is why any almond product is exclusively for the well heeled. Who the hell could afford to buy gallons of almond, and stop calleing it milk, milk has a definition, it's a milk like product with zero milk taste. When we start replacing beef with spam, it's just as foreign to beef as spam is to steak.


Reply
Jen Uder
03 Jan 2018

How much water does it take to grow and maintain a cow?

Jenn Tedmon
03 Jan 2018

Not saying almonds are the answer, but neither is meat/milk. Humans, past infancy/nursing age do not need milk to survive. We certainly don't need the milk of other animals, only our own mothers. If you are truly concerned about the environmental impact of the food you eat, you need to start researching what factory farming and mass production of animals is doing to the earth.

Jeffrey Stephens
03 Jan 2018

Nothing is more gross than the blood, puss, hormones, and antibiotics in cow milk. I'd take almond milk, soy milk, wheat milk, coconut milk, any plant milk over that crap.

Bryan Cazarez
03 Jan 2018

A tree produces oxygen.... Kicks people off the land... And almond milk is the best !

Robert Jones
03 Jan 2018

Bryan we need millions and millions more trees.

Bryan Cazarez
03 Jan 2018

Tooshay

Robert Jones
03 Jan 2018

I've read so much dietary research that shows results other than this. Eggs are good for you. Butter is great, margarine is a poison. Nothing like ruining the quality of your life by cutting out everything that tastes good. Family had cow's, they graze in Oregon on alfalfa grass , they never drank anywhere close to what this claims as I filled the water trough. Everyone I knew farmed the same. Your bitch is with industrial torture raised unhealthy animals, the goats raised for free .never once fed a goat in all the years, chicken ran around strong hardly any fat. I can see you guys against industrial food on the cheapest end but to blanket slam it makes it like my always sickly skinny vegan niece is doing it right and all her skinny weak vegan friends, just try to put on body mass as a vegan.

Jeffrey Stephens
03 Jan 2018

Look at this sickly skinny vegan! Somebody get him some protein!

Jeffrey Stephens
03 Jan 2018

That's Patrick Babhoumian. Current holder of the World's Strongest Man title. Vegan.

Jeffrey Stephens
03 Jan 2018

It's also funny that you cite flavor and quality of life as reasons to eat meat. Very few people will sit down and eat plain meat by itself. They almost always flavor it with plant based condiments like mustard, ketchup, or barbecue sauce. Ever eat a plain burger? It's not very inspiring. Instead people put onions and tomatoes and lettuce on them to make them taste better. Nearly every marinade and sauce people use to flavor meat is made from plants except mayonnaise. Also, people's quality of life greatly increases when they don't have diet related illnesses, which excessive meat consumption is proven to cause. Even for people who simply must have the foods they're accustomed to, there are thousands of healthy meat and dairy alternatives that often taste better than the "real" thing. "Muh quality of life because flavor tho" is a weak argument.



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