Although almonds are not native to California, a hot, dry Mediterranean climate and developed water infrastructure create ideal conditions for commercial cultivation of the crop. The state produces 80% of the world's almonds and 100% of the United States’ commercial supply.
NUTRITIVE VALUE OF CALIFORNIA ALMONDS
Almonds were California's third most valuable agricultural product in 2016, accounting for $5.2 billion (about 11%) of agricultural output.Almond production has increased significantly in recent years; by weight, production more than tripled from 703 million pounds in 2000 to 2.27 billion pounds in 2017.Prices rose over the same period, fueled in part by overseas demand. Newly planted almond acreage has displaced more traditional cash crops, such as cotton.In addition to consumer demand, the industry's growth has benefitted from mechanization. During the harvesting process, tree shakers are used to aggressively shake each almond tree, causing the nuts to fall to the ground. This reduces the need for labor relative to other crops, which has attracted farmers who are concerned with shortages of migrant workers.A 2014 report commissioned by the Almond Board of California, an industry group, found that the industry directly employed 21,000 people and indirectly supported an additional 83,000 jobs statewide. Including indirect effects, the industry added about $11 billion to the state's GSP.