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November 3, 2010

USDA-CDFA Specialty Block Grants to Advance Sustainability

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SureHarvest partnering with almond, cut flower, winegrapes and twelve other crop sectors to implement sustainability initiatives in California

(SOQUEL, CA. – November 3, 2010) “It is an honor and a privilege to be collaborating with leading California trade associations and their grower members on initiatives that put into practice the sustainability principles of economic, environmental and social performance,” declared Dr. Jeff Dlott, SureHarvest CEO.  “The leadership at the California Department of Food and Agriculture has consistently demonstrated their commitment to enhance the competitiveness of California specialty crops through the Block Grant Program.  We are proud to be among the select group of recipients working to ensure the long term strength of California’s specialty crop sector.”    

SureHarvest was awarded $404,505 to expand the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP). Launched in 2009, the CASP uses a continuous improvement approach to engage almond growers on sustainability issues & collect information regarding adoption of Best Management Practices. The grant will be utilized to add pest management and other water quality related modules to the existing irrigation and nutrient management modules, along with energy & air quality modules, currently under development.

With a second grant award of $360,000, SureHarvest will advance a self-assessment and benchmarking sustainability initiative involving twelve different specialty crops. The Multi-Commodity Sustainability Program is a collaborative effort among the Almond Board of California, Bolthouse Farms, California Tree Fruit Agreement, California Grape & Tree Fruit League, California Specialty Crop Council, California Garlic and Onion Research Advisory Board, California Olive Council, California Pear Advisory Board, California Pepper Commission, California Pistachio Board, California Raisin Marketing Board, California Tomato Farmers, California Walnut Board, and Sustainable Conservation.

In addition, SureHarvest will assist the California Cut Flower Commission to catalog the environmental benefits of buying “California Grown” flowers by examining the sustainability of current growing practices and establishing a carbon footprint analysis of transportation methods comparing imported flowers from South America to flowers grown in California. The Commission was awarded $74,000 by USDA.

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) received two grant awards of $824,171 in total to undergird their leading role as sustainability pioneers in California agriculture. SureHarvest was the key architect of CSWA’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program and will continue to contribute software solutions, data analysis and targeted educational outreach.

About SureHarvest: (www.sureharvest.com) SureHarvest provides software and services for growers, trade associations and agrifood companies pursuing sustainability strategies. The SureHarvest 5Ps of Sustainability approach integrates sustainability as a business strategy. Since 1999, SureHarvest has helped growers farming a total of over 300,000 acres to improve profitability by increasing efficiencies and practicing environmental stewardship. 

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