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2018. A year full of emotions, milestones and memories that will never be forgotten. It was a year I was looking forward to professionally in leadership and development. It was a year our daughter discovered so much new and exciting things. It was year my son grew into a young man. It was a year I cried more than I knew I could. It was a year I said goodbye to my Dad earlier than anyone ever wanted to. 
I of course had to cave into doing the Instagram top nine post and see what my top posts were this year. The kids exploring, some my favorite adventures in my leadership development journey, almond orchards, our first kid free vacation and saying goodbye to my dad. It was a full year.

May 30th, 2018 will be a day I will always remember. I can’t recap the year without that day first popping in my head. I wish I could have had more of the year, or years more of memories. My Dad will always be in my heart. Grief is a long process and I will be overcoming that pain for a long time coming. Thank you all for caring so much and being there for me during this difficult time. I appreciate your kind messages and prayers. You guys were kind enough to read my post on saying goodbye to my Dad and making it my third most read post for 2018.

I wouldn't be an agriculture blogger without talking about farming and our challenges in California agriculture. That is why my number two most popular blog post was about a big challenge we faced this year. Almond bloom is one of the most important times of year for an almond tree. This year we faced freezing temperatures during this sensitive time frame and it brought a whole set of challenges for us. Farming has its challenges and many are out of our control, but we continue on.

This year was also about growing myself and my leadership skills. I overcame some big obstacles and advanced myself more than I knew I could as a leader. I took on more than I knew I was capable of and proved to myself that I am stronger than I thought. I attended many agriculture conferences and seminars in various different capacities and boards I serve on.

My favorite was probably the same one you guys recognized as my top blog post for 2018. Everyone has their own definition of Modern Agriculture and that is what makes agriculture so unique. The agriculture advances over the years have helped agriculture evolve into one of the great industries to be a part of.  I am so proud to be a part of this great industry and have had the privilege of representing some of the greatest young farmers and ranchers this year.  This next year I have even bigger leadership goals for myself and am excited for more challenges and growth. 

I know every parent says this, but this year my kids grew up so much! They aren’t babies anymore. At four, my son is now a young man. He really takes on more responsibility and can do more than I think he is capable of. He really has matured and amazes me what he understands of the world around him. At 18 months, my daughter is no longer a baby. Miss independent has new words every day, a new found sassy streak, wants to do everything herself and thinks she’s capable of anything. 

Our family has definitely had our share of highs and lows this year. We have been on a crazy journey this year and it ended with the hardest holiday season yet. We have been very busy planning for our future. This next year will bring even more new and exciting things to our life. A lot of new is coming our way. It’s been a crazy few weeks, with even more crazy and chaos coming for the months ahead. It’s gunna be good, and I can’t wait to share it with you all when we are ready. 
Get in. Sit down. Buckle up. Hold on. Get ready for a new year.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny


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Almond varieties

Did you know there are over 30 different varieties of almonds grown commercially?! All have their own unique purpose, size, and shape. Most almond farmers, have multiple varieties in the same orchard, the most popular being nonpareil. Nonpareil is the prettiest almond, most widely produced and comes with the biggest return back to the grower. But we can't all farm nonpareils, they need to be pollinated somehow. Almonds typically need at least two varieties in an orchard because the almond flower cannot pollinate itself like other fruit trees can. We learned about that with the almond bloom and bee blog!! So we have pollinator varieties that complement other varieties and offer their own unique purpose. I am going to outline a few of the more widely grown varieties for you, but feel free to check out The Almond Board of California's full guide.

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Almond by-products

When people think of almond uses they tend to just think of using the almond meat. Almonds have multiple by-products actually. When almonds are processed at the huller the almond meat is separated from the hull and shell. The hulls, shells and hash are also sold and used.

Almond hulls are the green out most layer of the almond while on the tree. The hull is what splits and starts the countdown to harvest. Once the almond has dried in the field, the hull also dries and begins to separate from the almond. At the huller, they remove the hulls and stock pile them until sold. Almond hulls are sold for animal feed, most commonly dairy feed. The hulls actually add nutrition to the animals diet and aid in healthy milk production. Growing up on my family's farm, we used the hulls to feed our breeding sheep. It was cheaper than grain, helped to add nutrition to the animal diet and while filled them up faster.

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Modern Agriculture

What is Modern Agriculture?
Modern agriculture could be a scientist in a lab creating the newest impossible non-meat hamburger. Modern agriculture could mean the development of GMO seeds to decrease pesticide use. Modern agriculture could be turning on your irrigation system from an app on your computer. Modern agriculture could just mean the use of GPS in tractors, or maybe just the use of a tractor on a farm. Modern agriculture could mean something different to you depending on how you look at agriculture.

Modern agriculture is essentially developing practices that help farmers increase efficiency and reduce the amount of resources to meet the world's needs. But depending on your interpretation of the term you could already have created your opinion of modern agriculture. 2% of the population is involved in agriculture but 100% of the population has opinions.
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