Everything we need for our survival and wellbeing depends – either directly or indirectly – on our natural environment. That is the essential point of sustainability. It creates the conditions that lead to productive harmony between what mankind can accomplish together with nature, to fulfill the social and economic needs of current and future generations.
Hilltop Ranch leads the almond industry in implementing sustainable practices – not in academic exercises, but in down-to-earth, practical, and self-reliant ways that reflect a concern for industry economics, profitability today and tomorrow, for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that grows our crops, and for food safety.
A study examining four years of changes in production processes at Hilltop Ranch showed implementation of sustainable practices contributed to a significant reduction in land and water use, energy use, emissions, and chemicals.
An Eco-efficiency Analysis (EEA) reviewed the study, and confirmed that the implementation of sustainable practices at Hilltop Ranch resulted in substantial environmental and economic savings.
Recently, the EAA was verified by NSF International – the first time that an almond handler has received such a recognition for sustainable practices.
Some highlights of Hilltop Ranch’s process improvements so far include:
- A 574 kilowatt solar array to power the processing facility
- Upgraded compressors and lighting
- Increased insulation in cold storage and warehouses
- Use of more motion-sensors in warehouse lighting
- Resized electric motors in plant equipment
- Upgraded forklifts
- Conversion of truck fleet to low-emission diesel
- Conversion of packaging to natural kraft corrugated with recyclable inks
- Labor saving improvements in plant processes
- Conversion from standard oscillating sprinklers to micro sprinklers in orchards
- Conversion to non-cultivation practices
- Upgrading harvest equipment
- Mulching instead of burning
- Better management of chemicals
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