STOCKTON (AP) — California’s almond boom has hit 1 million acres, covering a total area bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

The Record newspaper of Stockton reports the state’s almond harvest is expected to hit a record 2.2 billion pounds (1 billion kilograms) this year.

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Surging demand for almond snacks in Asia has helped make almonds California’s richest agricultural export, passing wine grapes and other crops.

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The doubling of the state’s almond acreage since 2000 is controversial because the state has frequent droughts, and nut trees can’t be fallowed in a dry year. The Almond Board of California says the state has the most efficient almond growers in the world.

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