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

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

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

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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Information from: The Record, http://www.recordnet.com/