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What's the Future of Agriculture? Summit Looks Ahead

March 15, 2023
The future of agriculture will be discussed at a summit March 30.
UC Merced researchers are among those participating in a Future of Ag summit at CSU, Fresno March 30.

UC Merced researchers will discuss the campus's Experimental Smart Farm, as well as pressing agricultural issues, at a one-day summit later this month at California State University, Fresno.

The summit, What is the Future of Agriculture in California, is free to attend either in person or virtually March 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sponsored by The Maddy Institute, in partnership with UC Merced, Livermore Lab Foundation, Fresno State, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Stanislaus and Climate Now, the summit will address the current and future climate reality for the greater San Joaquin Valley as well as the opportunities and challenges ahead.

The Maddy Institute, named for longtime California legislator Kenneth L. Maddy, is a nonprofit collaboration between four public universities in California's San Joaquin Valley (Fresno State,CSU Bakersfield,CSU Stanislaus, and UC Merced) designed to advance public understanding of public policy issues impacting the Valley and support student development in government and public policy careers.

Sessions led by the participating universities are planned to delve into topics including sustainable groundwater management, the economics of agriculture and climate-smart practices.

UC Merced Professor Tom Harmon, who co-leads the Smart Farm, will moderate a panel discussion of the project, including research into new technologies, new ways to gather, manage and assess soil and water data, and ways to reduce farm costs while supporting better working conditions and higher yields. Taking part in the panel will be Smart Farm coordinator Danny Royer, graduate student and researcher Humberto Flores Landeros and Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) executive director Leigh Bernacchi, all from UC Merced, as well as Pauline Canteneur of FarmWise, a Bay Area farm robotics company.

Another UC Merced researcher, Ph.D. candidate Jose Rodriguez-Flores, will take part in a panel discussion of profitable repurposing of agricultural lands.

California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross will provide the keynote address.

The summit will also serve as a forum for ranchers, farmers, academics, corporations and government representatives to discuss and plan for what California agriculture might look like in 2045, the year when the state of California has committed to reaching net-neutral greenhouse gas emissions.

An industry-focused panel, with representatives from several major and mid-size producers, will address specific challenges. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory soil scientist Jennifer Pett-Ridge will provide an overview of the natural land solutions as well as emerging carbon friendly technologies designed to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.

Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval will host a conversation with state and federal elected officials. They will discuss the state of agriculture policy in California.

The event is free and open to the public with both in-person and virtual opportunities. For those attending in person, the event will be held at the Satellite Student Union at Fresno State.

To register and learn more, visit: .