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What Ross’ Reappointment Means for California Growers

Karen Ross was reappointed as the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on Tuesday.

So what does Ross’ reappointment mean for California agriculture? Well, we’re expecting much of the same with a continued emphasis on precision ag technologies to improve the efficiency of our inputs (pesticides, fertilizers, water, energy use, etc.).

Ross “returns” as California’s Secretary of Agriculture after spending the previous eight years in the same role under Gov. Jerry Brown.

During the past eight years, California agriculture has seen its ups and downs, but for the most part has continued to flourish and is the top producer of many of the fruits, nuts and vegetables that we eat nationally in the U.S.

Over the second half of Ross’ tenure, the CDFA also made a concerned effort to get more technology in the hands of growers, through the help of grants and other programs such as the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) and Healthy Soils Program (HSP).

While administration changes at the federal and state levels will surely affect the dollars earmarked for agriculture over the next two to three years, we’re expecting California growers will continue to be encouraged to adopt precision ag technologies in an effort to improve efficiencies and protect state resources. Not to mention help growers meet increasingly stricter regulations when it comes to spraying, nutrition programs, water management, labor and land use.

After all, as the CDFA’s press release noted in the opening paragraph of the Ross announcement, “the state cabinet-level department was established in 1919 to promote and protect a safe, healthy food supply, local and global agricultural trade, and environmental stewardship.”

In one of her last conference appearances before being reappointed, Ross made a point to emphasize the importance of leveraging ag technologies to meet future food demands and establish benchmarks (think pest control, fertilizer and irrigation management) to not only improve production but get the most out of our resources.

“It’s about documenting what we’re doing and being able to quantify it, and being able to measure and monitor the progress that we continue to make – creating a benchmark that we can all measure ourselves against,” Ross said at last month’s Almond Conference in Sacramento. “That’s the secret to continuous improvement.”

The direction of California agriculture remains to be seen, but you can expect technology to play a major role in helping growers meet future regulations coming down the pike.

Contact us to learn how Fieldin is helping growers do just that, bringing efficiency and transparency to everyday cultural practices, spraying and harvesting activities.