Hundreds of people gathered on the Central Coast again for the 2017 Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas. The University of California system was represented in the conversation, along with many other big businesses and investors. “Agriculture has, and should have, Silicon Valley’s attention,” UC President Janet Napolitano said during her keynote address to attendees.
That sentiment is relatively new, developed over the last few years. The two industries, agriculture and technology, do not have a history with one another and Napolitano told AgNet West that can no longer be the case. “For a long time we have had the agriculture sector and the technology sector and ne’er the twain shall meet,” she said. “That just is not sustainable anymore, and those two forces have to converge.”
University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, with the Cooperative Extension program, is an essential link to the industries integrating. The research and science behind agriculture can unite with new technologies.
Napolitano said she is happy to assist that relationship in any way she can because UC Cooperative Extension can be the education bridge between technology and producers. “Cooperative Extension is very important, and we are in all 58 counties in California,” she said. “Through Cooperative Extension is one way we translate innovations that are occurring in the lab to what the grower needs to know and how to deploy it.”