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What is the Future of Agriculture in California?

A free, one day in-person and virtual summit
on the intersection of agriculture and climate


March 30, 2023

California State University, Fresno

The Summit

What does the Central Valley look like in 2045? 

The climate that has allowed California to become a global food producer is changing. Many producers already implement soil- and climate-smart practices like cover-cropping. How can agriculture producers and land owners continue to make profit and increase yields under drought, groundwater use restrictions, and warmer weather? How can California support farmers' transition to new practices and adoption of new technologies?


The Maddy Institute, in partnership with Climate Now and the Livermore Lab Foundation, will host an audience of 250+ in-person attendees and many more virtual participants at this free-of-charge, first-of-its-kind summit on March 30, 2023 at California State University, Fresno's Satellite Student Union.

Engage with the community, industry, policymakers, and academia in a technical discussion to explore the opportunities, technologies, and challenges for agriculture in a changing climate.

The Conference





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The Partners

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The Maddy Institute is a collaboration between four public universities in California’s San Joaquin Valley (California State University, Fresno, California State University, Bakersfield, California State University, Stanislaus, and University of California Merced) designed to advance public understanding of public policy issues impacting the Valley and support student development in government and public policy careers.

Climate Now is a multimedia resource on the science and economics of climate change, covering the key scientific theories underpinning our understanding of how and why the climate is changing, clean energy technologies, important research, and policies relevant to the climate crisis and the energy transition. Our mission is to provide policy makers, business leaders, investors, and journalists with the scientific and economic context necessary to make good decisions about policy formulation, capital allocation, and narrative focus. Climate Now will produce a dedicated podcast episode featuring the discussions that take place at this summit. Sponsors will be spotlighted on the Climate Now podcast. Climate Now is made possible, in part, by science partners like the Livermore Lab Foundation.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a Department of Energy multi-disciplinary science and research facility providing solutions to our nation’s most important national security challenges The Lab's Carbon Initiative focuses on innovations and opportunities in climate resiliency and carbon management. In 2020, LLNL's seminal report, Getting to Neutral, set the stage for how California might reach carbon neutrality by 2045. The Livermore Lab Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, supports the Lab's fundamental science and research by serving as the primary philanthropic partner - with a strong focus on community partnerships, outreach and educational programs.

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In-Person Attendees








Speaker Spotlight

This summit will showcase a variety of diverse speakers and experts. 
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Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)
Karen Ross was appointed Secretary of the CDFA In 2019 for her unmatched leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and in California; including environmental stewardship, climate change adaptation, and trade. Secretary Ross is passionate about fostering the reconnection of consumers to the land and the people who produce their food, and improving the access of all California citizens to healthy, nutritious California-grown agricultural products, celebrated for their diversity and abundance in serving local, national and global markets.

During Secretary Ross’ tenure, the Department has focused on core functions to protect and promote California agriculture, investing in the Department’s employees to provide the best service to farmers, ranchers and consumers and fostering an agricultural industry that embraces its role as a global leader on everything from the most technical aspects of farming to the broadest environmental imperatives.

Secretary Ross and her husband own 800 acres of a family farm where her younger brother, a fourth-generation farmer, grows no-till wheat and feed grains, incorporating cover crops and rotational grazing for beef production. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a graduate of the Nebraska Ag Leadership Program.

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Senior Staff Scientist and Group Leader at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL)
Jennifer Pett-Ridge is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at LLNL, Adjunct Professor at UC Merced and a member of the UC Berkeley Innovative Genomics Institute.

She uses the tools of systems biology and biogeochemistry (stable isotope probing, NanoSIMS imaging, molecular microbial ecology, and computational modeling) to make quantitative estimates of microbiome interactions and their effects on ecosystem biogeochemistry. She leads multiple team projects for the US Department of Energy, including the Microbes Persist Soil Microbiome Scientific Focus Area, and the Roads to Removal assessment of carbon dioxide removal options in the USA.

Pett-Ridge has received a DOE Early Career award, Secretary of Energy Achievement Award, Geochemical Society Endowed Biogeochemistry Medal, and the DOE Office of Science Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award.


Become a Sponsor

Cassandra Dawes
Events Director at Climate Now

This summit is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to participate and shape a critical conversation about how the changing climate, energy transition, and resource landscape will impact a vital driver of the local, state, and national economy in the years to come. For more information on sponsoring this summit or Climate in the Classroom, click below.
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The Agenda & Schedule

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Panel Session Topics

Setting the Stage Locally and Nationally

What does California policy provide for farmers, producers, and ranchers in response to climate change?  What opportunities exist to support farmers to transition to more carbon-friendly practices, and increase profits?

Led by Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Speaker: Jennifer Pett-Ridge

Enhancing and Preseving Water in the Central Valley

What techniques and technologies can be used to reduce water use in agriculture? What are the challenges to adopting new techniques, and what policies can support farmers in this adoption?

Led by California State University, Fresno

Moderated by Charles Hillyer, California Water Institute

Farmer and Producer-led Discussion of Climate-Smart Practices

What are farmers and producers already doing to support greater yield and climate smart practices? What challenges are they facing? What support do they need from scientists, academia, and policymakers?

Moderated by Louie Brown, Partner, Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP

The Business and Economics of Agriculture

The war in Ukraine caused fertilizer costs to spike. How might climate change impact how and what Central Valley farmers are able to export (and import from) overseas? What funding is provided by the state and federal government to support farmers to adjust their operations?

Led by California State University, Bakersfield

Moderated by Aaron Hegde, Professor and Chair of Economics, Environmental Resource Management, and Agricultural Business

The'Smart Farm'

Learn about cutting-edge research into new technologies, new ways to gather, manage, and assess soil and water data, reduce farm costs and support better working conditions and higher yields.

Led by University of California, Merced

Moderated by Thomas Harmon, Professor and Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Profitable Repurposing of Agricultural Lands

With drought conditions and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, some former agricultural lands are proving difficult to sustain. What lands should be repurposed and what economic opportunities exist for land owners willing and able to repurpose their land? 

Led by California State University, Stanislaus

Moderated by Chantelise Pells, Professor of Sustainable Agriculture

Connect with us

Cassandra Dawes
Events Director at Climate Now
Mark Keppler
Executive Director
Connect with Us (Anchor)
Location (Anchor)

Satellite Student Union
California State University, Fresno
2485 E San Ramon Ave

Fresno, CA 93710

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