As the top agricultural producer and exporter in the United States, California has significant areas of opportunity to continue to be a leader in the agriculture industry. The dominant crops produced in California have stayed relatively constant over the past few years, but the value of the crops is constantly changing as the market fluctuates. Milk, almonds, and grapes were the dominant crops grown in 2015 but the crops that saw the highest increase in value were sweet cherries, celeries, and spring onions. The acreage devoted to farming and ranching has stayed relatively constant in recent years, hovering around 25.5 million acres since 2014. Farms and ranches in California use four times as much water as urban areas. Water is a limited resource, and California agriculture producers must figure out how to meet the needs of their farms and ranches, even in drought years.
The biggest opportunity for agriculture producers in California will be how to maintain their position as a leader in the agriculture industry under the constraints of water availability. The population in California continues to increase each year, which means that the demand for food and water also increases. In parallel, recurring multi-year droughts further complicate the rising demand for water resources. California is in a unique position to lead by example for other states in the country by spearheading innovation in energy and water efficiency in the agriculture sector.