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.

  • Greenhouse Growers Sustainability Forum

  • Greenhouse Growers Sustainability Forum

    On November 6, 2013 the California Sustainability Alliance held a forum for the Southern California Gas Company’s (SCG) greenhouse, floriculture and horticulture customers in Santa Barbara, CA. Fourteen participants from twelve growing operations participated at the forum. The half-day forum included a presentation on the science of sustainable soil, three best practices presentations by growers, and break-out discussion sessions.

    The primary goal of the forum was to “listen” to the growers to A) determine what is their current level of use and acceptance of energy efficient practices, and B) assess which of their needs are opportunities that SCG could address.

    The Alliance report entitled Sustainability Forum for Greenhouse, Floriculture and Horticulture Customers documents the presentations, discussion and general conclusions of the forum. The report documents key recommendations from participants regarding potential improvements to utility programs. These recommendations include:

    • Streamline the paper work and reduce the processing time needed to qualify for and receive utility rebates and incentives
    • Provide more technical and design information, including pre-engineering support, and increase financial support for advanced energy and water efficiency technologies
    • Provide more support to qualify cogeneration and alternative energy projects
    • Increase utility support of agriculture customers by increasing account executive support and offering regular grower forums
    • Team up pump and irrigation specialists with utility account executives to conduct more audits and field operation reviews
    • Provide help to perform financial analysis for energy efficiency projects

    Download the full report for more recommendations and additional details.