California agriculture is the envy of the world, producing an abundance of remarkably safe, healthy an affordable food, while taking care of the land and environment. As one of only five Mediterranean growing regions on Earth, California is a major contributor to the global food supply and to the national security of the United States. To keep pace with growing demand for food, as the world’s population expands to nine billion people, California agriculture must remain profitable and competitive in a global market by efficiently using resources and controlling production costs. But it now faces unprecedented challenges to its sustainability in the form of pressures on its profitability and productivity related to water, regulations, labor, invasive species, urbanization and many other factors.
California Agricultural Vision (Ag Vision) was conceived by the California Department of Food & Agriculture and the State Board of Food & Agriculture to address these challenges. After holding public listening sessions and formulating a set of goals, the State Board turned to American Farmland Trust (AFT), a nonprofit conservation organization, to manage the Ag Vision process. AFT convened workshops in which more than 90 agricultural and other leaders proposed actions to address the key issues facing California agriculture in order to meet the State Board’s goals. It then recruited an Advisory Committee that included representatives from agriculture as well as from environmental, labor, hunger and nutrition interest groups. This Committee winnowed the proposals from the stakeholder workshops and now recommends a set of strategies to address the most critical challenges and assure the sustainability of California agriculture.