Cal Poly Strawberry Center and California Strawberry Commission Host Second Automation Summit April 3 at Cal Poly
SAN LUIS OBISPO — The California Strawberry Commission and Cal Poly Strawberry Center will host the second Strawberry Automation Summit at Cal Poly’s Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, April 3.
The summit will highlight the critical work accomplished through the ongoing partnership between the commission and the university. The California Strawberry Commission recently committed up to $5 million over five years to establish and grow the Cal Poly Strawberry Center to support research addressing critical strawberry industry issues. With an original investment of $1 million from the commission in 2014, Cal Poly launched the Cal Poly Strawberry Center, which has grown to 10 acres of farmland and a team of faculty and staff specializing in plant pathology, entomology and automation.
“Our continued partnership with the California Strawberry Commission exemplifies the value of industry and higher education working together to provide students with hands-on learning experiences that meet critical industry needs,” said Andrew Thulin, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
The all-day conference, co-hosted by the California Strawberry Commission and the Cal Poly Strawberry Center, is expected to attract more than 150 strawberry growers, processors and shippers representing 80 percent of California’s strawberry industry. The event will showcase the latest advances in production automation, highlighting on-farm robotics and integration of digital technologies in strawberry production agriculture.
“Faculty, staff and student research efforts are aligned with the needs of the strawberry industry,” said Gerald Holmes, director of the Cal Poly Strawberry Center. “Students are engaged in research and educational activities at the center and many are securing positions in the strawberry industry upon graduation.
To sustain critical efforts to meet the evolving needs of the California strawberry industry, Cal Poly and the California Strawberry Commission committed to continue their partnership to deliver applied research and innovation in automation at the center.
“The Automation Summit is the only commodity-specific agriculture technology conference in the world. This is an example of how the partnership between the California Strawberry Commission and Cal Poly has brought together industry, academia and technology to continue the history of innovation by California strawberry farmers,” California Strawberry Commission President Rick Tomlinson said. “We can’t wait for disruption to come to us; we must seek innovation and lead change.”
California grows about 88 percent of all U.S.-grown strawberries. It is one of the state’s top four agriculture commodities, accounting for $3.1 billion in value in 2017. The continued partnership of the Cal Poly Strawberry Center and the California Strawberry Commission, through applied research and innovation across all disciplines, works to ensure the future growth and success of the industry.
About the Cal Poly Strawberry Center
The Cal Poly Strawberry Center in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences focuses on applied research that incorporates both teaching and learning experiences for Cal Poly students, faculty and California strawberry farmers. The center is a joint partnership between Cal Poly and the California Strawberry Commission.
About the California Strawberry Commission
The California Strawberry Commission represents more than 400 strawberry farmers, shippers and processors working to advance strawberry farming. Commission programs create opportunities for success through groundbreaking programs focused on workforce training, strawberry production research, and nutrition research. Through science-based information and education, it delivers the good news about sustainable farming practices that benefit the health of people, farms and communities. For more information, go to www.calstrawberry.com.
About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, including ranchland, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country, with 4,000 undergraduate students. Learn more at https://cafes.calpoly.edu/.
Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo
Carolyn O’Donnell, California Strawberry Commission
Photo Information: In the photo at top, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Dean Andy Thulin, Cal Poly Strawberry Center Director Gerald Holmes and California Strawberry Commission President Rick Tomlinson outside of the Cal Poly Strawberry Center in March.
Cal Poly Strawberry Center Director Gerald Holmes speaks at the first Automation Summit held at Cal Poly by the California Strawberry Commission in 2018.
April 2, 2019
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