CDFA secretary Karen Ross recently joined UC Merced’s chancellor, Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz, at a seminar on campus called “Securing a Climate Resilient Water Future for the San Joaquin Valley.” Secretary Ross and Chancellor Muñoz share common concerns given the ongoing drought, the impacts of climate change on California agriculture, the need to support rural and local economies in California’s Central Valley, and the demand for science-based research into problems and policies.
The seminar brought together multiple irrigation districts, scientific researchers at UC Merced, university administrators, and others to understand the current impacts of climate change on water resources. It was organized by Dr. Joshua Viers, who is working to make advances in data integration to build climate resilience through artificial intelligence (AI). For example, the campus is planning to host a “smart farm” that will showcase agricultural technologies and seek to develop them further to ensure food security and support sustainability.
CDFA relies on UC Merced and its scientists for critical data on drought and climate change. A professor there, Dr. Josué Medellín-Azuara, is providing important drought information on expected fallowed acreage, job loss numbers, and economic impacts. CDFA uses this information to support farmers and ranchers as they work to adapt to fundamental changes brought about by drought and climate change.