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California strawberry industry holds Cal Poly Strawberry Center Field Day

Cal Poly Strawberry Center director Gerald Holmes
Opening remarks from Cal Poly Strawberry Center director Gerald Holmes

Annual event brought together researchers and California strawberry industry members to explore new research designed to increase sustainability and workforce efficiency

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (August 4, 2023) – Nearly 500 strawberry growers, shippers, processors, researchers and agricultural stakeholders gathered on August 3 for the seventh annual Cal Poly Strawberry Center Field Day, the largest research and education event for the California strawberry industry.

The event showcased the latest in innovative strawberry farming technology and research to better combat challenges faced by strawberry growers.

“The Strawberry Center Field Day gives growers the opportunity to see their investments in research in action,” said Allen Davis, chairman of the board at the California Strawberry Commission BB #:153596. “It’s exciting to see this partnership between the California Strawberry Commission and the Cal Poly Strawberry Center, bring together growers, students and researchers to develop more efficient and sustainable tools that are being used today California strawberry ranches.”

New research findings and tools in the areas of automation, pathology and entomology were presented and displayed by students, researchers and California Strawberry Commission staff. Examples of integrated pest management projects included the development of disease-resistant plant cultivars, the nighttime UV-C light treatment to manage pests and disease, and an optimized bug vacuum that sucks up pests as it rolls through fields mounted to a tractor.

“The Cal Poly Strawberry Center creates a strong synergistic relationship with the students, researchers and the strawberry industry,” said Oceanside strawberry grower, Neil Nagata. “California is leading the way in strawberry farming, not just in volume, but in innovative, sustainable practices that have been adopted around the world.”

The Strawberry Center was formed in 2014 as a partnership between the California Strawberry Commission and Cal Poly aimed at increasing the sustainability of California’s $3 billion strawberry industry through research and education. Recently, the Strawberry Center was awarded a $1 million reoccurring federal grant to expand its research in strawberry automation.

About California Strawberry Commission
The California Strawberry Commission is more than 400 strawberry farmers, shippers and processors, all working together to advance strawberry farming for the future of our land and people. 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.