California farmers are relying on research, now more than ever, to help them and our society to continue to thrive in the face of so many daunting obstacles.
One of the most exciting areas in agricultural research is precision breeding.
With precision breeding, botanists and other plant scientists are able to select the best aspects and traits of a specific crop and select genes to develop a new plant that can thrive with less water and be more resistant to pests and disease – resulting in a more sustainable crop. Precision breeding is different than genetic modification (GMO) because it simply takes the best traits within specific plant varieties. Rather than trial and error in traditional plant breeding, researchers can more quickly and precisely develop new varietals. This will become especially important as farmers confront the challenges of climate change.
It is encouraging that California farmers and university researchers are exploring ways to ensure a growing urban population – regardless of ethnicity or socio-economic status – will continue to enjoy the freshest, safest and most nutritious food on the planet.