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Labor and Automation in California Agriculture: Equity, Productivity, & Resilience
Tom Harmon, Professor, and Director, UC Merced Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering; Sierra Nevada Research Institute.
Tom Harmon is a Professor and Founding Faculty member at UC Merced, where he serves as the Director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and the Chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Professor Harmon's research addresses a broad array of topics ranging from toxic waste site remediation, to climate change impacts on watershed behavior, leaf cutter ants and greenhouse gas emissions, and developing transdisciplinary approaches to solving socio-environmental problems.
An agricultural revolution driven by automation, big data, and artificial intelligence is upon us. This presentation will introduce an exciting new research effort being undertaken by an interdisciplinary team from the University of California Merced, Berkeley, Davis, and Riverside campuses and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. California is an agriculturally rich state, yet its food system remains vulnerable to climate change, regulatory change, water availability, labor shortages, and unexpected disturbances. We know that automation improves efficiency. However, to create a sustainable California agri-food system, we must create a new model for agricultural technology (AgTech) design. This new design paradigm support more and better food while creating a vibrant future for workers and a healthy environment for future generations.
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