Sacramento, California - I was honored to have an opportunity this week to visit the world-class Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and learn about some of the cutting-edge research underway that has value to agriculture.

The Berkeley lab is an example of our lengthy and fruitful partnership with the University of California, which touches on many aspects of agriculture. During our tour we discussed research initiatives on climate change, water efficiency, soil health and urban agriculture. Those are all crucial pieces as we look to position food production to meet the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century.

Secretary Ross wears a virtual reality headset to view the inside of a grapevine captured by X-Ray.

Secretary Ross wears a headset to view the inside of a grapevine captured by X-Ray.

The science that was demonstrated was genuinely mind-boggling. One of the amazing things I saw was a project called “Advanced Light Sources.” It’s an advanced X-Ray system in high demand for a number of innovative research projects. It has enabled USDA researchers to actually see inside of grapevines, which has great potential for understanding water management and other issue to improve vine health. I got to see it myself and can confirm that it’s a wondrous innovative achievement.

I continue to be bullish about the future opportunities for California agriculture, even as we work to produce more food using fewer natural resources.  The great work done at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and within the entire University of California system will definitely help us meet that challenge.