UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz named agricultural experiment stations

Two men standing at a fence with a golden field of grass behind them.

UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz have been named University of California agricultural experiment stations (AES).

AESes are location-based scientific research centers at land-grant universities that attempt to improve various aspects of agricultural endeavors by partnering with farmers, ranchers, suppliers, processors and others involved in food production and agriculture.

These are the first UC campuses to receive the designation in more than 50 years, joining UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Riverside — meaning all four CITRIS campuses are now AESs, working to innovate California’s multibillion-dollar ag industry.

“The UC is a leader in sustainable ag practices, and it is important that the emerging strengths and location of Merced be part of a climate-resilient food future,” said Joshua Viers, director of CITRIS at UC Merced.

“Our designation as an agricultural experiment station is a major milestone for UC Merced. We are striving to bring fresh perspectives to agriculture by working at the intersection of agricultural technology, safe and equitable farm work and environmental sustainability,” said professor and CITRIS researcher Tom Harmon.

Viers and Harmon co-lead UC Merced’s new smart farm, which will become the campus’s AES facility.