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One California, One UC Davis
WE’RE GROWING
CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURE
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A rancher and a member of the UC Davis faculty sitting in a stand of oak trees

For generations of farmers and ranchers, a special relationship with UC Davis has borne fruit year after year.

In fact, the partnership between agriculture and the university has been key to making our state the top national producer for more than 50 years. This accomplishment mirrors our own standing as the No. 1 agricultural program in the world.

An assortment of fruits and vegetables
A vintage photo circa 1955 of a student caring for a cow

From our beginnings as the UC Farm School in 1908, we’ve taught and researched, pioneered and led. And we’be collaborated with California agriculture for the good of the land and its sustainability.

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Partnership Grows Tomato Industry

California produces 96 percent of the country's processed tomatoes. Growers in the Golden State collaborate with UC Davis to keep up with pest, disease and water management.

Why Peaches Started Tasting Better

UC Davis plant scientist Carlos Christos works with growers and packagers to pick peaches and other stone fruits later in the season. Letting fruit ripen before being shipped ensures that it is consistently sweeter and better tasting.

NEWS

A rancher walking through a field of dry grass on his property Drought lessons from a sheep rancher

While a severe drought continues to devastate California agriculture, one sheep rancher has found a solution at the bottom of his wood stove.

Four students standing in a wheat field, smiling at the camera. Walking sticks, eagles and goats — oh, my!

UC Davis is bursting with life, from squirrels and otters to agricultural animals that students come to study at the world's No. 1 agricultural university.

A child helps her toddler sister keep a handle on her ice cream cone Got ice cream! (Thanks to UC Davis)

Confidence in the safety of California’s dairy products results from the California Animal Health and Food Safety laboratory system administered by UC Davis.

Four students standing in a wheat field, smiling at the camera. Springtime for wheat starts with a gene that ‘sees’ light

UC Davis scientists have discovered the function of a gene that allows wheat to discern the length of each day and night.

Pollination Ecologist Neal Williams preparing a research site. Champion of the alternative bee

It’s more the merrier for almond growers when wild bees work alongside honeybees, says pollination ecologist Neal Williams.

A hereford steer standing in an open field, turning back toward the viewer New cattle virus ID helps rule out mad cow disease

A cow virus that causes neurological symptoms reminiscent of mad cow disease has been identified by a team of researchers including scientists at UC Davis.

Wine Bottle

World-class wine

Without a doubt, UC Davis research has been instrumental in transforming California into one of the world’s major producers of premium wine. California now has more than 500,000 acres of winegrapes and 3,750 wineries that produce more than 90 percent of the nation’s wine. The economic impact of the California wine industry is over $45 billion per year.

The quintessential Wine Aroma Wheel, used for wine sensory evaluation by professionals and consumers, was developed at UC Davis, along with cool fermentation methods for white wine, sterile filtration procedures, and methods to manage devastating pests. such as phylloxera and glassy-winged sharpshooter.

Research is now focused on working with winemakers to produce wine sustainably (using substantially less water and energy), and to identify the antioxidant health components of wine.

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Holstein Cow

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Pile of rice

Rice times three

Thanks to UC Davis, rice yields have increased from 2,300 to 8,000 pounds per acre, allowing rice to become one of California’s top 20 agricultural products (worth $770 million per year).

This has been done while increasing the vitamin A content of some rice varieties, removing past practices of burning fields and subsequent air pollutants, providing bird and salmon habitats in rice fields, and supplying domestic and offshore markets with nutritious rice.

In fact, rice is one of California’s top 10 agricultural exports (with a value of $670 million last year).

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Juicy Peach

More efficient stone fruit farming

California leads the nation in production of peaches (clingstone and freestone), nectarines and apricots. Those three stone fruits, along with cherries, had a California cash income value of $1.1 billion last year.

UC Davis research has been used to increase production of stone fruits in California by developing practices such as reducing water and pesticide use in orchards, improving the flavor of fruits such as peaches, and prolonging the postharvest longevity for consumers. New research is providing ways to improve worker safety in orchards and optimize water use.

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Handful of almonds

Almond abundance

UC Davis researchers have helped growers double the California almond production per acre in the past 20 years and become world suppliers of almonds. Almonds are the No. 3 agricultural commodity in California — 1 million tons are produced per year, with a value of $4.3 billion.

California grows almost 100 percent of the nation’s commercial almonds, and almonds are California’s No. 1 agricultural export ($3.4 billion export value last year, with markets in Asia, Europe and the Mideast). And UC Davis has worked with the almond industry to improve the food safety of California almonds for consumers.

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Hereford Steer

Pioneer in Beef Nutrition

UC Davis animal scientists are at the forefront of supporting California cattle and beef production and California meat-eating consumers.

Cattle are the fourth leading agricultural commodity in California, with an annual value of $3.3 billion, and beef products are one of the state’s top 20 export commodities (valued at $374 million annually).

Our research on cattle covers the areas that are important to all of us — nutrition and health of the cattle, healthier meat for consumers, food safety of beef and other meat products, animal welfare, finding ways to merge make sure cattle grazing is compatible with safeguarding environmental water quality, and boosting the California economy.

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Strawberries

During six decades, the UC Davis strawberry breeding program has developed more than 30 patented varieties, made strawberries a year-round crop in California and boosted strawberry yield from just six tons per acre in the 1950s to 30 tons per acre today.

As a result, California is the dominant producer of both fresh and processed strawberries, providing more than 87 percent of the strawberries consumed in North America. Strawberry varieties developed at UC Davis produce about 60 percent of the strawberries consumed worldwide.

UC Davis recently organized and inventoried the entire collection of approximately 1,500 strawberry breeding plants — sometimes referred to as a germplasm collection - and made additional copies of each of the plants.

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Lettuce

Lettuce is important in California as one of the top 10 agricultural commodities (worth $1.4 billion last year).

UC Davis research has helped develop sound production practices for many lettuce varieties (not just iceberg lettuce), allowed growers to significantly increase lettuce production, reduce field-borne lettuce diseases, and develop practices to reduce foodborne pathogens on leafy greens, such as E. coli.

Lettuce is also one of California’s top 20 agricultural exports ($345 million annually), with export shipments primarily to Canada.

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Tomatoes

The strength of California’s tomato industry is due in large part to a long history of partnerships with UC Davis. California leads the nation in processing and fresh-market tomato production, and tomatoes are one of California top 10 agricultural commodities (cash income of $1.2 billion last year).

Processed tomatoes are among the top 10 agricultural exports in California ($574 million value last year). UC Davis hosts the world’s largest tomato seed bank, with more than 3,600 tomato varieties. That has helped improve California’s processing tomato industry (the source of pasta and pizza sauces, ketchup, dried tomatoes and other processed tomatoes.)

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