Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Strawberry Center and the USDA Research Agency recently received a federal grant to focus on tools to help automate strawberry farming in California. The Strawberry Center’s goal is to use research and education to increase the sustainability of California’s strawberry industry.
Center Director Gerald Holmes stated that strawberry farmers don’t have enough workers during the summer to keep up with the crops, so automation would be a big help. That's why things are so urgent a lot of times in agriculture because you have a perishable commodity. If you don't pick them at the optimum timing, they're either too ripe or not ripe enough. So you got to be there just in time.”
Holmes said the production of strawberries is a three billion dollar industry, and about 90% of the nation’s strawberries come from the Central Coast. This, he added, is why caring for and learning more about the crop is so important.
Photo source: Cal Poly