Featured Innovations in agricultural technology showcased at Ag Tech Day

Published on November 3rd, 2021 📆 | 3250 Views ⚑


Innovations in agricultural technology showcased at Ag Tech Day

Agriculture-based cohorts and startups presented innovations in agriculture technology at Ag Tech Day, hosted by the Fresno State Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) on Thursday.

The event was held at the Water, Energy and Technology Center (WET) and showcased the CIT’s practices and technologies used in irrigation on Fresno State’s crops in hopes of cultivating more sustainable practices for farmers in the Valley.

This year’s Ag Tech Day provided a rare experience because of the opportunity to participate in the event virtually or in-person. Through the use of a mobile studio trailer, attendees were able to engage in the Q&A sessions and get to see all three sites on campus that the CIT was highlighting.

Charles Hillyer, director of the CIT, said the purpose of Ag Tech Day is to help keep growers informed about new technology in agriculture with a focus on irrigation technology and practices.

“We’re focused on irrigation technology, and that’s what this educational component is all about, irrigation tech. So, we’re trying to bring in the latest tech and current research and explain it to growers in a way that is accessible to them,” Hillyer said.

He said that the idea of having the event at Fresno State stems from the fact that the university has all the crops that are relevant in the Valley while also being in the metropolitan area of Fresno, providing closer proximity to the research being done where students can learn about the application of these technologies.

Each site focused on different areas of interest to farmers, such as Fresno State’s groundwater recharge project. 

Hillyer said that the primary focus was to show farmers how Fresno State integrated its groundwater recharge project, which is aimed at replenishing aquifers, into an almond orchard and how it could use this research tool to recharge a production orchard without the need to take out land to do so.

“This is a research tool that will eventually become a production tool where you can do recharge in a production orchard without having to interfere with your irrigation that is happening out there and without leaching out any of the nutrients that the farmers spent so much money putting into the soil,” Hillyer said.

Jesus Medina, a field support engineer for Groguru, is a Fresno State alum who earned his bachelor’s degree in 2018 and came to Ag Tech Day as a representative of one of the businesses trying to help farmers. 

Medina said being an alum of Fresno State is one of the reasons he wanted the company to come and help farmers.

“Being an alumnus here, I had the company come for the same reason. We like to provide that exposure to local farmers in the Central Valley,” Medina said. “What they want to do here at the WET lab and the other programs here is provide education to growers about the lack of information that isn’t available to them or is not easily available to them.” 

Alexis Duncile, the public relations and communications coordinator at the WET center and Fresno State alum, said one of the great things about Ag Tech Day is that farmers get help and the chance to learn more about each other’s technology and practices.

“Some of the great things about this event is people in the Valley, especially the ones familiar with water, energy and ag tech, kind of get to meet and collaborate and learn about each other’s technologies. But also [it is] the opportunity for farmers and the general public to learn more about some of the technologies that we have in place that allow for a more sustainable future surrounding water,” Duncile said.

Hillyer said that he hopes that any attendees who have questions on the information shared during the event refer to the CIT website and look at the presentations from the Ag Tech Day.

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