Martijn van Dam, the Dutch Minister for Agriculture, will visit Sacramento, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley in California November 27-30. The Minister’s visit will focus on the strong collaborative relationship between the Netherlands and “The Golden State” in the areas of agricultural technology, food, and innovation.

While Minister Van Dam is in California, a parallel program is scheduled for a delegation of Dutch businesses in the agtech and food innovation sectors. At times, the business delegation will overlap with the Minister’s program. The business delegation program and complete list of businesses participating can be found here.

The Minister’s visit follows a visit by California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross to the Netherlands last year. At that time, the Netherlands and California agreed to work together on shared objectives, including cooperation in climate smart agriculture and environmental issues. The United States and the Netherlands are committed to innovation in agricultural policy. The US is the largest exporter of agricultural products, while the Netherlands, with 80 billion euros worth of agricultural exports, is the second largest.

Agricultural technology and innovation

Minister Martijn van Dam

Minister Martijn van Dam

“The Netherlands and California are recognized for innovation and agricultural technology. Both know the critical importance of information sharing and partnership to strengthen innovation in startups and in the agricultural sector. Our cooperation bears fruit for the Netherlands, California, and the United States,” said Minister Martijn van Dam.

While in California, Minister Van Dam will meet with elected officials, leaders in the business community, startups, and academics.

The Minister’s program includes a follow-up meeting with Secretary Ross where the two will discuss collaboration on a climate smart agriculture roadmap, and food innovation.

The Netherlands and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) enjoy a strong partnership. In 2015, Secretary Ross led a California delegation to the Netherlands on climate smart agriculture to see first hand how the Dutch protect food security during a time of climate change. Additionally, the CDFA and the Netherlands have organized a series of webinars with experts from Wageningen University (in the Netherlands) and California on climate smart agriculture. The first webinar, held this summer, addressed the challenges and opportunities presented in saline agriculture. The second webinar will take place during the visit of Minister Van Dam and will cover “Sustainability in Dairy.”

Research collaboration

Minister Van Dam will also visit the University of California Davis for a presentation on a research project between UC Davis and Wageningen University on the early detection of mosquito-borne diseases. UC Davis and Wageningen University, two of the leading agricultural universities in the world, share a history of collaboration on agrifood.

Innovative startups, venture capitalists, and accelerators will also be a part of the Minister’s visit. Minister Van Dam will meet representatives from Caribou BioSciences, RocketSpace, IndieBio, Google Food, Planet, Impossible Foods, Perfect Day, and Endura Bio.

Select events of the Minister of Agriculture and Delegation Visit:

Monday, November 28

12 p.m. at the University of California Davis campus, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis
Minister Van Dam attends a research briefing on findings from UC Davis and Wageningen University on mosquito-borne diseases. Media may attend this seminar but should RSVP to by November 22.

3:30 p.m. Press moment at RocketSpace, 180 Sansome Street, San Francisco
RocketSpace will host a Netherlands – California Food Startup workshop where Dutch and US food entrepreneurs will pitch their companies at RocketSpace, a well-known tech campus in Silicon Valley. During this event, executives from Blueberry Ventures and Anterra Capital will discuss the future of the food system. Media are invited to attend the event at RocketSpace, as well as a press moment with Minister Van Dam at the conclusion of the event. Space is limited and RSVP to is required by November 23.

Tuesday, November 29

9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Seminar on “Climate Smart Agriculture in Times of Water Shortage & Water Quality Challenges,” at UC Davis, Activities and Recreation Center.
Jenny Lester Moffitt, Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Marjolijn Sonnema, Director General of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, will give keynote remarks at the seminar. The seminar with Dutch and Californian experts will include presentations on managing water quality, and Dutch methods to enable climate smart agriculture production without compromising water resources. The seminar closes with participants giving short pitches on soil health, agriculture, smart water use in micro-irrigation, and nutrient losses. Members of the media may attend this seminar and should RSVP to by November 23.

5:15 pm Press Moment at the Consulate General of the Netherlands, 120 Kearney Street, San Francisco.
Members of the media are invited to meet Minister Van Dam to discuss the visit, as well as future collaboration between the NL and CA. Media should RSVP to by November 23 to attend.

Follow Minister Van Dam’s visit on Twitter using: #Agtech