California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and the Netherlands’ Assistant Vice Minister Guido Landheer shake hands after signing the agreement on sustainable agriculture.

California and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are teaming up to work together on sustainable agriculture, dairy farming and food waste.

In an agreement, signed today by California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and Assistant Vice Minister Guido Landheer representing the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality, the parties agree to exchange their knowledge and expertise to work toward climate smart agriculture by fostering innovation and AgTech solutions to address shared challenges, such as agricultural sustainability, water management, and food waste.

“The ongoing collaboration that exists between the Netherlands and California speaks to our innovative spirit and shared understanding of the importance of this work,” said Secretary Ross. “In connecting from different parts of the world, we share not only what we have learned, but collectively aim for global solutions to address climate change and ensure resiliency and agricultural sustainability worldwide.”

The Netherlands and California are both major producers and exporters of agricultural products, notably in horticultural and dairy products.

California’s farming sector has a revenue of approximately $50 billion, and California exports more than $4.5 million worth of products to foreign markets. The Netherlands, which is 10 times smaller in area than California, exports approximately $100 billion, making it the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world, after the United States.

Both the Netherlands and California have great expertise in innovative solutions for sustainable agriculture, backed by internationally renowned academic institutions.

With this agreement, California and the Netherlands will expand their knowledge exchange to find solutions for some of the major challenges in modern agriculture. Notably, they agreed to expand their cooperation on reducing the environmental impact of their respective dairy sectors.

The Netherlands and California also agree to exchange expertise on AgTech, with the aim of lifting the pressure of natural resources through precision agriculture. Another important topic of collaboration is greenhouse production, which if done right could produce energy and use 10 percent of the amount of water needed for traditional crops.

“This agreement extends cooperation to find solutions for global challenges like climate change and food insecurity,” said Gerbert Kunst, Consul General of the Netherlands in San Francisco. “Knowledge exchange is the key to together solving these problems and promoting even more sustainable and efficient agriculture. California and the Netherlands are known for their top-notch AgTech. Think of vertical farming, wellness monitors for dairy cattle, and high-tech greenhouses that produce energy.”

California’s AgTech sector is supported by the presence of innovation capital Silicon Valley, with smart irrigation and plant data analysis being a couple of examples of recent AgTech innovations from California. The Netherlands is an expert on water management, indoor farming and dairy. Examples of the latest Dutch innovations include intelligent greenhouses with greater energy efficiency, smart ways to monitor crop quality, and techniques that give seeds more germinating power.

The signing is part of a visit from a Dutch government delegation to California’s Central Valley. The goal of this visit is to further develop ideas for a multi-annual Dutch AgTech presence in California, for example a physical or virtual center of excellence. Californian and Dutch stakeholders will meet during a Round Table meeting to discuss opportunities for digitalization and automation.