California Bountiful Foundation

California Bountiful Foundation

Working together for a bright, bountiful future!

Supporting our farmers through research and data

The California Bountiful Foundation supports data-driven studies that analyze potential policies that could affect farming and ranching in California, America’s largest agricultural economy.

The California Bountiful Foundation, the nonprofit research affiliate of the California Farm Bureau, recently commissioned economic studies on European Union agricultural policies that could be considered in California. The EU policies seek to increase organic farming to 30% of total agricultural production and reduce chemical pesticide use 50% by 2030.

Data from ERA Economics, a Davis-based consultancy specializing in the economics of agriculture and water resources, revealed that such 2030 benchmarks could spike the costs of California lettuce production and increase food prices. Similarly, the data revealed that processing tomato growers would suffer from substantial market disruptions.

Just as U.S. Department of Agriculture studies estimated that the EU strategy could have a negative global impact of up to $1.1 trillion, research and data is critical for evaluating policy prescriptions to ensure that philosophical goals are supported by facts.

In California, farmers, ranchers and timber producers know well that assumptions do not fit well in agricultural systems. Real data drive their daily decision-making processes.

The goal of the California Bountiful Foundation is to enhance research and data collection and analysis that can evaluate solutions for California agriculture amid challenges of climate change. Unfortunately, there is often a lack of understanding by consumers and policymakers alike on what it takes to grow food. That can lead to poorly conceived regulations that adversely impact our food costs and increase food insecurity.

Backed by the California Farm Bureau, the California Bountiful Foundation was recently realigned as a research clearinghouse for supporting studies on climate-smart agriculture, farming technology, forest management, and water and economic security with real data. The foundation fosters technical and scientific engagement with California academic institutions. It is dedicated to science and research to help keep our family farms viable and to sustain America’s most bountiful—and critical—agricultural sector for the future.

The Bountiful Foundation seeks, obtains and implements grants supporting scientific research. Its work can inform policymakers and potential legislation, as well as educate the public on California farming, ranching and agricultural food production.

The Bountiful Foundation website,, includes research and studies. It also includes an introduction to the California Bountiful Foundation Science Data Working Group, which encourages participation of farmers, ranchers and timber producers who routinely gather information and data from working farms, ranches and forests.

This on-site data can have tremendous value to academia, consumers and policymakers as it represents real-world conditions for agriculture and forestry. With ever-increasing demands for transparency in our food-production system, compiling and sharing this data can serve agriculture and inform the public on food production in California and on protecting the state’s environment and natural resources.

Sophisticated collection is also a necessary antidote to avoid setting policy goals based on philosophies that may be lacking in facts.

To address climate change and work to protect and enhance our water resources, California policymakers need as much information as possible. The health of our air, water and soil requires science, research, facts and data. For agriculture, data is also key to understanding potential policy impacts for inflation, labor costs or the ability of growers to manage agricultural pests that can threaten our food supply.

However, one concern that farmers, ranchers and timber producers have is over how their data will be used and shared. Protecting private farm, ranch and forest information is crucial. This is where the role of the California Bountiful Foundation can be invaluable. As a nonprofit, the foundation will act as a credible entity that removes private information from data collection before any findings are shared for further research.

Ultimately, sharing data from our farms, ranches and forests with our academic institutions and research scholars can generate information that is accurate and thorough. The California Bountiful Foundation provides a unique opportunity for the agricultural community and academia to work together in furthering understanding of challenges affecting agriculture—while also developing solutions to guide our farming and ranching future.

In an era of modern technology, improving data collection is key for protecting our farms and enhancing our food production. Ultimately, scientific and technological solutions will help us address challenges of securing California’s food production and protecting our environment as well as growing opportunities for our farmers, ranchers, foresters and agricultural businesses.

Supporting research, data and facts will educate the public and policymakers on California agriculture so that it may endure and prosper for generations to come.

Amrith Gunasekara, Ph.D., is director of science and research for the California Bountiful Foundation, an affiliate 501(c)(3) of the California Farm Bureau. He may be reached at