Farming meets science in California’s agtech industry, and the Central Coast has both in abundance.


The region’s deep agricultural roots and celebrated wine industry — spanning Paso Robles, SLO Coastal, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara — are reaching into the future with precision farming and innovative sustainability practices to conserve water, increase efficiency and boost profitability.

These practices have boosted crop values and the industry’s economic impact by more than a third over the last decade. With the Central Coast’s strong sense of stewardship for its natural assets, advancing sustainability is a key focus to ensuring the land continues to provide for generations to come.

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Shining a light on pest control with TRIC Robotics

Writer Sara Roahen spotlights this agtech startup growing deep roots on the Central Coast.…

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Hortau among Top 100 AI Companies to Watch

Hortau’s patented irrigation management system is helping growers keep their plants healthy.…

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A sustainable future for strawberries

Research taking place at the Cal Poly Strawberry Center is driving sustainable farming practices for the industry.…

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Recent Highlights

Santa Barbara County agriculture reaps $1.9 billion in production value

Agriculture continues to be Santa Barbara County’s largest-producing industry with a gross production value of $1,930,445,000.

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Apeel tops list of startups raising record sums to cut food waste

Thanks to $640 million in funding, Apeel’s rot-reduction coatings for produce are available at top food retailers in the United States and Europe.

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New carbon capture algae farm planned for North SLO County

Global Algae’s latest project aims to capture carbon dioxide and produce polymer products from algae oil with the goal of contributing to rainforest growth and providing a new sustainable source of protein and oil.

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A students tends to rows of lettuce

Cal Poly

The top 5 College of Agriculture Food and Environmental Sciences cultivates  partnerships and innovation through applied research centers including the Irrigation Training & Research Center, the new $22 million Justin and J.Lohr Center for Wine and Viticulture, and the Strawberry Center.

Two chairs overlooking a vineyard view

Robust ecosystem

The Central Coast is home to an abundant agricultural ecosystem, with two active Farm Bureaus, a handful of wine region alliances and specialized business services such as banking and insurance. A SLO County Farm Trail connects the industry to the region’s thriving tourism scene.

Man shows a chart to a small crowd in a vineyard

Sustainable Ag Expo

This annual event presents the latest agtech research from experts across the world, hosted by the Vineyard Team, an internationally recognized leader in sustainable winegrowing and developer of the SIP-certified sustainable wine designation.

Agtech incubator

The successful HotHouse incubator has launched an agtech incubator at the Sandbox in Paso Robles, offering a range of services to support and scale startups in agriculture technology. The location also houses an SBDC outreach center.

Allan Hancock

The college has a rapidly growing agriculture program — including an industrial hemp research program and a National Science Foundation-funded project advancing precision agriculture through industry partnerships — as well as viticulture and enology.

UC-Santa Barbara

Several UCSB programs advance the field of agriculture, including the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, the UCSB Smart Farm, and the Food-Energy-Water focus area at the Institute for Energy Efficiency.


SLO + Santa Barbara County crop value 2021


2021 agtech investment in CA, more than next 10 states combined


R&D ag acres at Cal Poly

Agtech businesses

Click the dots to see companies in the region, and find detailed company, industry and regional data in our data center.

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