Biotechnology and sustainable agriculture are two additional issues that generate considerable political and regulatory interest.

Japan is a critical market for California agricultural products and, so far, the Japanese have not embraced biotechnology. This has hampered the development of biotech rice for California rice growers.

Japan is “slowly coming around” she said on biotech rice as the other major rice-producing countries like China and India “wholeheartedly” endorse the development of biotech rice.

Pinel said market acceptance will be the key to future development of biotech crops in California.

The bureaucracy and the legislature continue to promote sustainability in agriculture and push agriculture more toward organic systems.

This, she said, often comes without a “practical understanding” of agriculture and what the end results and cost of this push might be.

“A lot of these systems have not been researched on a practical scale” for commercial agriculture “to see if they are economically feasible,” she added.