Experimental Smart Farm-Minor LRDP Amendment

7 Documents in Project


SCH Number
Lead Agency
University of California, Merced
Document Title
Experimental Smart Farm-Minor LRDP Amendment
Document Type
NOD - Notice of Determination
Document Description
UC Merced proposes to develop the Experimental Smart Farm (ESF) project in the southeastern portion of the campus in multiple phases. The initial phase planned for development includes approximately 33 acres for agricultural research and planting and approximately 14 acres for facilities and equipment staging area. The first phase of the ESF project would primarily test existing infrastructure and familiarize researchers with the site conditions including soil properties, pests and crop diseases, and groundwater and surface water behavior. Research activities would likely include baseline surveys, in -field soil sampling, installation, and operation of agricultural technology such as soil and weather sensors, and general agricultural operations. At full buildout, access to farm facilities for research would be expanded. Proposed research activities would require development and approval of detailed plans prior to implementation but uses are anticipated to be similar to Phase 1 research activities. The farm is proposed in an area of the campus that is currently used as an irrigated pasture with active cattle grazing. The area for proposed crop plantings has historically been used for row crops such as alfalfa and corn as well. Future phases and ultimate project buildout would consist of a more permanent, visitor-friendly research farm. The objectives for future phases of work would be to (1) install permanent structures to support ongoing research on site (i.e., restrooms, classrooms and meeting spaces, composting facilities, storage); (2) improve access roads, gates, and parking; and (3) expand agricultural research to the full site acreage. The project would include the following primary components: • A central farm facilities area (approximately 14 acres), that would include bathrooms, meeting space(s), tool and equipment storage, water storage tanks, shade structure(s), electrical infrastructure, and limited parking as part of Phase 1 development, with permanent buildings and facilities added over time to support farm operations, research activities, education, and outreach during future phases; • An approximately 33-acre initial agricultural use area (i.e., Phase 1), including row crops, permanent crops, irrigation lines, reservoirs, monitoring equipment, weather station, and other agricultural infrastructure to facilitate research activities; • Additional approximately 154 acres of agricultural fields within future agricultural use areas that would be focused on permanent cropping systems (e.g., orchards); and • Access route improvements along Meyers Gate Road and the Solar Array Road, consisting initially of gravel road surfacing and paved surfacing at project buildout. The proposed action is for the approval of the proposed minor LRDP Amendment (LRDP Amendment No. 1) to the 2020 LRDP which proposes to amend the language of the 2020 LRDP Campus Building Reserve/Support Land (CBR/SL) and Passive Open Space (POS) land use designations to clarify that agricultural research would be allowed within existing agricultural fields in the CBR/SL and POS land use designations. This will allow Phase 1 to commence.

Contact Information

Alvaro Arias
Agency Name
University of California, Merced
Job Title
Principal Environmental Planner
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Northern California
Other Location Info
UC Merced Campus

Notice of Determination

Approving Agency
University of California, Merced
Approving Agency Role
Lead Agency
Approved On


(1) The project will have a significant impact on the environment
(2a) An Environmental Impact Report was prepared for this project pursuant to the provisions of CEQA
(2b) A Mitigated or a Negative Declaration was prepared for this project pursuant to the provisions of CEQA
(2c) An other document type was prepared for this project pursuant to the provisions of CEQA
Yes (Addendum)
(3) Mitigated measures were made a condition of the approval of the project
(4) A mitigation reporting or monitoring plan was adopted for this project
(5) A Statement of Overriding Considerations was adopted for this project
(6) Findings were made pursuant to the provisions of CEQA


Disclaimer: The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) accepts no responsibility for the content or accessibility of these documents. To obtain an attachment in a different format, please contact the lead agency at the contact information listed above. You may also contact the OPR via email at state.clearinghouse@opr.ca.gov or via phone at (916) 445-0613. For more information, please visit OPR’s Accessibility Site.

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