March WG Insider: Tim Borel, The Nunes Company
Posted on March 27, 2017 09:39 AM by WGCIT
Tom Nunes V (T5) was scheduled to speak to the WGCIT startups for the March WG Insider. At the last minute “T5” was called out of town by a large customer. Tim Borel, the Nunes Company’s production manager, was sent in his place. Borel has been with Blanco Farms and The Nunes Company for twenty years, and was incredibly knowledgeable about field management at every level: planning, planting, and harvesting, food safety and crop yields, organic and conventional farming, and brand (quality) management. Under Borel’s supervision, The Nunes Company grows full lines of organic and conventional produce, fifty-two weeks a year. While they grow in the Salinas Valley and Yuma, Arizona, they also grow outside of these main growing regions year-round. Borel shared that the production arm jokes that the company airplane is their “number one tractor” right now.
Numerous agtech startups in attendance were given first hand insight from Borel into how they can get their technologies in front of growers and production managers.
Here are a few of the numerous tips that the startups received:
1. Develop a plan to see a trial through to the end of production, and make it easy for the grower to try. (Do not just drop off a free sample with the receptionist.)
2. Build trust and get to know the growers you want to work with. The Salinas grower community is steeped in strong relationships. The farming industry here is a “fishbowl,” and other growers will hear about a technology that works.
3. Figure out who controls the land, because that is the partner you want to work with. The grower that controls the ground is the one that understands all of the aspects of farming that land.
4. Understand that all farmers are being told to “do more with less” right now.
When asked what the “farmer of the future” looks like, Borel predicts:
1. Farmers and production managers will need to be willing to travel regularly, and often.
2. Farmers will have less employees at the ranch level, and will have to automate.
3. Production teams will have a more educated workforce.
4. Farmers and ranchers will have to embrace technology, and be agreeable to change.