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WGCIT Updates CA Legislative Staffers about AgTech Updates, Center Happenings

Posted on October 06, 2017 15:53 PM by WGCIT

Nearly 20 representatives from the California State Capitol visited the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT) on October 4, 2017, to learn about the latest happenings in the Center and throughout the agtech industry.

As part of the California Legislative Staff Education Institute, staffers of California’s policymakers and other policy influencers visited Salinas to learn more about technology, mechanization and workforce issues in agriculture. These included budding leaders from the offices of Assemblymember Chad Mayesas, Senate Budget Committee, Legislative Analyst's Office, Senate Republican Office of Policy, Assembly Republican Office of Policy and Budget, Senate Appropriations Committee and Assembly Human Services Committee, among others.

The Capitol representatives kicked off their educational tour with Dennis Donohue, lead of the WGICT, where he spoke about Western Growers’ efforts to accelerate the creation of agricultural technologies to help solve the industry’s most pressing challenges such as labor, water and food safety. Trace Genomics, which recently matured to development stage and graduated from the WG incubator, spoke to the group about the offerings of the Center and how Western Growers assists startups in bringing their product from development to market.

The group had the opportunity to get a snapshot of the types of products being invented and perfected in the Center during the Resident Startup Panel. Hearing from WaterBit, Tailwater Systems, California Safe Soil and Food Orgins allowed the staffers to understand the wide range of issues agriculture faces and how entrepreneurs are collaborating with farmers to develop technologies that will solve each of these issues.

Once the Capitol representatives had a chance to digest all the information about apps, platforms and software from the WGCIT startups, they engaged in an in-depth Q&A session with local growers, including Joe Pezzini, president and CEO of Ocean Mist Farms; Lorri Koster, chairman and CEO of Mann Packing Co.; and Dennis Lebow, ‎director of land and water resources of Reiter Affiliated Companies.

The day wrapped up with a closing from Donohue about the role policymakers can play in supporting and the ag industry and ag technological advances.