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WG Members, Leaders Among Experts at Salinas Valley AgTech Summit

Posted on March 31, 2016 14:54 PM by WGCIT

Western Growers had a strong presence at yesterday’s Third Annual Salinas Valley Agricultural Technology Summit, as WG members and staff led multiple panels and sessions throughout the day.  The Summit educated more than 500 ag and farm professionals about topics including crop protection, automation, harvest, innovation, worker safety and regulations through a series of presentations, panels, sessions, displays and demonstrations. The event, hosted by the Agricultural Business and Technology Institute at Hartnell College, was held in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Chapter of the CA Association of Pest Control Advisors.

This year, WG members and staff helped place emphasis on the growing partnerships in education, agriculture and technology that are driving breakthroughs impacting the industry. Jamie Strachan (Growers Express) helped kick off the event by providing some of the events’ opening remarks. During the first panel, Brian Antle (Tanimura & Antle), Frank Maconachy (Ramsay Highlander) and Mac Keely (Blue River Technology) highlighted the relationship and benefits of mechanization and machinery. Steve Wiley (American Takii Inc.) and WG Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Science & Technology Hank Giclas spoke about the environment, genetics and crop protection during the R&D Panel. Giclas also helped lead the Ag Trade Association Panel, which discussed opinions and strategies in agtech. Johnny Massa Comgro (Comgro Soil Amendments, Inc.) addressed plant protection and soil health during the Dealer and Supplier Panel. Additionally, A.G. Kawamura, former CA Secretary of Agriculture and a former chair and current board member of Western Growers, led a keynote speech.

Residents of the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT) also shined at the event. Matthew Wright (Specright) was featured in the Agtech Startup Session on company investment and growth. During the Farm Management Software Showcase Session, Mike Dodson (Lotpath) had the opportunity to demonstrate his company’s innovations and products. Caitlin Antle Wilson (Tanimura & Antle) rounded out the session portion of the Summit by giving tips on keys to a successful agtech education.

Additionally, the event featured a Venture Capital Pitch Room and Venture Capital Idea Room where budding entrepreneurs could speak and pitch to judges about their ideas for new technologies that could solve agriculture’s biggest challenges. WGCIT Consultant Lisa Dobbins was one of the judges that helped these startup hone in on their ideas, and Giclas presented the awards to the winners of both the pitch and idea room. 

When the educational portion of the event concluded, nearly half of the attendees gathered at the WGCIT for a closing reception. The event provided participants with a better perspective about the Center’s residents, the many initiatives and programs Western Growers is leading to advance agtech, as well as the programs that define the WGCIT as the “go-to” place for where innovation meets agriculture.

For more information, contact Hank Giclas at (949) 885-2205.