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The WG Tech Center’s Top 5 in 2021

Posted on January 06, 2022 13:05 PM by elyons

As we look ahead to 2022, here is a recap of the top five things that came out of the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT) last year:

  1. Voices of the Valley Podcast
    Voices of the Valley – a podcast where agtech experts WGCIT Director Dennis Donohue and GreenVenus CEO Candace Wilson interview leading entrepreneurs, innovative farmers and industry analysts to pull back the curtain on all things ag and tech – was revamped and relaunched, with an incredible audience response.

In the first Voices of the Valley episode of 2022, Karen Ross (California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary) delves into the opportunities 2022 offers for the California farming industry – including meaningful ways to the change narrative of agriculture.

Listen to the Voices of the Valley podcast in several ways:

Subscribe now, so that you do not miss an episode!

  1. AgTechX Food Safety Program
    The WGCIT launched a Food Safety Initiative at a virtual AgTechX event in the spring of 2021. The AgTechX Food Safety Program will continue, in-person, this year. The WGCIT is teaming with the Center for Produce Safety and Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture to host AgTechX Food Safety in Yuma, Ariz. on Feb. 2, 2022.

The event kicks off a yearlong initiative aimed at food safety technology acceleration to improve the toolkit of rapid diagnostics and prevention technologies. The event will take place at the Four Points by Sheraton Yuma from 1 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. AgTechX Food Safety will include panels on industry issues, regulatory reviews and food safety innovation, including the introduction of the AgTechX Food Safety Cohort of Agtech Companies. All WG members are welcome to register for AgTechX Food Safety 2022 now.

  1. Global Harvest Automation Initiative
    Western Growers launched the Global Harvest Automation Initiative in Tulare last year. This February, WG Innovation Vice President Walt Duflock will be updating the industry with “big news” out of the Center. WG will launch its annual harvest automation report and preview the California Ag Robotics Forum. Learn more in this recent Western Farm Press story
  2. Next Gen Ag Worker
    The ‘Next Gen Ag Worker’ collaboration between Western Growers and CDFA Secretary Karen Ross was announced during AgTechX Ed Reedley; WG President/CEO Dave Puglia also announced the Western Growers Agtech Workforce Readiness Campaign during this event.

As part of the effort to cultivate a future workforce with the skills and knowledge to navigate emerging on-farm technology, WG will host AgTechX Ed Imperial Valley on January 26, 2022, at Imperial Valley College. Read more about AgTechX Ed Imperial Valley here. All Western Growers members can register free of charge.

  1. Organic Grower Summit

The Organic Growers Summit returned to Monterey live, in-person, with a fantastic showing by WGCIT residents. The startups made the 2021 Organic Growers Summit a tremendous success. The WGCIT was heavily showcased in education sessions and in the WG booth space, over both days of the program. Highlights and recordings of the keynote and educational sessions will be available soon on the Organic Produce Network’s OGS page. Tim Linden wrote an article for The Produce News about the industry uniting at OGS. The keynote presentation featured Dave Puglia guiding a conversation with the next generation of organic leaders; watch the panel and the honoring of Vic Smith as the Organic Growers of the Year now.


Bonus Point
The best part of the WGCIT is the continued success of our agtech innovators.

  • AgTools continues to win awards, like the ‘Diversity in ClimateTech’ award from Cornell University, and has earned a place in the Illinois AgTech Accelerator at the University of Illinois.
  • Burro raised $10.9M Series A and was just named a ‘Top 10 New Product Winner’ by the World Ag Expo.
  • Full Harvest celebrated a $23M Series B fundraising round.
  • FieldIn bought fellow agtech firm Midnight Robotics, to add their autonomous technology to the original FieldIn technology core offering.
  • Bear Flag Robotics was acquired by John Deere to accelerate autonomous technology on the farm.
  • AgMonitor closed their $4.5M Series A.
  • Ganaz announced that they closed a $7M Series A fundraising round.

This is just a sampling of all the success coming out from our startups in 2021. It is always exciting to learn more about our WGCIT startups and the technologies they are creating to solve real problems on the farm!