The Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT) has kicked this year off with a bang, already having hosted numerous events that have educated legislators, growers, technologists and other stakeholders about the importance of agricultural technology. The Center, which has been open for a little over two years, is taking a new solutions-orientated approach in 2018 where it is advancing innovation by bringing agricultural technologies to farmers, in their backyard.
As part of WG’s effort to bring tech out of Silicon Valley and into the farming communities, Western Growers has carried out the following activities and events:
- Arizona Speaker Pro Tem T.J. Shope attended the “Power Breakfast: AgTech - View from the Farm” event this morning in Phoenix, Arizona, which featured a panel of future farming leaders in the Arizona region who shared insight on how agriculture and technology are coming together. The event, which was hosted by WGCIT and the Phoenix Business Journal, attracted more than 80 attendees. The panel was comprised of WG’s newest Board member and former Future Volunteer Leader Steve Martori, Jr., of Martori Farms; former Future Volunteer Leader Trey Rodriguez of The Growers Company, Inc.; Sean Duncan of Duncan Family Farms; and Kami Weddle of Rousseau Farming Company.
- Congressman Jimmy Panetta and Congressman Rodney Davis visited the Center last week to speak to WGCIT agtech startups and sponsors and WG members about technology as an immediate solution to agriculture’s labor issues. Additionally, the group discussed the upcoming Farm Bill as a vehicle to stimulate research and product development in automation to save labor within the specialty crop space.
- Innovation in the Imperial Valley brought together nearly 200 farmers, researchers, technologists and agtech startups on February 8 in Brawley to delve into the labor and water issues facing Imperial Valley agriculture and the specific technologies being invented to help solve those issues. The event included panels on automation and water technology; fireside chats with venture capitalists and researchers; and a keynote address from San Francisco-based business leader Richard Moran.
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Western Growers members care deeply for the food they grow, the land they sustain, the people they employ, and the community in which they live.