Western Growers and the Center for Innovation & Technology are requesting proposals from qualified startup companies that are innovating ag tech solutions to meet the pressing demands and challenges of growers, shippers and fresh food processors to join us at the Western Growers 91st Annual Meeting, November 6-9, 2016 in Kauai, Hawaii, at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, as a participant in the Innovation Arena.

Consistent with the issues and current topics being discussed and related to labor, water, improving efficiencies and the evolution of the industry as a whole, startups should be prepared to articulate the benefit of their solution at a workshop during the Western Growers Annual Meeting. Western Growers is keenly interested in technologies that will assist in the mechanization of labor intensive field work or help control field inputs such as crop protection materials and nutrients although there are no limitations on the type of technology that may be brought forward or on the industry problem/challenge that might be targeted.   

Six companies will be selected  to participate in the Innovation Arena and All applications will be reviewed by our Food Safety Science and Technology (FSST) Committee. Each Committee member will prioritize the companies or technologies that they would like to present at the Annual Meeting. WG Staff will select the 6 companies that receive the highest priority from the FSST Committee. Companies selected to present will be evaluated by “Judges” (designated WG members who are innovators and technology leaders) and the WG Audience during a workshop where each company will have 10 minutes to pitch and answer questions. Audience and Judge scores will be combined to select a WG favorite company/technology.

If selected to participate in the Innovation Arena at the 91st Western Growers Annual Meeting, November 6-9, 2016 in Hawaii: Western Growers will provide complimentary registration ($1,099 value), 2 nights lodging at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, and $1,000 travel expenses for one individual from each selected company.

Each company will be subjectively evaluated by workshop panelists and the audience. Two awards will be issued at the end of the workshop for a Panelist and Audience favorite. In the event these are the same company we will award a Workshop Favorite and a Runner Up. Each winner will receive a complimentary one-year membership with Western Growers, a customized arrangement for expanded exposure through a relationship with the the Center and we will write a story about their technologies in our Western Grower & Shipper magazine.

Step into the Arena

The agriculture industry has never faced so many challenges. Never before has our nation’s population been at once so distant from those who produce its food while at the same time so focused on food and the way it’s produced. Never before have farmers faced such intensive regulatory and marketplace demands even as key resources, such as water, become scarcer.

Technology and innovation will help answer each of these challenges

For complete details, including background, travel and transportation arrangements, awards and terms, please download the RFP below.