Five years ago, Western Growers launched its Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT), housed in the Taylor Farms building in downtown Salinas. WGCIT brings together the ag industry and firms operating in the technology space to actively work on some of agriculture’s most vexing problems.
Below is an update from some of the startups housed in the WGCIT:
AgMonitor (formerly PowWow)
AgMonitor closed a Series A of $4.5 million and will continue to grow its Software-as-a-Service products across the food-energy-water nexus. It is a recent member of the Western Growers Association. Backed by multi-generational growers and tech angels, the software company delivers serious value to farms and food processors. Their software reduces the cost of energy and water inputs and also increases the bottom-line revenue by improving uniformity. AgMonitor provides a decision-support tool that leverages machine learning to solve practical problems in agriculture. It is perfectly suited for growers who want to increase their profit margins and pass a sustainable farm onto the next generation.
Agtools has posted its first public comments to the Biden Administration—America’s Supply Chains—A Digital Agriculture Program for America’s Small Farmers Comments: President Biden’s Executive Order 14017: “America’s Supply Chains.” Also, Martha Montoya, founder and worldwide experienced ag and food supply chain founder, is featured as one of the leaders in the industry “From Farms to Incubators: Women revolutionizing how our food is grown.” Equally important, Agtools has deployed the Enterprise program across the world with several software companies and VAR’s (Value Added Resellers) to implement faster and within compliance across global customers.
All American Drilling and Pump Service
All American Drilling and Pump Service is excited to be a Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology resident. It is a full service, one-stop-shop, for agricultural growers, municipalities, and commercial customers. The company specializes in water well drilling, retrofitting new or existing pump plants, well monitoring, well imaging, well treatment, well pumping, valve automation, and variable frequency drives. The company’s goal is to help growers and clients establish the most efficient water delivery systems for their operation. Contact Don Lewis at 831-596-9865, or visit www.allamericandrillinginc.com.
ApisProtect has monitored more than 100 million honey bees around the world to date and have a limited number of remote bee hive monitors available in the U.S in 2021. For the past three years, ApisProtect has worked side by side with commercial and hobbyist beekeepers in the U.S. and Ireland to develop a unique remote beehive monitoring system, collating over 15 million data sets. As they have seen with smart technology in all elements of our lives, the potential of collating data for improved decision making is transformative. By utilizing sensor technology within the beehive, ApisProtect can provide the beekeeper with data to improve decision making and increase the strength and health of their honeybee colonies. Recently, they worked with the team at TJ Honey to install their monitors. TJ Honey has moved their bees to canola crops in the past few weeks and ApisProtect will work with the team to streamline their operations. It was great to receive feedback from their team highlighting how easy and quick the installation was. If you would like to find out more about using bee monitoring technology in your commercial apiary, contact Vice President of Sales Dennis Kautz at email@example.com to find out more.
FarmWise has hired 15 equipment operators since the beginning of the season to support the deployment of their automated vegetable weeders across the Salinas Valley. The company is currently hiring across the board in both the field operations and engineering departments. Given their current traction, the FarmWise team expects to be adding another 200 million images of individual crops to their database this year. By doing so, the software capabilities of the FarmWise machines are getting stronger, allowing high-quality work in weedy fields and tighter spacing crops like broccoli and celery.
Ganaz is excited to announce that they just closed a $7 million Series A round and will be hiring in nearly all functions—sales, customer success, marketing, engineering, product and more. Bilingual (Eng/Spa) talent is especially encouraged to get in touch. Job descriptions coming soon, but for now, interested folks can drop them a note at: www.ganaz.com/careers
An important tool used in high yield farming is plastic mulch film. Agricultural mulch films are utilized to reduce water usage, suppress weeds, reduce fertilizer usage and increase crop yield. They also allow for earlier planting and control of the soil temperature to improve crop quality. In the U.S., the single-use agricultural film market exceeds 500 million pounds per year. The vast majority of this film is non-degradable polyethylene which must be landfilled or incinerated after use. Radical Plastics has made significant progress towards the development of soil biodegradable mulch films. The films are made by blending conventional polymers with their patented regenerative catalyst, which renders the plastic fully biodegradable in the natural environment. Field trials of mulch film produced by Charter Next Generation, Inc. made with Radical Plastics patented technology are in progress. These films function just like conventional mulch, but at the end of the growing season, they can be tilled into the soil where they fully biodegrade leaving no residue, no toxic substances and no microplastics. This eliminates the labor and cost associated with film removal and disposal. As an added benefit, the minerals used in the proprietary catalyst formulation have even been found to be beneficial for the health of the soil. Replacing conventional plastic mulch film with our soil biodegradable films is a big step to reduce plastic pollution.
Rantizo is a precision ag company revolutionizing in-season field operations with drone applications. But Rantizo is more than just drone spraying. Their turnkey solution provides an end-to-end system of industry leading hardware and user-friendly software that integrates with existing digital ag tools to identify field issues and address them, precisely when and where needed.
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