July/August 2022

By Dave Puglia, President and CEO, Western Growers

Among the more irritating adages used in political discourse is: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” It is often applied inappropriately, kind of like: “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over,” which is both painfully overused and mistakenly attributed to Mark Twain.

And yet, most of these well-worn phrases reach peak utilization precisely because they are valid in so many situations.

At the midway point of 2022, WG Women reached a significant milestone: There are now more than 100 women participating in the leadership development program.

The mission statement of WG Women is to identify and prepare women in production agriculture for positions of leadership with Western Growers and the fresh produce industry. Through virtual and in-person trainings, mentoring and network events, the group envisions a fresh produce industry that reflects the value of women in production agriculture and promotes women to the highest levels of company and industry leadership.

Ann Donahue

It was a glorious June morning. D’Arrigo California CEO John D’Arrigo and the company’s tech guy, Andy Holtz, Director of Mechanized Equipment Development, were riding on the front end of a working romaine harvester as it moved through a pristine field of beautiful heads of lettuce.

Tim Linden

There are many very cool high-tech ideas bouncing around the specialty crop industry, moving forward at various levels of speed, jumping one hurdle after the next. But there are also success stories and real agtech being utilized on the farm. Below are two companies that are well past concept development and are offering equipment that materially reduces the need for labor.

Tim Linden

By Walt Duflock, Vice President of Innovation

The 2022 Automated Technology Field Day was held in June at the Hartnell East Campus in Salinas, Calif. There was a great crowd with over 150 attendees and a great mix of growers, startups, and equipment dealers were in the audience. It was probably the largest agtech field demo day for startups since the Forbes AgTech demo day in 2019.

AGNote: Field splitting is a useful feature for vegetable growers. Since AgNote joined Western Growers in early 2022, it has had an opportunity to learn more about farm management software requirements for vegetable growers. One of the company’s learnings is it has discovered that vegetable growers often plant multiple crops and varieties in the same field. Recently, AgNote added a Produce Crop management area in the AgNote offering so that farmers can easily add multiple crops or varieties in one field.

Tim Linden

Below are a few more agtech updates from companies that have chosen to advertise in this special “Agtech” edition of Western Grower & Shipper.

Tim Linden

By Matthew Allen, Vice President, State Government Affairs

Growing up, many of us had experience being asked by either parents, educators or other valued mentors what our backup or contingency plans were should expectations and goals face unanticipated challenges. These prompts and questions were often met with blank stares or furled eyebrows but served as early lessons in combining two very important skillsets: critical thinking and risk management.

By David Zanze, Executive Vice President of Western Growers Assurance Trust

On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) was signed into law. The CAA represents the most significant changes to the private insurance market since the Affordable Care Act and includes extensive transparency reform, which protects patients against unexpected or “surprise” medical bills.

What do these changes mean for health plan participants?

Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Western Growers provides a lobbying voice in state and federal government, affordable health benefits, technology and innovation development, transportation solutions, legal and human resources guidance and more.

Behind the association are more than 400 employees who are dedicated to serving America’s food heroes; here is an inside look at two of Western Growers’ champions.

Tim Linden

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