February 21, 2019

Grower Trial Network Holds Second Meeting to Accelerate Tech in Fields

On Tuesday, Western Growers held its second Grower Trail Network meeting at its Center for Innovation & Technology in Salinas, Calif. Nearly 30 growers and agtech start-up companies were in attendance, collaborating on the types of technologies possible for deployment in the field.  

The Grower Trail Network is an organized group of WG members who will be trialing and evaluating technology coming out of the Center.

“We are standing up a Western Growers network of growers and advisors to provide a value proposition to our members by more directly connecting startups and growers for the purposes of greater access and feedback,” said Dennis Donohue, lead of the Center. “This will be great for members, entrepreneurs and investors. We are increasing the Center’s value proposition!”

During the meeting, 10 agtech startups explained the benefits and possibilities of their technology to a group of a dozen growers, industry experts and the Center’s tech advisory board members. The feedback team provided suggestions on how to quickly and efficiently bring their technology from development to market and how to successfully reach out to farmers to trial their innovations in the field. 

The Grower Trial Network is led by WG’s Future Volunteer Leaders and supported by WG board members and the Center’s sponsors. This was the second of six scheduled regional meetings to execute on strategy developed during the launch meeting at Harris Ranch in January; this Salinas-based meetup was spearheaded by Brent McKinsey of Mission Ranches (who graduated from WG’s Future Volunteer Leaders last year).

McKinsey was joined by farmers including Tim Borel of The Nunes Company, Richard Bianchi of Sabor Farms, Jackie Vasquez of Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce and Colby Pereira of Costa Farms, as well as Center sponsors and supporters including Pacific Ag Rentals, RDO and Netafim. These companies collectively served as the feedback group. Among the startups that pitched their technologies were HeavyConnect, Wexus Technology, IWN, Ripe.io, Tensorfield, Novihum, AgTools, TracMap, Ganaz App and Zest Labs.

We would like to thank Netafim, the sponsor for the Grower Trial Network. To learn more about this initiative, read our “Q&A with Dennis Donohue: Grower Trial Network” or reach out to Donohue directly at ddonohue@wga.com or (831) 594-4883.