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July 9, 2015

Nassif Panel Kicks Off Forbes AgTech Summit

This morning, Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif participated in the opening panel of the Forbes Reinventing America AgTech Summit being held in Salinas. Titled “The World’s Biggest Opportunity,” panelists discussed how a generation of new technologies will revolutionize the way farming is done in the future. Nassif focused his remarks on the need for innovative solutions to the challenges facing the future of agriculture, in particular the increasing regulatory and market pressures to grow more with less.

“In the future, farming companies must continue to seek out and adopt new technologies that will allow them to increase yields while using less resources and inputs – such as water, labor, fertilizers and pesticides, and energy – and generating less waste,” said Nassif. “We are here today to facilitate the type of synergy between agriculture and technology that will allow us to create these needed efficiencies in the future.”

The panel was part of a full slate of events that began Wednesday evening with a reception and Innovation Showcase. Featuring many of the cutting-edge technology companies in the agriculture industry, the Innovation Showcase was punctuated by comments from Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media. In his remarks, Forbes shared his enthusiasm for the growing relationship between the technology and agriculture sectors and his belief that technology will allow agriculture to address the current and emerging issues facing the industry. Vic Smith, CEO of JV Smith Companies, and Western Growers Chairman, echoed the sentiments expressed by Forbes. “It is incredible to witness the quality of talent – from both the fields of technology and agriculture – that has assembled for this event. I am confident this will mark the beginning of an unprecedented era of agricultural innovation that will allow our industry to grow and thrive in spite of diminishing resources.”

Thursday’s presentations covered such topics as:

  • the emerging role of software and sensors in connecting the farm
  • the development of technologies that will help agriculture address water scarcity issues
  • the increased need for automation and mechanization of farming operations, and
  • advancements in agriculture sciences and breakthroughs in chemistry, genetics and biotechnology.

During the course of the summit events, two Western Growers members were honored with awards from Forbes. Joe Gunter, Mayor, City of Salinas, was on hand to present Bruce Taylor, founder and CEO of Taylor Farms, with the Forbes Impact Award in Leadership. Gunter described Taylor’s passionate representation of the produce industry and faithful stewardship of the Salinas community as the basis for his award. Vic Smith had the honor of presenting the Forbes Impact Award in Innovation to Brian Antle, Harvest Manager for Tanimura & Antle. Smith praised Antle and Tanimura & Antle for its long history of leadership in the agriculture industry and the company’s continued commitment to innovation and adoption of cutting-edge technologies.

Catch up on what’s happening or add to the ongoing agtech discussion (even after the conclusion of the today’s event) by using the Twitter hashtag, #ReinventingAmerica.

Please contact Cory Lunde at (949) 370-8560 for more information about Western Growers’ role in the Forbes AgTech Summit and Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology.