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February 7, 2023

Voices of the Valley: Stuart Woolf – Agtech from Apple Computers to Almonds

In this episode of Voices of the Valley, Stuart Woolf, President and CEO of Woolf Farming Company, shares his interest, knowledge and utilization of agtech, which started in 1982 with his first Apple computer computations.

Woolf is the second generation of growers who keeps his feet grounded in the present while looking the future: “One thing my Dad did – which I thought in retrospect was really kind of genius – he looked at the crops that were predominantly being grown out there in the mid-’70s and it was a lot of cotton, grain, melons, those kinds of things, and he thought ‘You know, I don’t want to be beholden to farm programs and support payments and all that.’ So he really started to focus on crops that were unique to California like almonds and pistachios where we had global competitive advantage. He narrowed it down to a handful of items that turn out to be highly mechanized, we had a global advantage, we enjoyed a better return per acre foot on those crops.”

That inclination to see the big picture and how it relates to success over time means a focus on innovation. Of the topics that are on his radar ─ water, labor shortages and soil health to name a few ─ Woolf says there is one area of innovation he and his team have an eye on: data processing. His take makes this episodes a must listen for any grower, innovator, or environmental health advocate.

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of Voices of the Valley.