Western Growers held an automation work session at its headquarters in Irvine, CA, yesterday to create a roadmap for accelerating the pace of automation in agriculture. During the event, nearly 30 growers, agtech entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and leaders from technology companies collaborated on strategies and tactics to make the integration of automation more accessible to farms of all sizes and crops.
“Planting the old fashion way is not an option anymore,” said Drew Ketelson of HMC Farms, remarking on how growers must think outside the box to accelerate automation. “It’s this or bust.”
The group also addressed how to effectively and efficiently develop automation solutions that will meet the needs of specific commodities – everything from grapes and broccoli to melons and stone fruit. AgTech stakeholders from New Zealand and the Netherlands, with whom Western Growers holds strategic partnerships, also participated remotely to share how they are boosting technical development and application in their respective countries.
This working session was the latest development in WG’s newly-launched Automation Initiative, an industry-led initiative designed to accelerate field automation progress with a primary focus on field harvesting. For more information about the initiative, contact Dennis Donohue at (831) 594-4883.