( Courtesy Western Growers, S2G Ventures )

Western Growers is again seeking proposals from ag-tech startups who can compete for a minimum of $250,000 in investment capital through the 2018 AgSharks Competition.

Western Growers and S2G Ventures (Seed 2 Growth) will help startups develop innovative solutions in food, agtech and agriculture through the program, according to a news release. Applications are due Sept. 30.

The first AgSharks competition in October chose Hazel Technologies and AgVoice, with shelf-life extension company Hazel Technologies receiving $2 million from S2G Ventures, and the company has since raised $3.26 million to enable the company to launch 100 pilots with fresh fruit and vegetable growers.

From the applicants, five finalists will be chosen to pitch their ideas to the panel of growers and investors during the Western Growers 93rd Annual Meeting Oct. 30 in Palm Desert. Judges will make an offer on the spot and companies must accept, negotiate or decline according to the release.

“It’s now more important than ever to invest in innovation solutions and technologies that will play a crucial role in helping farmers grow more with less,” Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, Irvine, Calif., said in the release. “We welcome S2G Ventures as our partner in providing the resources needed to fuel technology that will solve real world problems.”

In 2015, Western Growers opened the WG Center for Innovation & Technology in Salinas, Calif. The agtech incubator now houses nearly 50 startups.

“The WG partnership offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn directly about the challenges facing growers,” Chuck Templeton, managing director of S2G Ventures, said in the release. “We are excited to invest behind innovative solutions that support more sustainable and nutritious food.”

Applications can be submitted online.