( Courtesy PMA )

Speakers from Microsoft, Wells Fargo and other companies are scheduled on the Produce Marketing Association’s Tech Knowledge Symposium agenda.

The technology event, now in its sixth year, is May 1-2 in Salinas, Calif.

Speakers, according to a news release, include:

  • Kenneth Zuckerberg, Wells Fargo Bank senior vice president and strategist, on financing and adoption of new technologies at the local and farm level;
  • Cathy Burns, PMA CEO, and Bob Whitaker, PMA chief science and technology officer, on what technology influences mean for the produce industry;
  • Josh Katz, partner at McKinsey and Co., on new research and insights on challenges and needs of funding technology;
  • Paul Bissett, CEO of Harvest CROO Robotics, and Nolan Paul, partner at Yamaha Motor Ventures, on a panel (moderated by Vonnie Estes) about their experiences and how to bring technologies to the industry;
  • Ranveer Chandra, Microsoft’s chief scientist, on the company’s work on precision and digital farming; and
  • Seana Day, partner at Better Food Venture and Mixing Bowl, on technology and innovation in the post-harvest “messy middle.”

 “Tech Knowledge is more than providing a shopping list for new tech; it’s about creating a place for produce industry leaders to discuss positioning the entire supply chain to benefit from new technology,” Johnna Hepner, PMA director of technology, said in the release.

The event includes business roundtables, allowing networking between attendees and technology companies. To participate (whether an attendee or tech company), contact Hepner at [email protected] by March 21.

Sixteen students will be attending the event through Career Pathways Program, financed by industry donations to the PMA Center for Growing Talent’s Industry Talent Fund. Students, paired with an industry mentor, will attend education sessions and the Tech Knowledge events.

“When we think about the unique set of challenges our industry faces like labor shortages, addressing growing demand in a high-risk environment, resource scarcity and the changing expectations of consumers – all solutions require technology,” Estes said in the release. “Tech Knowledge will provide an inside look not only at how the tech landscape will change, but how our businesses can prepare themselves now to take advantage of that innovation tomorrow.” 

Registration and full agenda is online.