( Courtesy Hartnell Communications )

The Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit will focus on emerging technologies, including the human aspect, ensuring that workers are prepared to continue innovation in production agriculture.

The event is March 17-18 at Hartnell College, Salinas, Calif.

Dennis Donohue, summit chairman and director of the Western Growers Center of Innovation & Technology, said the event is an opportunity to talk about the industry’s rapidly changing workforce needs, according to a news release.

“We will provide a thorough overview of the latest technology, as these events typically do,” Donohue said in the release, “but we’re also going to talk about the knowledge and abilities needed to deliver on that technology – and then we’ll pivot to the challenge of making sure our workers and managers have those skill sets.” 

The summit kicks off March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, with an Irish-themed reception and panel  of Irish entrepreneurs: Mareese Keane, growth strategy consultant for Fielden and its Smart Farming Platform; Padraig Whelan, chief scientist for ApisProtect; and Mick Heatherington, vice president of sales for consignment accounting company Prophet.

March 18, activities include:

  • Workshops presented by the Monterey Bay Chapter of the California Association of Pest Control advisers;
  • Exhibitors showcase and IMAX movie;
  • Panel discussions on automation technology, a technology overview, and workforce labor; and
  • A keynote panel with Miles Reiter, CEO of Driscoll’s; John D’Arrigo, CEO of D’Arrigo Bros.; and Tom Nunes V, president of Foxy Produce. The moderator is Brie Reiter Smith, director of Driscoll’s quality systems design and technology and supply chain.


“They will talk about the impact of innovation and the equal importance of investing in education,” Donohue said in the release. “You have to invest in education and make sure education is represented in the board room to make innovation happen.”

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