Calendar: Virtual Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit

Published online: Mar 09, 2021 Event Calendar
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Registration is still open for the Eighth Annual Salinas Valley Ag Tech/AgTechX Summit on March 18-19, offering a combined emphasis on workforce challenges and the produce industry’s increasingly international scope, with several presenters from Latin America.

Because this year’s summit will be presented in a virtual format via Zoom, attendees can participate from anywhere in the world – and there is no charge to attend. Anyone interested can register at, which also contains a full schedule for the two-day program and links to virtual expo booths for event sponsors.

The lineup of speakers and panelists reflects fresh produce’s increasing complexity as competitors work to harness emerging technology and emerging markets, while ensuring that their managers and workers are ready to meet those opportunities.

Two sessions will be presented in Spanish, with English translation, spotlighting both “Mexico and the Americas: Grower Issues” and “The Startup Scene.” Among the Latin American presenters are Tomás Peña, co-founder of S4, one of Argentina’s earliest AgTech start-ups and a leading driver of the AgTech ecosystem across Latin America; agricultural economist Elisa Blanco, offering a global perspective on water as co-founder of the Center for Water Law and Management in Chile; and Jairo Trad, a software developer, data scientist and entrepreneur with business in six Latin American countries and the United States.

The full-day program on March 19 will open with a keynote co-presentation by Dennis Donohue, director of the Western Growers for Innovation and Technology, and Ted Taylor, president of Mission Ranches and Seco Packing.

The packed schedule will continue with a wide-ranging discussion on “Grower and Tech Issues and Education, Training and Workforce Challenges,” featuring Leon Brish, co-founder and CEO of FarmDog; Mariana Valdez, soil science manager for Ag-Wise Enterprises Inc.; and Sébastien Boyer, co-founder and CEO of FarmWise, which made Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2020 list for its autonomous weeder.

Another featured session will be “The Importance of Education and a New Kind of Worker,” with a high-profile Central Coast panel made up of Tom Nunes a fourth-generation farmer and president of the Nunes Company, a premier grower-shipper with production in California, Arizona and Nevada; John D’Arrigo, president, CEO and chairman of D’Arrigo Bros.; and Miles Reiter, CEO and chairman of Driscoll’s. The moderator will be Brie Reiter Smith, director of Driscoll’s quality systems design, supply chain.

An evening President’s Reception on March 18, also open to all attendees, will kick off the summit. Dr. Raúl Rodríguez, interim superintendent/president of Hartnell College in Salinas, will provide an update on the school’s many AgTech programs, and a recent Hartnell graduate will speak on skills required for Ag Tech success. Hartnell is co-presenting the summit with Western Growers. The reception will also feature a 5:30 p.m. Fireside Chat with Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, moderated by Donohue.

Visit the event webpage at to register and learn more about this year’s program and sponsors. For further information, contact the Ag Tech Summit Team at