Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit has lots to offer

Publish Date: 
Mar 16, 2018

Hartnell to host Fifth Annual Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit

Education, Exhibits, Pitch Competitions, DPR CE Credits

SALINAS, Calif. – The Fifth Annual Salinas Valley Ag Technology Summit will open Tuesday evening, March 27, 2018 with a fireside chat and reception featuring Salinas natives Kirk L. Haney, CEO & Managing Partner, Radicle Growth and Dennis Donohue, lead for Western Growers Innovation and Technology Center.  This no-charge reception will take place in the STEM Center (Building S) on Hartnell’s main campus at 411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA. Program starts at 5:30 p.m.

The Ag Tech Summit events commence at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28 at Hartnell College. This full day is free of charge and includes lunch.  With 45 speakers and three full educational tracks, along with a sold-out trade show and early stage pitch ideas/startup ag tech company pitch competitions, Dr. Susan Pheasant (Director, Agriculture Innovation and Technology for Hartnell College) declares it is challenging to isolate just a few highlights:

  • Colby Pereira, president of Monterey County Farm Bureau is moderating a discussion the Scalability of Technology: Best Practices on Utilizing Technological Innovations from the Netherland and California.  Panelists include two experts, Aad van den Berg (Knowledge Development Horticulture) and Hein Kruyt (Solynta), from a 20-member Dutch delegation attending the Summit along with Brian Antle (PlantTape) and Britton Willson (AGCESS – a Pacific Ag Rentals entity).
  • Drew McDonald, vice president Quality & Food Safety at Taylor Fresh Foods will be moderating a session focused on Ag Tech in Food Safety featuring national leaders Dr. Jennifer McEntire (VP Food Safety and Technology, United Fresh Produce Association) and Dr. Bob Whitaker (Chief Science & Technology Officer, Produce Marketing Association).  They will be exploring topics such as what is Whole Genome Sequencing; what are the food safety implications of more and more automation; mobile phone technology and more.
  • Yinon Eliza (Taranis) will be presenting on next generation aerial imagery technology to prevent crop diseases.  Also featured in that session will be a presentation by Chandler Bennett (Parabug) on the release of beneficial insects by drones.
  • Nikki Rodoni (founder Measure to Improve) is leading an all-star panel entitled Addressing Plastic Pollution as an Innovation Opportunity.  Panelists include Tony Bova (Grow Bioplastics), Sam Farr (retired Congressman 20th district), Gina Nucci (Nucci Connects, Inc.), and Daniella Russo (Think Beyond Plastics).  Plastic is a valuable and immensely useful material: it is inexpensive, versatile and practically indestructible. Attendees will learn what Think Beyond Plastic is doing to lead a global multi-disciplinary effort to accelerate commercialization of research and innovation of bio-benign materials, and more.

“The beauty and value in the Ag Tech summit is that it is designed by and for the Ag tech industry based in the Salad Bowl of the World,” explains Dr. Pheasant. “It includes key technology topics and literally brings them to the land and the facilities that produce, harvest, handle, store, and ship the food we all need to nourish our bodies to address challenges and create meaningful solutions. 

Additionally, a common theme throughout the summit will be identifying in what areas do today’s employees need to be gaining/improving skills in order to be optimum employees tomorrow.

Reservations are available on the Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit website at:  Exhibitor, Sponsor and Program information can be found at:

Hartnell Community College District – established in 1920

The Hartnell CCD serves over 17,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides associate degree and certificate programs, workforce-training, courses in basic skills, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world-class education for STEM, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities/social sciences, nursing/healthcare, and athletics. We are proud to be the winners of the 2015 Innovation Award for CSin3 – a Computer Science bachelor’s degree in three years.  We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit