October 23, 2023
Organizers of next month’s Organic Grower Summit have finalized their educational speakers’ list for the event, to be held Nov. 29-30 in Monterey.
A session on the ever-changing landscape of agricultural technology for organic growers and a panel discussion on the challenges of organic seed production will round out the offerings at the summit, which is sponsored by the Organic Produce Network and Western Growers.
A session titled “How Organic Growers Are Using Ag Tech: Obstacles and Opportunities” will explore how growers are using tech to improve production while showcasing one of the leading ag technology companies and its work in displacing traditional farming markets.
The session will be moderated by Bart Walker, President of Pacific Ag Rentals, with a panel that includes Tom Nunes V, President of The Nunes Company; Kristen Smith Eshaya, President of JV Smith Companies; and Paul Mikesell, CEO and Founder of Carbon Robotics.
The role of technology will be a central theme at the conference. Walt Duflock, Western Growers’ senior vice president of innovation, recently told Farm Press he will discuss how technology is having a positive impact on organic growers.
“For startups, it gives them a chance to get in front of growers and have a conversation about how their solution can help improve the grower’s operation,” he said. “They are happy to talk to media and investors, but the main target audience is usually growers that grow organic and conventional product.”
A session titled “Challenges of Organic Seed Production” will provide an overview of how organic seed production has declined over the past few years and how this has been impacting the organic produce industry.
Moderated by Tom Willey, owner of T & D Willey Farms, the session will include panelists Theojary Crisantes, CEO of Wholesum; Zea Sonnabend, owner of Fruitilicious Farm; Jared Zystro, research & education director at the Organic Seed Alliance; and Michael Willey, North American Production Lead for Bayer Crop Science.
A robust program
The announcement of the two sessions completes a robust educational program for OGS, which will include two days of talks and a Grower of the Year presentation to organic producer Rod Braga of the Soledad, Calif.-based Braga Fresh.
Pest management, production challenges and technological advances will be key discussion topics at the sixth annual summit, which will feature a keynote session on the state of organic production and a trade show with exhibits related to soil amendment, ag technology, food safety and equipment.
Braga will receive his Grower of the Year award as part of a keynote educational program that will cap off presentations at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa.
Registration for OGS is open; cost is $495 for general attendees, $395 for Western Growers and California Certified Organic Farmers members, or $295 for Nov. 30 only. Visit www.organicgrowersummit.com.
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