LEAD YOUR FARM FORWARD.
Learn from the best across Specialty Agriculture.
The GROWING INNOVATIONS Conference is an open-dialogue program designed to propel the world of specialty agriculture forward by advancing “the art of the possible.” Join the conversation, and take away crucial intelligence, best farming practices and solutions to the key issues impacting growers today.
- General Session
- GRO Talks
- Keynote Speaker
- Show Floor Demonstations
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Wednesday, Nov 7
7:00 am - 8:00 am
8:00 am - 8:30 am
A brief look across the changing landscape for specialty crops and some of the major trends that are driving the need for innovation. This will be the kickoff for our inaugural Growing Innovations conference and provide meaningful context to the many innovations to be explored over the next two days.
8:30 am - 9:15 am
Adopting new tools and technologies is never about just technologies – it has a ripple effect in a farm organization and requires a different set of competencies to effect a change. Here is one major grower’s experience in conducting a top-to-bottom organizational review and restructuring in order to narrow the operation’s “competency gap.” You’ll walk away with ideas about how to streamline your organization to best take advantage of your investments in technology.
9:15 am - 10:00 am
Blockchain technology promises to significantly improve the flow of information through the fresh produce industry, from grower through wholesaler and processor and on to food retailers. You’ll get a rare look inside major initiatives that are already underway and get a far better understanding of a technology that is certain to have implications for specialty crop growers.
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
10:30 am - 4:00 pm
Hands-on, real-world stories about successful on-farm adoption of new innovations.
1:35 pm - 2:05 pm
Tomorrow is today at the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology in Salinas, CA. Startups from tech hotbeds in the Silicon Valley, Stanford University, and points beyond are putting machine learning, artificial intelligence, image recognition, and other technologies to real-world trials on working farms. You’ll get a sweeping view of impending new technologies that may reach your farm sooner than you think.
2:10 pm - 2:30 pm
Are drones worthy of all the hype? This fourth-generation Idaho grower and precision service provider thinks they are. He uses drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles – including unmanned helicopters from Japan – to get an optimized view of his fields and to confirm the ROI of investments he makes on his farm including variable-rate application of nitrogen.
2:35 pm - 3:05 pm
Water management in the moisture-challenged West doesn’t always mean having to work more or do with less. Soil moisture sensors, irrigation-scheduling software, and irrigation control via smartphone are all here today – and more innovations are on the way. You’ll walk away more confident in your operation’s ability to deal with current and future limitations on water.
3:05 pm - 3:30 pm
3:35 pm - 4:05 pm
The heavy, monotonous, manual work of growing delicate specialty crops scares away many employees. In the greenhouse, planting cuttings is especially cumbersome – but new technology here today relieves or even removes the worker’s load and frees up employees to focus on more value-added jobs.
4:10 pm - 4:40 pm
What happens when you lose much of your packinghouse infrastructure to heavy snow load in the Pacific Northwest? You rebuild – with brand-new automation technology. If you’re looking to retrofit your facilities with new technology, these takeaways will forearm you with what to expect heading in.
4:45 pm - 5:00 pm
U.S. growers long have looked to Europe for solutions for intensive specialty crops. Get a sneak peek at some of the most interesting innovations to be spotlighted at the International Forum of Agricultural Robotics (FIRA) in Toulouse, France.
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Thursday, Nov 8
7:30 am - 7:30 am
8:00 am - 8:25 am
8:30 am - 9:10 am
The entry of big technology companies into the agricultural sector holds great promise but also the potential for huge change. IBM has trials in the works and a vision for what technology-assisted agriculture could look like. Get a rare look into impending developments and how they’re likely to impact your operation.
9:15 am - 9:55 am
No company can succeed today by standing still. One of the most innovative operations in agriculture will share insight into the inventive new approaches it’s taking in the field, food safety, processing, the supply chain, and sustainability, and where some of those ideas come from. You’ll leave this session ready to look for changes you can make to grow your own business.
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
10:30 am - 2:30 pm
Hands-on, real-world stories about successful on-farm adoption of new innovations
2:05 pm - 2:30 pm
Increased efficiency and productivity are the objectives of the PlantTape System, owned and commercialized by major vegetable grower Tanimura & Antle. PlantTape offers a fully integrated system from sowing the tape, to germination and nursery care, to transplanting in the field. Get the story on how the system came about and the benefits it can bring vegetable growers.
2:35 pm - 3:05 pm
In an era of scarce labor, increasing herbicide resistance, and fewer new active ingredients among herbicides, growers are turning to innovative technological and mechanical approaches to weed control. After hearing this roundup of current and future developments, you’ll leave with a better handle on your weed control options.
3:10 pm - 3:40 pm
Specialty crop growers selling directly to retail buyers long have had an eye on logistics and delivery, but now increasing market demands plus track-and-trace technologies equal many new post-farm-gate innovations. The Center for Supply Chain Innovation at Texas Christian University has a number of projects in the works that point the way to far more efficiency and traceability through the food chain.
3:45 pm - 4:15 pm
4:15 pm - 5:00 pm
How do all the technology pieces come together? How do we move forward into 2019 and begin planning for 2020? Our panel of leading growers talk takeaways and reflect on what they learned and heard at the inaugural Growing Innovations conference.