Bigger is better: opportunities for agritech in the US market

Salad crops are big business in America, particularly California where more than a third of the country’s fresh vegetables and two thirds of its fruit and nuts are grown.

“One of the things that makes Californian agriculture unique is the size and scale of our operation. It’s the fresh nerve centre of the planet,” said Director of the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT) Dennis Donohue, an industry expert with over three decades of experience in the specialty crop sector.

Headquartered in Salinas Valley, the heart of California’s fertile growing region, the WGCIT has become an important facilitator of innovation, attracting startups, scaleups and global technology companies with solutions for the specialty crop sector.

It is also the innovation arm of the Western Growers Association (WGA), an industry lobbying and market access group representing 2,500 local and regional growers in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Collectively, WGA members produce over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and organic produce.

Dennis said the Center gives startup residents exposure to farmers, investors, ag-focused incubators, research providers, universities, grower trial networks and scalable technology testing sites.

“In building a network that is based on growers’ interests and knowledge, we help agtech startups bring their product from development to market at a faster pace,” said Dennis. “Agtech is a global game. Our job is to find solutions for our members and help residents succeed. If they exist in Australia, we want to be that landing spot to create access to our network.”

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