Michael Ott, Briana Layfield, and Bruce Caldwell Discuss the Impact of Agriculture on Tech Innovation in Western Growers’ Latest Voices of the Valley Podcast Episode
- by Lilian Diep
IRVINE, CA - Western Growers continues to address valuable topics in our industry with its insightful Voices of the Valley podcast. Last month, the association explored the relationship between technology and agriculture. Now, the podcast is addressing another key element, emphasizing the new generation of entrepreneurs committed to approaching agtech with a respect for growers’ needs.
In the most recent episode, hosts Dennis Donohue, the Director of Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology, and Candace Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of GreenVenus, spoke with Rantizo Chief Executive Officer Michael Ott and Ag-Bee President Briana Layfield about innovations in drone use, according to a press release.
“I think the biggest thing that we’re trying to relate to growers is [that] we want to provide you with the data; we want to show you how much more effective this is,” Layfield said during the podcast. “We understand that you need something to back this up. We’re trying to listen to our growers…we want to find that niche for you, and be most effective for you, specifically.”
Ott also weighed in on efforts to advance the industry through tech, and noted the benefits of approaching agriculture with a focus on the needs of growers and suppliers.
“That’s one of our goals, to find people on the West Coast that want to work with us and see that there are benefits to doing things in a smarter way,” Ott said. “What’s the value of not spraying extra pesticide where you don’t need it?...We want to be as precise as we need to be.”
The pair of co-hosts also spoke with 3Bar Biologics Founder and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Caldwell on the improvements the biologics space can make in agriculture. Fresh off winning $250,000 in the AgSharks pitch competition sponsored by Western Growers and S2G Ventures at the Western Growers 2021 Annual Meeting, the industry leader noted that technology companies must view themselves as collaborators rather than competitors when making their entry into the ag market.
“Our technology is an enabling technology that can lift the performance of the entire sector," he said. "It will improve productivity for the crop, but also improve economics—both on return on investment for the grower...and the manufacturer.”
Voices of the Valley podcast is produced by Western Growers and its Center for Innovation and Technology.
We will continue to report as the association hosts critical discussions to spur growth for the industry at large, so stay tuned.