GONZALES, Calif. — If Israeli growers have enough water, so too can California growers, Forbes Media chairman Steve Forbes said as he kicked off the AgTech Summit in the state’s Salinas Valley.
“They don’t have a water problem,” Forbes said of Israel at the summit’s opening reception July 8 at Constellation Wines in Gonzales. “The technology is there, it’s being developed. There’s no reason why, regardless of what happens to water fall here, California shouldn’t be once again a vibrant tech center and vibrant agriculture center.”
In Israel’s case the key technology is desalination. But the summit’s main event July 9 in Salinas is tackling a range of technologies and investment opportunities, and issues that go well beyond water.
Billed as Silicon Valley meets Salinas Valley, the summit covers biotech, precision farming, big data and other topics. It’s part of Forbes Media’s “Reinventing America” series. Silicon Valley Global Partners and the Steinbeck Innovation Cluster co-hosted.
The reception showcased 20 tech startups.
On July 9, Bruce Taylor is receiving the Forbes Impact Award in leadership, while Tanimura & Antle is the Forbes Impact Award in innovation recipient. Another recognition, the Thrive Accelerator awards, evaluate companies for funding levels up to $5 million. Events are in a tented meeting area next to Taylor Farms’ headquarters.
Session topics include investment, water and the changing path to the consumer. Speakers included Tom Nassif, chairman of Western Growers; Kevin Murphy, CEO of Driscoll’s; David McInerney, co-founder of FreshDirect; Robert Fraley, executive vice president at Monsanto; and Neal Gutterson, vice president of research at DuPont.