AgTech companies with automation ideas vie for $250,000

Western Growers and Radicle Growth are joining for an investment competition for farming automation. ( File Photo )

Companies with ideas on how to automate planting, harvests and other farming tasks can compete for a minimum of $250,000 through The Radicle Automation Challenge from Western Growers and Radicle Growth.

The competition gives agricultural technology entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their ideas to investors, corporate partners and agribusiness experts, with the chance of earning the investment capital and access to farmland to pilot their projects, according to a news release.

Four finalists will be chosen to make their pitches, and the winner will be named during the Western Growers Innovation Showcase Dinner at the Forbes AgTech Summit June 26 in Salinas, Calif.

“Agriculture has been at a labor deficit for more than a decade, and if our food production is to survive with a declining workforce, we need R&D and more innovative technology,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, in the release.

“Since the opening of Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology in 2015, a key mission has been to accelerate the development of labor-saving technologies, and our new partnership with Radicle Growth to launch the Automation Challenge will be crucial in both our efforts to maintain a sustainable food supply,” he said in the release.

To qualify, companies should have already received at least $100,000 in investments, or in-kind capital, or have gone through an AgTech incubator or accelerator program. Applications will be reviewed, with four chosen to make their pitches.

Applications are at, and they are due by May 1. Finalists will be notified May 29.

Radicle Growth is a San Diego-based acceleration fund that invests in ag and food tech startups.