SALINAS VALLEY — Hartnell College hosted a special version of the annual Ag Tech Summit — a half-day, in-person program called AgTechX Ed — last month on the Main Campus in Salinas.
The Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology has joined with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to focus on developing the next generation of tech-savvy agricultural workers. That goal closely aligns with Hartnell’s mission of meeting its communities’ educational and workforce needs.
“The Salinas Valley and its fresh produce industry are at the forefront of fundamental change in agricultural production, processing and packaging, all of which demand new strategies to meet evolving workforce needs,” Hartnell said in a news release.
On April 13, AgTechX Ed participants heard from such local leaders as Josh Ruiz of Church Brothers, Tom Nunes of The Nunes Company and Ted Taylor of Taylor Farms. Educators, such as Richard Chapman of Hartnell and Becca Fenwick of UC Santa Cruz, offered their insights, as well.
In a concluding “fireside chat,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross shared her vision for cultivating homegrown talent through partnerships among government, industry and academia. Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce President Steve McShane moderated the discussion.
Afterward, the chamber hosted a reception with Ross that was combined with a robotics showcase.