Forbes AgTech Summit

The Forbes AgTech Summit will bring together over 500 of the smartest and most entrepreneurial minds in Silicon Valley and global agriculture to tackle some of the world’s most critical challenges. Held once again right in the heart of the Salinas Valley, the Summit fosters lively debate and generates rich networking opportunities while showcasing the latest innovations for farmers, investors and stakeholders of the global agricultural ecosystem.


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Subject to Change

Wednesday, July 13, 2016




Just Eat It Screening

Maya Cinemas, 153 Main Street



Giorgio’s, 201 Main Street


Attendees Board Busses for the Forbes AgTech Tour


Tour of Hartnell College Alisal Campus

Live field demos featuring Blue River Technology, HeavyConnect, Plant Tape, SkyView HD, Spensa Technologies and UC Davis Robovator.


Tour of Mann Packing Processing Plant

An industry leading, third-generation supplier of premium fresh vegetables


Tour of Taylor Farms Processing Plant
North America’s largest supplier of salads, fresh-cut vegetables, and healthy fresh foods.


Tour of Tanimura & Antle’s Newly Constructed Spreckels Crossing

A residential community providing safe, comfortable, and affordable housing option for T&A’s seasonal workforce.


Busses return to Main Street Salinas for a tour of Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology


Opening Reception Sponsored by Wells Fargo Featuring the Forbes AgTech Innovation Showcase

A unique opportunity to meet fellow participants and learn more about many of the most compelling startups in AgTech. Participants will have the chance to sample some of the region’s best wines and craft beers while enjoying tasty bites.



  • Paul Noglows | Executive Director & Head , ForbesLive!
  • Mike Federle | President & Chief Operating Officer , Forbes Media

Opening Remarks

  • The Honorable Gavin Newsom | Lieutenant Governor , State of California

Thrive Award Presentation

  • John Hartnett | Founder & Chief Executive Officer , SVG Partners

Cocktail Reception Ends

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Registration & Breakfast


Welcome to the 2nd Annual Forbes AgTech Summit

  • The Honorable Joe Gunter | Mayor , City of Salinas, CA
  • Paul Noglows | Executive Director & Head , ForbesLive!

Food Security: Feeding the World

We’ll need to produce 70% more food by 2050 to sustain a world population expected to grow to over 9 billion. It’s a huge challenge—and an even bigger opportunity. Industry leaders working around the world will discuss farming’s next wave and how a new generation of technologies will revolutionize the way we seed, cultivate, harvest, process and deliver food globally—and how we’ll profit from the change.

The Legacy of Norman Borlaug
Julie Borlaug
| Associate Director of External Relations, Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, Texas A&M

Technology Use in North American Farms and Russia/Ukraine AgriHoldings
Dan Hodgson
| Chief Executive Officer & President, FarmQA, Inc & Founding Partner, Linn Grove Ventures

Global State of Ag
Sara Menker
| Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Gro Intelligence

  • Moderator: Rich Karlgaard | Publisher , Forbes Magazine

Labor’s Next Frontier

Presidential candidates are proposing to build a wall across the Mexican border, and robots are replacing migrant workers in the field. What is the future of labor on America’s farms and how is it shaping the immigration debate?

  • Tom Nassif | President & Chief Executive Officer , Western Growers Association
  • Harold McClarty | President , HMC Farms
  • Samuel D. Duda | Vice President , Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Inc.

Forbes Impact Award Presentation: Western Growers

Presenter: Larry Cox | Owner, Lawrence Cox Ranches


Morning Break


Life After Water

Long-term water scarcity in a "perpetual drought" is now a reality in the Western United States with California being ground zero. This discussion explores the various facets of how businesses and agencies are innovating to the "new norm" - using data-informed measures to systematically improve the "last yard" water resource use to move towards a more sustainable future.

  • Eric Averett | General Manager , Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District
  • Daniel Mountjoy, Ph.D. | Director of Resource Stewardship , Sustainable Conservation
  • Jesus Ramos | Owner , Jesus Ramos, FLC
  • Stuart Woolf | President & Chief Executive Officer , Woolf Farming & Processing
  • Moderator: Sumer Johal | Founder & Chief Executive Officer , AgraLogics

Innovation Spotlight: Soft Robotics

A Candid Conversation between Start-up and Beta Customer

  • Dan Harburg | Director of Business Development , Soft Robotics
  • Bruce Taylor | Founder , Taylor Farms

Biological Revolutions

Biological breakthroughs periodically revolutionize agricultural systems. Two recent advancements are now upon us: the microbial revolution and the CRISPR-Cas revolution. Each is drawing hundreds of millions of dollars in investments, in both health care and in agriculture. These three presentations/ discussions will provide an inside look at how the agricultural industry is using tiny microbes to make soils richer, plants stronger, and yields bigger; how it is applying Genomics to better analyze and improve the soil; and how it is applying editing technology to crop genomes to sustainably improve their yields.

Thomas Schäfer | Vice President, BioAg & Industrial Microbiology, Novozymes

Poornima Parameswaran | Co-Founder, Trace Genomics

Neal Gutterson, Ph.D. | Vice President, Research & Development, DuPont Pioneer

  • Moderator: Dan Alexander | Reporter , Forbes Media

The Argument for AgTech Investment

  • Suren Dutia | Senior Fellow , Kauffman Foundation

Thrive III - The New Frontier: Launching the Corporate Open Innovation Program

  • John Hartnett | Founder & Chief Executive Officer , SVG Partners

Farm to Table Lunch Sponsored by Dupont Pioneer

Remarks: John Arbuckle | Vice President, Field Technology Innovation & Operations, DuPont Pioneer


Food: Abundance Without Waste

Imagine your delicious lunch plate and then slide 40% of it into the trash. That’s the $160 billion+ annual problem that many believe is America’s next big food opportunity. Can unshapely tomatoes and stinky compost power the next food marketplace? These visionaries, entrepreneurs, and investors think so. Here’s how.

  • Komal Ahmad | Founder & Chief Executive Officer , Copia
  • Ben Chesler | Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer , Imperfect Produce
  • Nancy Pfund | Founder & Managing Partner , DBL Partners
  • Moderator: Brendan Doherty | Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer , Inward Point

Innovation Spotlight: Descartes Labs

A Candid Conversation between Start-up and Investor

  • Mark Johnson | Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer , Descartes Labs
  • Ron Meeusen, PhD | Managing Director , Cultivian Sandbox

Reinventing Salinas

Salinas is proactively building itself into a global agtech hub, leveraging both its proximity to Silicon Valley and generations of expertise in farming. Here’s a chance to experience the vision firsthand from those making it happen.

  • Ray Corpuz | City Manager , City of Salinas
  • John Hartnett | Founder & Chief Executive Officer , SVG Partners
  • Willard Lewallen, Ph.D. | Superintendent & President , Hartnell Community College District
  • Teresa Matsui | President , Matsui Nursery
  • Patrick Zelaya | Founder , HeavyConnect Inc.
  • Moderator: Dennis Donohue | Chief Innovation Officer , Cultiva Global

Forbes Impact Award Presentation: City of Salinas

Presenter:  Bud Colligan | Co-Chairman, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership


Disrupting the Apple Cart: Pervasive Change in the Business of Food

Three players from produce, retail and last-mile delivery discuss how consumer and societal trends are driving disruptive changes in the food business--everything from the move to organic and the need for greater transparency to the growing demand for healthy stay-at-home options that are redefining the restaurant.

  • Noah Karesh | Co-Founder , Feastly
  • Kevin Murphy | Chief Executive Officer , Driscoll's
  • Heather Shavey | Assistant Vice President, General Merchandise Manager , Costco Wholesale
  • Moderator: Tim York | President , Markon Cooperative Inc.

Innovation Spotlight: Granular

A Candid Conversation between Start-up and Beta Customer

  • Sid Gorham | Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer , Granular, Inc.
  • Kip Tom | Chief Executive Officer , Tom Farms

From Idea to Field: Adopting Innovation on a Large Scale

What are the barriers to scaling adoption of technologies in agriculture?  How is the application of tech innovation different in ag versus other industries? Are things changing?  What new models for innovation adoption are emerging in ag?

  • Nathan Dorn | Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer , Food-Origins
  • Jorge Heraud | Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer , Blue River Technology Inc.
  • Mike Macrie | SVP/ Chief Information Officer , Land O'Lakes, Inc.
  • Bob Whitaker, Ph. D. | Chief Science & Technology Officer , PMA
  • Moderator: Rob Trice | Founder , The Mixing Bowl Hub & Better Food Ventures

Forbes Impact Award: Monsanto

Presenter: Mark Young | Chief Technology Officer, The Climate Corporation


Path to Tomorrow: The Farm of the Future 2050

A Fireside Chat with Robert T. Fraley, Ph.D., Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto and Rich Karlgaard, Publisher, Forbes Magazine


Closing Remarks

  • Paul Noglows | Executive Director & Head , ForbesLive!

Cocktail Reception Sponsored by Monsanto

Remarks: Robert T. Fraley, Ph.D. | Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto


Event Concludes


Salinas, CA

Main Street, Salinas, California

Directions »


What is the Forbes AgTech Summit?

The Forbes AgTech Summit is an Invitation-Only gathering of over 500 of the smartest and most entrepreneurial minds in Silicon Valley and global agriculture to tackle some of the world’s most critical challenges. Held once again right in the heart of the Salinas Valley, the Summit fosters lively debate and generates rich networking opportunities while showcasing the latest innovations and startups for farmers, investors and stakeholders of the global agricultural ecosystem.


Where and when is the Summit taking place?

The summit will be taking place on July 13–14, 2016 on historic Main Street in Salinas, CA in front of the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology and Taylor Farms’ new corporate headquarters.


Who should attend?

Growers, investors, start-ups and all interested stakeholders of the global agricultural ecosystem.


What is a Field Demo?

A Field Demo takes Summit Participants into a local field to see first-hand actual AgTech at work. Last year’s Field Demo featured a Lettuce Thinning Robot, several different types of Drones and a Self-Driving Tractor.


What is a Plant Tour?

A Plant Tour takes Summit Participants behind the scenes of a working Salinas Valley processing plant. Last year’s Summit featured an exclusive guided tour of Taylor Farms’ state-of-the-art vegetable processing plant. Participants witnessed first-hand the amazing automation that allows a head of lettuce harvested in the Salinas Valley to safely make its way to the salad shelf of a Whole Foods on the East Coast less than 72 hours later.


What is the Innovation Showcase?

The Innovation Showcase is a dedicated portion of the Summit highlighting the most innovative AgTech Start-Ups. Summit Participants will take advantage of the unique opportunity to talk business directly to Founders/CEOs in a relaxed setting.  Last year’s Showcase included 25 of the most interesting AgTech startups, including AgraLogics, DN2K, Vine Rangers and many more.


Where should I stay?

All attendees will be provided a link to book accommodations following registration.
Make the most of your moments in Monterey County! Find out about activities, attractions, events and more at SeeMonterey.com. Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau is the Official Travel Partner of Forbes Ag Tech Summit. For additional information, contact 831.657.6400 or info@seemonterey.com


What is the Registration fee and what does it cover?

The registration fee is $750 (early bird of $595 through May 2, 2016).  This covers entry to all summit activities, including plenary sessions, receptions and Innovation Showcase.


What is the cancellation policy?

Registration fee will be fully refunded if the: AgTech Summit team receives notification on or before June 27, 2016 that the registered attendee will not attend.


Can I bring a plus one?

As the summit is by invitation only, only registered guests will be admitted to all sessions.  To request an invitation, click here.


What is the dress code for the summit?

The standard attire for the AgTech Summit is business casual/casual.


Do I have to attend the entire conference or can I go only to specific sessions?

The registration fee covers admission to all summit events, however you are not required to attend every session.  We do not offer day or sessions rates.


Will the event be filmed and/or photographed?

Yes, videos and photos will be available on Forbes.com shortly after the summit concludes.


If your question was not answered here, please email us at AgTechSummit@forbes.com.


Founding Partners

Presented By


Supporting Sponsors

Official Travel Partner

Program Partner

Innovation Showcase Partners

Video Highlights

Bruce Taylor of Taylor Farms at the Forbes 2016 AgTech Summit


Mark Young of The Climate Corporation at the Forbes 2016 AgTech Summit


Neal Gutterson of Dupont Pioneer at the Forbes 2016 AgTech Summit


Ray Corpuz of the City of Salinas at the Forbes 2016 AgTech Summit


Mike Macrie of Land O'Lakes at the Forbes 2016 AgTech Summit


Rob O'Keefe of Monterey County CVB at the Forbes 2016 AgTech Summit



  • For Sponsorship Inquiries:
  • Melody Khodaverdian
  • Director, Conference Partnerships
  • 917.794.5859 | mkhodaverdian@forbes.com
  • For Invitation and Attendee Inquiries:
  • Rich Guh
  • Audience Development Associate
  • 212.620.1861 | AgTechSummit@forbes.com
  • For Press Inquiries and Press Passes:
  • Laura Daunis
  • Senior Manager of Corporate Communications
  • 1 (212) 367-4874 | Ldaunis@forbes.com
  • For Press Inquiries:
  • Christina Vega
  • Manager, Editorial Publicity at Forbes
  • 212.206.5155 | cvega@forbes.com

Click here for information on how to nominate a potential speaker.

General Questions?Please fill out the form below and someone will get in touch with you.