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Future Farms: Bakersfield College hosts summit aimed at taking agribusiness high tech

The BC Ag Tech X Ed Summit was presented by Bakersfield College, The California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology.
bc ag tech summit
Posted at 10:46 PM, May 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-17 02:18:09-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Leadership, workforce development strategies, and agriculture technology education were just some of the topics discussed at the Ag Tech X Ed Summit at Bakersfield College on Tuesday, where panelists said their overall goal is to help ag workers stay up to date with emerging technologies that can benefit their businesses and the industry.

Bakersfield College has partnered with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology to host the event.

Performance Analyst for Tasteful Selections Linsey Mebane says the purpose of the Ag Tech Summit is to develop the next generation of tech-savvy agribusiness leaders.

"The goal is the same," said Mebane. "We're all trying to learn and grow and pack better, faster, stronger with less. You have this orchard and you need to produce twice as much now with half the water. Just keeping us all moving because it's not going to get any easier in ag."

lindsey mebane
Lindsey Mebane, Performance Analyst, Tasteful Selections

Mebane says that as Tasteful Selections transformed to an analytic and reporting way of doing business, they really saw the benefit of having data available to help them best determine decisions for the company.

According to Mebane, although different aspects of technology might not be easy for some ag workers to understand at first, change is okay.

"It's a constant change but it's always a good thing. Yeah, you might fall flat on your face on one project, but someone is going to be there to pick you up and move you on to get to the next thing," said Mebane. "Change is okay because it means there is progress. You're always making yourself better, faster, stronger."

Brad Abraham, Director of Field Operations for Verdant Robotics says in addition to the implementation of tech, a part of what makes a good team of ag workers is a good leader.

It's a quality Abraham says many companies in the industry are seeking.

brad abraham
Brad Abraham, Director of Field Operations, Verdant Robotics

"There's a 'why' for why we use this machine instead of that machine. There's a 'why' for why we use this tractor or this implement. There's so much more to that. The biggest thing is leadership," said Abraham. "We need to teach our younger generation how to be leaders for the future and not just good workers."

Logan August, California Sales Manager for FieldClock LLC, says that his message to the younger generation of American farmers is that time is only going to make them better.

"As I put myself in situations with certain growers, certain questions were asked, and my knowledge base continued to grow. It was only going to take that time and experience to continue that process," said August. "Calm down on yourself, relax a little bit, and take a deep breath because you're going to know more 6 months from now than you know now."

logan august
Logan August, California Sales Manager, FieldClock LLC

The panelists agree that the future of tech plays a large role in the ag industry, and that current software and tech strategies might not look the same in the next 5 years. That's why team collaboration and staying up-to-date are going to be critical to future success.