I’m delighted to be joining James Wilde, North American NZTE Ag-business guru, on stage at the 2017 Silicon Valley Forum AgTech Conference next April. The Conference takes place at the Plug and Play Tech Center on Thursday 6th April. We are talking about ‘The Modern Farm: NZ Dairy and Animal Management in the 21st Century’.

It provides James and myself with a platform to promote New Zealand’s dairy sector’s vision for a more sustainable future, where the needs of consumers, environment and livestock are all intertwined. We need to demonstrate that the core values we talk about in New Zealand transition across the supply chain, from farm to plate. Building trust with consumers needs more than just slogans. It needs evidence of real action.

The Kiwi AgTech delegation at DLA Piper, San Francisco in April this year

The Kiwi AgTech delegation at DLA Piper, San Francisco in April this year

The 2017 Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program and Conference is shaping up really well. You can learn more about the Conference Day program here.

One comment we received after this year’s event, back in April, was that a bit more focus on livestock would have been beneficial. I’m pleased to confirm therefore that we have fixed up a session next April at the UC Davis dairy farm where we will get a much better understanding of some of the exciting R&D being carried out by the researchers there.

The benefits of the inaugural 2016 AgTech event to New Zealand are already coming through. Two weeks ago, I caught up with the visiting R&D team from Driscolls, for a welcome hosted by Hemi Rolleston & Callaghan Innovation in Tauranga.  We had met up with Nolan Paul and his colleagues in Watsonville, CA back in April. It was immediately clear that there was an opportunity to build a bridge between Driscolls global expansion plans and New Zealand’s own growing berry industry. Their one week exploratory visit to New Zealand is an important first step in developing that opportunity.

A second really great outcome from April’s Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program and Conference has been the US investment interest raised for a couple of the companies in the Kiwi delegation. That interest is ongoing and it will be interesting to see the final outcome. I am delighted to say that both Driscolls and more key players (both ag and investment) in Silicon Valley’s rapidly growing AgTech ecosystem, have already signed up for the 2017 Program. Interest in New Zealand’s AgTech sector in the world’s leading innovation hub is both real and growing.

Over the coming weeks, I hope to provide more details of the opportunities that the week can offer Kiwi participants. Based on the outcome of the 2016 event, I believe the scope to build on those initial conversations can only accelerate. These are exciting times.