Working with Silicon Valley Forum, Wharf42 is delighted to announce the launch of the 2017 Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program. We are particularly pleased to confirm that Wharf42’s other major Silicon Valley partner, the Plug and Play Tech Center, will be sponsoring and hosting next year’s 1-day AgTech Conference on Thursday 6 April.

The 2017 Program runs from Monday 3rd – Thursday 6th April. And once again, the Program and Conference provides New Zealand’s AgTech sector with the opportunity to take a global thought leadership position. Hat doffed to James Wilde, NZTE’s North American Ag guru, for his assistance in helping make this possible.

The 2016 Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program participants

The 2016 Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program participants

Next year’s program builds on some of the opportunities that the 2016 AgTech Immersion Program unearthed. Some of these are still building. One of the most significant of these is the connectivity that has developed between Driscoll’s, a major US supplier of berries, and New Zealand’s own growing berry sector. In 2017, participants to the Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program will meet Kevin Murphy, Driscoll’s CEO, at their Cassin Ranch. Nolan Paul, Driscoll’s Head of R&D Strategy & Emerging Tech, will once again share his wisdom and thoughts with the program’s delegation.

More investment funds will also be taking part in the week. Program participants will have the opportunity to meet and share their stories with representatives from Google Ventures & Khosla Ventures, amongst others. A significant dairy component is also being added to the program. We will be visiting the World Food Center at UC Davis and talking to a number of UC Davis researchers and scientists about their current dairy R&D programs.

The 1-day AgTech conference takes us back to Plug and Play. For me, this is a bit like a homecoming. And for AgTech, a new experience. As Seena Amidi outlined back in April, Plug and Play is launching its own AgriFood platform later this year. (9th November, to be precise).

As well as the Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program participants, I expect a number of other Valley-based AgTech startups and investment funds to join us at Plug and Play. There is a strong ‘matching’ element to the day. This will include a 15-minute presentation on the future of AgTech in New Zealand and Australia. The World Food Program will also be present talking about their vision of ‘how to feed the world by 2050’.

Other highlights of the week will include a half day with Western Growers where there will be much focus on robotics and mechanisation. Food safety and traceability will be the keynotes at a session provided by Orange Silicon Valley. We will revisit Climate Corporation and learn more about just how this ‘startup’ has evolved since we last caught up with the team there in April.

Klaus and the team at Silicon Valley Forum hope to firm up the final program over the next 2 – 3 weeks. At that time, we will publish the program so that potential participants will be able to learn more about the opportunity.

For New Zealand’s growing AgTech sector, Wharf42 is delighted once again to help frame up what will become one of the Valley’s long-term key AgTech initiatives.

Save the dates: 3 – 6 April 2017