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The Future of Food: How Yolo County Is Shaping It

  • Sudwerk Dock Store 2001 2nd Street Davis, CA, 95618 United States (map)

You've probably heard that we're the "Farm to Fork" capital, but there's more to that than just buying produce at your local farmer's markers that was grown a few miles away.

AgTech is a big deal here. UC Davis is all all over it, a lot of companies have moved here to benefit from the school's world-class research, and the local industry just keeps seeing green -- investors forked over $4.6 billion to AgTech startups worldwide last year (compare that to only $500 million in 2012) as they look to tackle production and sustainability issues facing the farming sector.

So while you think AgTech may be wonky (seed genetics and biofuels are the stalwarts), it's definitely getting sexy (think drones flying over farmland to inspect crops, and Big Data being used to determine what to plant next season).  All that research, and the results it produces, will affect the regional economy, the crops and livestock raised here, and ultimately the food on your plate.


* Sarah Hovinga, senior scientist at Bayer CropScience, the largest AgTech firm in Yolo County.
* Joe Kopenick, Associate Director of New Venture Resources for UC Davis's Venture Catalyst, which helps turn university research and technology into for-profit ventures.
*  Kristy Levings, Program Director for AgStart, an AgTech incubator in Woodland, and a third-generation farmer in Yolo County.
* Jeremy Warren, CEO and co-founder of Astrona Biotechnologies, a startup out of UC Davis that's creating a handhelddevice to detect pathogens in the food chain, from farm fields to restaurant kitchens.


Listen to the podcast ofAgTech experts explain how innovations coming out of Yolo County are a game-changer -- for global food production as well as for our economy. (The 1:45 podcast is broken down into segments, so you can go straight to the Q&A parts you want to hear most, or listen to the whole thing entirely -- it's a really good discussion.


Here's more information about Yolo County's AgTech companies, organizations, technologies, processes, people --  and even dogs -- that the panelists talked about:

* Ag for Hire - an app described as the "LinkedIn for the ag labor market"

* AgShift -  provides Big Data to small farms

* Area 52 -  a new maker space/business incubator/vocational training school opening up in Davis in 2018

* Astrona Biotechnologies - panelist Jeremy Warren's startup, whichmakes handheld devices to detect foodborne pathogens like E. coli

* Automated harvesters: The next hot trend in AgTech

* Bayer CropScience - Panelist Sarah Hovinga works in the West Sacramento-based HQ for this Bayer Global division, which creates biological pest management solutions

* Diffusion of Innovation - to explain how farmers adapt to AgTech, Kristy Levings described this theory (created by a former ag economist) to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread

* Dozer the Dectector Dog -  part of Yolo County's dog team that sniffs out citrus-greening diseases at postal facilities

* Drones - how UC Davis is testing them for AgTech purposes

*Foodfully -  an app that alerts people when their food is about to go bad, then offers a good recipe for that specific item.

* Tule Technologies -  maker of irrigation sensors that detect when plants are stressed (a big hit with winemakers)

* UC Davis's Venture Catalyst program - helping UC Davis students and alumni turn lab research into marketable products and services

* Wexus Energy Management, maker of an app that tracks irrigation pump systems, which saves farmers significant amounts on their water bills

* XTB Laboratories, a startup that detects citrus greening in trees