Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Agriculture Producers Can’t Sit on the Sidelines Waiting for Farm Robotics to Come to Them

By Nathan Dorn
Food Origins Cofounder

December 28, 2016 — Salinas, CA

[Photo above: Nathan Dorn is CEO and cofounder of Food Origins, an early stage Precision Data company focused on hand-harvested crops. Food Origins is located in Salinas. Source: LinkedIn]

[Editor’s Note: Nathan Dorn is CEO and cofounder of Food Origins, an early stage Precision Data company focused on hand-harvested crops. A serial innovator for companies including Pepsi Bottling, Gallo Wineries and Vineyards, and Reiter Affiliated Companies, his focus has been in energy and labor savings through system redesign and simple invention. He also serves as a consultant and helped to organize the agriculture track of RoboUniverse in San Diego earlier this month. Here he shares some key takeaways from the event and the advent of robotics on the farm in general.]

A severe agricultural labor shortage is pushing food producers to become more involved in the development of technology innovation, especially in robotics, speakers told delegates attending the agriculture track at RoboUniverse earlier this month.

Robotics stand to dramatically alleviate the pressure on farm labor by replacing certain tasks on the farm. Startups with innovations on the market today, or close to commercialization, are engineering machinery to help automate planting, weeding, and harvesting.

Companies that produce wine, milk, and table grapes from the Central Valley of California attended but there was a particularly solid presence from the fruit and vegetable industry with representatives from Andrew & Williamson, Bonipak, Church Brothers, Driscoll’s, and Tanimura & Antle (T&A).

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UC Santa Cruz​ has received a new grant to support students in Scientific Computing and Applied Mathematics! #ucscengineering #thinkBSOE

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $950,000 grant to support the Next Generation Scholars in Applied Mathematics (Next Gen SAM) program. Led by Pascale Garaud (Applied Mathematics, Baskin School of Engineering), Rebecca Covarrubias (Psychology), Pablo Reguerin (Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Achievement, Equity and Innovation) and Carmen Robinson (Baskin School of Engineering Director of Undergraduate Affairs), Next Gen SAM will provide students interested in completing a MS degree in Scientific Computing and Applied Mathematics with several important resources. This includes financial support in the form of scholarships, personalized academic mentoring and counseling, peer support, and career advising.
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