Organic Grower Summit Wraps; Matt Seeley, Joe Pezzini, and Breanne Steadman Comment
MONTEREY, CA - The organic sector continues to put forth innovative strategies and networking opportunities, and nowhere is this more apparent than during the Organic Grower Summit. Hosted by the Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Western Growers (WG), the event brings a wide array of supply chain and service provider partners together to offer the latest products to growers.
“Fantastic show! For two days, those involved in the production of organic fresh produce gleaned relevant information on the issues impacting the industry,” stated Matt Seeley, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Organic Produce Network. “From the new SOE rule to ag tech and AI, this year’s OGS focused on the obstacles and opportunities the organic industry has in front of us.”
A variety of education sessions were put on during the show’s two days, one of which was the Keynote Presentation titled Grower Roundtable: The State of Organic Growing. Moderated by Walt Duflock of Western Growers and featuring industry members from Taylor Farms, Driscoll’s, and Live Oak Farms, this was a talk not to be missed.
Joe Pezzini, Senior Director of Ag Operations for Taylor Farms, summed up what he addressed in the talk.
“The state of organic farming is related to the ever-increasing challenges we face due to rising input costs, such as fuel, labor, fertilizers, and land, as well as challenges with regulation. As a result, I think the areas of opportunity for future organic farming revolves around plant genetics—improving disease resistance, insect resistance, and growth and vigor—and the emergence of Systemic Induced Resistance produced by biostimulants in the soil,” Joe noted. “It’s related to better understanding the microbes of the soil and stimulating them to give plants the vigor to resist disease, insect, and environmental stress. By growing a healthier plant with genetic resistance, then we are more likely to produce the quality of crops demanded by the consumer, with less environmental impact and needed resources.”
The Keynote Presentation included announcing the Grower of the Year, which was presented to Rod Braga, President and Chief Executive Officer of Braga Fresh.
After a brief lunch, it was time to hit the trade show floor. With a sold-out show floor and nearly 70 exhibitors, attendees could find everything from the latest in ag tech to artificial intelligence (AI).
When asked about the importance of the show in its mission to improve the organic sector, Volm’s Breanne Steadman had this to say.
“We’ve had several great discussions about sustainability, regarding both packaging and the impact on the overall landscape of the ag industry. People seem genuinely excited to see what Volm has been developing with our sustainable product lines and engaging in mindful conversations about the future of packaging and what we are seeing in terms of market trends and new product development across the industry,” remarked the Product Manager - Flexible Packaging.
Cheers to another Organic Grower Summit for the books!