IRVINE, Calif. (April 10, 2018) – Western Growers and Radicle Growth have partnered to create The Radicle Automation Challenge, a competition where AgTech automation entrepreneurs are eligible to compete for a minimum of $250,000 in investment capital and exclusive access to farm acreage to pilot their technologies. Four finalists will be chosen to showcase their technologies in front of a group of investors, corporate partners and agribusiness experts and the winner will be announced during the Western Growers Innovation Showcase Dinner at the Forbes AgTech Summit on June 26, 2018.
Western Growers and Radicle Growth have partnered to find and fund the best and brightest ideas from around the world to help automate agricultural functions. The macro- and microeconomic trends require a proactive approach to the increasing demands for food production and decreasing supply of labor. Western Growers and Radicle Growth believe that by making a significant seed-stage investment and providing access to growers to trial the technology that they can significantly accelerate the adoption of ag-automation technologies.
To qualify, companies should have received a minimum of $100,000 in investment capital, or in-kind capital, or have gone through an AgTech incubator or accelerator program. All applications will be reviewed by the investment committee, and a final shortlist of four companies will be invited to present live in front of a renowned panel of judges.
“Agriculture has been at a labor deficit for more than a decade, and if our food production is to survive with a declining workforce we need R&D and more innovative technology,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers. “Since the opening of Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology in 2015, a key mission has been to accelerate the development of labor-saving technologies, and our new partnership with Radicle Growth to launch the Automation Challenge will be crucial in both our efforts to maintain a sustainable food supply.”
“There are two enemies of a start-up, time and money, and we are making a meaningful seed-stage commitment to ensure that we help entrepreneurs bring their technology to market more quickly,” said Kirk Haney, CEO and managing partner of Radicle Growth. “The $250k is tailored to the unique needs of automation entrepreneurs to ensure they have enough capital and, in partnership with Western Growers, a platform to trial their technology. If we believe in them, we move fast. We’re really excited to meet the start-ups who could be the future of the industry.”
All applications can be submitted to Applications must be submitted by May 1, 2018. The finalists will be notified of selection on May 29, 2018.
About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide over half the nation's fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America's fresh organic produce. 
About Radicle Growth:
Radicle Growth is a San Diego-based acceleration fund that selects innovative ag and food tech startups for investment, ensuring that powerful, disruptive technologies reach their full potential. In additional to providing seed-stage capital, they provide a fertile environment for visionaries in the ag space, not just to grow but to flourish.