KCBS_740 EMERYVILLE (KCBS) — Agriculture is embracing technology to become more efficient, and startups are interacting with industry leaders to develop the best tools.

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture met in Emeryville to discuss the evolution.

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The Western Growers Association, a trade organization of agricultural producers, has established the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology based in Salinas.

“It’s an incubator essentially, and it’s set up for startups and entrepreneurs to come in and have desk space, and conference space, and to be able to connect with the industry,” Hank Giclas of the Western Growers Association said.

The center, which opened in December currently has 16 startups involved, but is poised to have 25 by the end of July.

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“I think there’s a great need to embrace technology,” Giclas said.

Among the startups at the center is Heavy Connect, which allows farmers to use existing mobile devices.

“We collect information for timecard information for field-based employees; work scheduling, and what tasks, and where they’re supposed to be, and what tools they’re supposed to use,” Heavy Connect Founder Patrick Zelaya said.

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