Produce Marketing Association just released the third episode of the PMA Takes on Tech Podcast and the fourth is slotted to drop this week. The podcast series, hosted by Vonnie Estes, vice president of technology at PMA, explores how technology supports professionals and businesses across the fresh produce supply chain. Each episode examines how experts are using technology to further the industry.
Estes knows that technology transforms the way food is grown, harvested, packaged, delivered and consumed. Earlier this year, she presented on 5G and the digitization of farms at the Consumer Electronics Show and was scheduled to lead a series of sessions on technology in the produce industry at SXSW in Austin.
Right: Vonnie Estes.
“Sometimes we think about technology as a cost, or we think about it as a pipe dream, or something that may exist down the line,” said PMA’s Estes. “I believe that technology is the solution to a multitude of our industry’s greatest challenges. The podcast is about navigating the world as it is right now, with the tools and tech that are available to us and laying the groundwork to ensure we’re prepared for what’s next.”
The third episode, “PMA Takes on Tech: Can technology solve the produce labor shortage?” features Dr. Phil Martin, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Ag and Resource Economics at UC Davis, John Purcell, head of vegetable seed R&D at Bayer Crop Science, and James Terry of CloudFarming in Australia. Estes led interviews with each guest to discuss the state of farm labor in the US and globally as well as innovative breeding and labor solutions in development now.
All episodes are available now and listeners can catch up on previously release episodes if they have missed them.
The fourth episode will drop later this week and will be foodservice focused, aligning with PMA’s virtual event Foodservice: Delivered. The episode, “The Realities of Foodservice” features Jin Ju Wilder, of Vesta Foodservice, Martha Montoya, CEO of Agtools, Inc., Aidan Moaut, CEO of Hazel Technologies, and Patrick Cortes, of Mission Produce Inc. The conversation tackles the challenges in foodservice posed by COVID-19 and how new and existing technology will help the industry plan for the future.
“The conversations about technology have often been about what we ‘could do’,” said Estes. “But in the wake of COVID-19 and the changes to the industry, the economy, and simply the ways we work, the conversations have shifted to be about what we ‘must do.’ We must invest in solutions that will solve our industries biggest challenges. We must be a part of the discussion on how and what solutions we invest in and how they are implemented. The podcast is one way to start that dialogue.”
All episodes for the PMA Takes on Tech podcast can be found here.