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The Nexus of Soil Health and Agtech: Field Day at Braga Fresh

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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

9:00 AM - 3:00 PM PST

Braga Barn, Soledad, CA

The Nexus of Soil Health and Agtech: Field Day at Braga Fresh
on March 12, 2024

CEUs: 0.5 credit Integrated Pest Management, 2.5 Sustainability

Join us for “The Nexus of Soil Health and Agtech” field day on Tuesday, March 12th at the Braga Barn in Soledad, California from 9am-3pm. Lunch will be provided.

Soil health and the soil microbiome is critically important to the future of sustainable agriculture. Agtech can support growers to make informed decisions when considering practices to improve soil health and support the soil microbiome. Understanding the tools and gaining access to high quality data to measure the impact of soil health practices and make better-informed, data-driven decisions can help to close the feedback loop between the soil and farming techniques.

Braga Fresh will demonstrate how they have been tracking their in-field carbon footprint and soil health by leveraging data to drive farm management decisions and improve the environmental impact of sustainable farming practices. A key piece of Braga's sustainable agriculture and healthy soils journey has been utilizing technology such as Agrology’s systems to measure and monitor soil health and carbon flux. Agrology tools monitor soil moisture, irrigation events, and a variety of other climate data points to help Braga understand what is happening in the soil.

Additionally, this field day will include a live demonstration of Wilbur Ellis’ Autonomous Spray Drone technology, an overview of the passive spore trapping system “Sporenado”, and feature live demonstrations of advancements in automation and field equipment.


Please review this waiver prior to the event.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

'The Significance of Soil Respiration as a Pivotal Indicator of the Soil's Overall Health and Microbial Activity'

Speaker: Charlie Dubbe, Agrology

Live Demonstration of spray drone, in field, Wilbur Ellis

Speaker: Elliot Dorenbaum, Wilbur Ellis

‘Soil Health, Data, and Collaborations’ Field Demonstration of Agrology’s ‘Arbiter’

Speaker: Charlie Dubbe, Agrology

Demonstration of Veda, field equipment on broccoli

Speaker: Sam Stoffers, Veda Farming

'Braga Fresh Healthy Soils Project'

Speaker:  Kyle Harmon, Braga Fresh and Pam Krone, CMSF

Break and Lunch

‘Sporenado, a Passive Spore Trapping and Detection System’

Speaker: Kristine White, Sporenado

‘Western Growers Work in Ag Tech and Innovation’

Speaker:  Ben Palone, Western Growers

'Field Automation Advancements for Specialty Crops'

Speaker: Nathan Dorn, farm-ng

‘Biochar and Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture’

Speaker: Steve McIntyre, Monterey Pacific

‘The Nexus of Soil Health and Ag Tech’, Panel Discussion

Panelists: Ben Palone, John McKeon, Nathan Dorn, and Parry Klassen

Moderated by Walt Duflock



Braga Fresh- In 1928, Sebastian and Josie Braga started farming California’s fertile soil on what is now known as the Braga Home Ranch in Soledad, CA. Today, the third generation continues the family values of sustainable-organic farming. Braga Fresh sets aside 10% of farmland to beneficial habitat and has the goal of being carbon neutral. Now vertically integrated, Braga Fresh combines innovation with tradition to grow, harvest, and process fresh vegetables and leafy greens through the Josie’s Organics and Braga Farms brands. For more information about the company, visit

ag agrology

Agrology- Agrology is a leading climate tech start-up and Public Benefit Corporation with a mission to help farmers adapt to and beat climate change with real-time analysis and predictive insights. The Agrology platform consists of climate and carbon monitoring systems, both based on ground-truth data and machine learning. The Agrology Climate Monitoring System delivers predictive insights and warnings up to four days in advance of wildfire smoke taint risk, extreme weather, soil conditions, pest and disease emergence, and irrigation. Agrology’s Carbon Monitoring System tracks soil carbon sequestration in real time, quickly detecting carbon loss via carbon dioxide emission events.

WG Science

Western Growers- Founded in 1926, Western Growers is a non-profit agricultural trade association with over 2,500 members that 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.


California Marine Sanctuary Foundation- Since its inception in 1995, the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation has worked to protect the state’s coastal ecosystems.  CMSF works with agricultural growers and ranchers on climate change mitigation through CDFA Healthy Soils Program Demonstration grants. Healthy Soils practices sequester carbon dioxide into the soils of working lands and build soil & plant health, while also slowing the pace of atmospheric and ocean climate change.

Arelne Haffa
Dr. Arlene Haffa
Professor, Department of Biology & Chemistry
CSU Monterey Bay
Dr. Arlene Haffa is a Professor in the Department of Biology & Chemistry at CSU Monterey Bay. She earned her doctorate at Arizona State University where she used laser physics to study electron transfer in photosynthetic bacteria. Her postdoctoral studies were done at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing. She taught in the chemistry department at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for four years before joining the faculty at CSU Monterey Bay in 2011.
Cole Smith
Staff Research Associate
University of California, Davis and Agriculture and Natural Resources
Cole is a Staff Research Associate with University of California, Davis and Agriculture and Natural Resources. His primary research area is sustainable nutrient management and soil fertility. His Ph.D. research has focused on the use of organic amendments within vegetable cropping agroecosystems of the California’s central coast, aiming to quantifying tradeoffs between conservation management and nitrogen fertilizer use. Cole holds a master’s degree from UC Davis in Soil Science & Biogeochemistry and has been with the UC system for 8 years implementing extension-based outreach and education programs to divert organic waste from landfills, improve soil health and promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.

Steve Brazeel Headshot
Steve Brazeel
Elevated Foods

In 2000, Steve Brazeel founded SunTerra Produce, which has grown from a one-person produce brokerage firm into an industry-leading, full-service platform handling sales, marketing, farming, food safety, harvesting, storage, and distribution activities for specialty crop producers on over 10,000 acres throughout the US and Mexico. Born out of SunTerra‘s participation in the USDA’s ground-breaking Farmers to Families Food Box program, Project FoodBox was launched in 2020. Since the program’s inception, the SunTerra/Project FoodBox teams have delivered over 85 Million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to communities in need through its network of food banks, community organizations, and health care plans.

Elevated Foods, founded by Mr. Brazeel in 2020, was recently awarded a $20M grant as part of USDA’s Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities program. Elevated was formed to bring more profit to farmers by incentivizing the adoption of new technologies & practices and providing technical support to help make them more efficient and resilient.

Featuring Karen Ross
Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture

KAREN ROSS was appointed Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture on January 9, 2019, by Governor Gavin Newsom. 

In re-appointing Secretary Ross, Governor Newsom cited her unmatched leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally and in California, in areas including environmental stewardship, climate change adaptation and trade. 

Secretary Ross was initially appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 2011.

For more information please contact Jeana Cadby | (805) 978-0221

Copyright © 2024, Western Growers


Jason_Resnick 2
Jason Resnick
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Western Growers

Jason Resnick joined Western Growers in 2003 and now serves as Senior Vice President and General Counsel. His responsibilities include overseeing the organization’s legal department, trade practices department, H-2A Services division, and corporate governance as Western Growers’ corporate secretary.  Jason provides advice and counsel on various legal, business and policy matters. Jason has primary staff liaison responsibility over the Western Growers Board of Directors, and the WG Executive and Labor Committees.

Click here for Jason Resnick's full biography.