Sep 10, 2018Colorado group solicits agricultural labor innovation proposals
Two categories of agricultural labor innovation proposals are being solicited by the Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) to present at its first-ever Produce Labor Conference, Dec. 5 at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, Aurora, Colo. CFVGA anticipates more than 100 grower and other participants.
The first category of proposals sought is for existing marketplace agricultural technology solutions to labor challenges (especially labor shortages) for produce fields and packing houses. Up to four companies will be selected to demonstrate their product, using a dedicated 40 x 40 feet indoor, concrete floor space. After product demonstrations, companies will take questions from growers in small groups, as conference participants rotate through all four demonstrations. Those selected to participate receive free registration and a free exhibitor booth, valued at $310 as well as two night’s lodging. The winner, selected by audience vote, will receive a one-year scholarship with the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology valued at $3,000.
The second category of proposals sought is for individuals and companies with innovative ideas to increase labor efficiency, save money on labor, attract or retain workers and/or reduce the amount of human labor used in produce operations. Ideas can be technical (i.e. robotics) or management/structural/conceptual (i.e. profit share structures, sharing housing with other organizations, etc.) Participants will explain within five minutes how the innovation will save time, attract or retain workers, increase efficiency and/or decrease the need for human physical labor. Following this, they will have an opportunity to participate in a small focus group where a note taker will moderate a discussion and record strengths and weaknesses, areas of improvement, ideas for next steps, etc., and provide a summarized report to the full group. The audience will vote on a winner, who will receive a free two-day CFVGA Annual Conference registration.
According to Adrian Card, founding CFVGA board member and chair of the conference planning committee: “This is an exclusive opportunity for companies to showcase labor solution for the produce industry and to get grower feedback.”
Proposals for both programs are due Oct. 15 and can be emailed to [email protected]. Proposals should be prepared in accordance with the Request for Proposal guidelines, which can be found at https://coloradoproduce.org/labor/ Use the same email address or call CFVGA at 303.594.3827 for further information.
The CFVGA is comprised of approximately 250 members, including growers of all sizes and types of production throughout the state, as well as representatives of allied industries. The Colorado fruit and vegetable growing sector contributes nearly $485 million to Colorado in production and sales and is multiplied as it goes through the distribution chain. Over 90,000 Colorado acres are in fruit and vegetable production.