St.Patrick’s Day – Drogheda & Salinas; Bridging the Irish and the US Agri-Tech Sectors

On Wednesday, 16th March, Mayor of Drogheda Paul Bell, and the former Mayor of Salinas City in California, Dennis Donoghue (representing the current Mayor Joe Gunter), took part in a symbolic shamrock-giving ceremony video-link. The video-link also included Jennifer Krebs of The Western Growers Centre for Innovation and Technology in Salinas. This marked the renewed commitment of co-operation between Salinas and Drogheda in the Ag-Tech sector, and the additional potential collaboration of Drogheda’s Mill Enterprise Hub with Western Growers Centre for Innovation and Technology in Salinas.

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Drogheda has already hosted a number of visits from the former Mayor of Salinas, Dennis Donoghue, who has been in agribusiness since 1988 and is also a key player in the re-birth of Salinas as it moves from ‘the Salad Capital’ of The United States to becoming a champion in the Agri-Tech sector. According to Dennis, “the long-standing relationship between Salinas and Drogheda will be improved, and the co-operation between both Innovation Centres and regions, offers a great opportunity to further cement the strong partnership, and take a leading role in a rapidly-expanding sector”.

Mayor Bell participated in the ‘Shamrock-giving’ video-link, and reconfirmed Drogheda’s commitment to further develop the relationship with Salinas City, “Salinas has actively positioned itself as the central point where technology meets the agri-food sector, and we would be delighted to expand on that relationship. Both Salinas and Drogheda have common traits including the fact that they’re natural Gateways to the region’s agri-food sector, but are also in close proximity to the technology epicentres of Silicon Valley, and Silicon Docks in Dublin”.

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A key objective is to see Irish–Americans, and both regions, coming together to develop a mutually beneficial network in the Ag-Tech sector.  Similar to Salinas, Drogheda, The Boyne Valley, and the North-East of Ireland has a very strong tradition of agri-food companies, from Boyne Valley Foods, to Natures Best and Keelings. Breanndan Casey of The Mill stated “We believe there is strong potential for existing rural & urban agri-food businesses in the region to develop their business by adopting high-tech solutions. The International linkage would highlight best practise in both countries, and harness the expertise of many Irish-Americans who now have a leadership role in the US Agri-Tech sector. The Western Growers Innovation Centre is a key partner in The Thrive Accelerator programme for technology-enabled Startups in the AgriTech and FoodTech areas, and I believe we can form a mutually-beneficial partnership. The Mill ran a series of FoodTech seminars in 2015, and we are working on similar initiatives for 2016”.

Mayor Bell Drogheda-Salinas AgriTech Twinning 16.03.16

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