News San Francisco Chronicle Features Salinas Valley’s Ag Automation

Head of Lettuce

The “future of farming” has already arrived in the Salinas Valley, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in August–thanks to automated farming practices that are changing the landscape of the ag industry.

In her article “Ag-tech: The automated farm,” Chronicle reporter Tara Duggan discusses factors such as food safety that have driven the advancement of ag technology in the region. She offers the example of Taylor Farms’ automated lettuce harvester as an example of how increased automation has started to “make sense” in the region.

“In the past, “You’d have cutters bending over several thousand times a day, eight to nine hours. It’s brutal, brutal work,” he says. Now, they stand on a platform and inspect, trim and pack the romaine.”

The article describes Taylor Farms’ in-depth harvesting methods, including the automated processes of picking, washing, weighing and packaging. Performing these operations through robots allows laborers to focus on higher-level, better-paying work such as quality control and machine operation.

“With the robot, [Taylor Farms] can assemble 60 to 80 salads a minute, double the output when humans weighed and packed the greens.”