AgTech developments, desal news, airport safety grant, and more.
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 A Weekly Newsletter Promoting Monterey County:
Open for Business

Friday, July 19, 2019

Edition 800

Automation could reduce spinach harvest costs

A new tool to more efficiently harvest Monterey County's $143 million spinach crop might bring relief for farmers struggling to find enough fieldworkers to pick it. The spinach guard, developed by Harvest Moon Automations Inc., looks like nothing so much as a series of piano keys, splayed mere inches above the ground. It attaches to the front of a harvester, sticking just a few feet out in front of the machine.
When the tiny cameras positioned above the keys sense irregularities in the spinach -- such as downy mildew, bird droppings, or something else you wouldn't want showing up in your salad -- the piano keys depress that patch of spinach, pushing it below the reach of the bandsaw or laser that slices through the stems of spinach leaves.
With a dwindling, aging farmworker labor market, Harvest Moon Automations co-founders Stephen Jens and Tom Garnett hope to appeal to farmers who find themselves short on laborers.
After several years of development, the spinach guard is due to hit the market in 2019. Earthbound Farms was among some of the farms that were willing to test out the harvester for Harvest Moon. Read more
Source: The Salinas Californian, photo courtesy of Harvest Moon Automation.

Marina Municipal Airport awarded $1.4 million grant

The United States Department of Transportation has granted $4 million to the Marina Municipal Airport to extend its existing Taxiway B by about 500 feet for safety and operational needs as part of the airport master plan. 
Some of the aircraft that currently use the Marina airport fly below capacity in order to fly out and land there. The Taxiway B extension project will extend it east to the threshold of Runway 29 by a little more than 500 feet, said Jeff Crechriou, Marina Airport Services Manager. The extension will improve safety by eliminating the need for the “back taxi maneuver.”
Crechriou said it is important to note that this is not a runway extension but a project to make the parallel taxiway even with its corresponding runway.
Crechriou said the recently approved Marina Airport Master Plan has an ultimate vision of a 5,800-foot long and 100-foot wide runway, but now it is about serving the public and increasing the utilization. Read more
Source: Monterey County Herald

Michael Masuda named to 2019 Super Lawyers list for sixth consecutive year

Michael Masuda of Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss (MCBC member) has been selected for inclusion on the 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers list.

The Super Lawyers list recognizes no more than five percent of the attorneys in Northern California. Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven rating service of outstanding attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. This is the sixth consecutive year Masuda has been named to the Super Lawyers list. 

Masuda is a graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law (cum laude). At Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss, he focuses on civil litigation and appeals, labor and employment, arbitration and mediation, and construction law. He has tried over 90 cases and obtained numerous $1 million-plus verdicts and settlements.

CalAm to start work on desal plant in September

California American Water (MCBC member) plans to begin work on its desalination plant project in September after a split Board of Supervisors granted a permit for the proposal on Monday. By a 3-2 vote, the county board approved a combined development permit for the 6.4-million-gallon-per-day desal plant on a 25-acre site near the Marina landfill. The plant is the central element of Cal Am’s $329 million desal project at the core of the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply project designed to provide a new water supply to offset the state-ordered Carmel River pumping cutback set to take full effect at the end of 2021, as well as the court-ordered reduction in Seaside basin water use. Read more
Source: Monterey County Herald

Housing proposal could double size of Gonzales

A proposed development focused on affordable housing would be the biggest housing growth the City of Gonzales (MCBC member) has ever seen, according to the city manager. The Vista Lucia Specific Plan will be sent to Monterey County LAFCO for approval, and if all goes right, it could break ground as early as the end of 2020. The development would include homes, apartments and expand city limits on the northeast side of Gonzales. Read more
Source: KION

We at Monterey Bay Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) help businesses navigate the labyrinth of the government procurement system. Visit the website to learn about upcoming workshops or sign up to become a client. Call 831-216-3000 or see us on Facebook: @MontereyBayPTAC.
CyberSecure My Business Workshop and Procurement Expo
When: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, July 25
Location: Wyndham Garden Fresno Yosemite Airport, 5090 E. Clinton Way, Fresno
Register here


Rolands & Associates hosts the 21st Joint Theater Level Simulation - Global Operations (JTLS-GO) International Users Conference, Sept. 3-5 at Embassy Suites in Seaside and at Rolands & Associates offices in Del Rey Oaks. Learn more or RSVP

Special thanks to the County of Monterey for its ongoing support of the Monterey County Business Council's efforts for economic development and education.

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Founded in 1995, the Monterey County Business Council (MCBC) is a 501(c)(6) organization comprised of a diverse group of members representing all industries and geographic areas of Monterey County. It remains the only countywide organization focused on business advocacy, economic development and workforce readiness.

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