Biotalys’ biocontrol Evoca wins top honors

Biotalys, an agricultural technology company based in Belgium, recently announced that its biocontrol, Evoca, won the World BioProtection award for best biofungicide product, according to a news release. The award was granted at the World BioProtection Summit held in Birmingham, England, in May.

Evoca is a protein-based biofungicide developed to control fungal diseases such as botrytis and powdery mildew in fruits and vegetables. Biotalys recently published the key findings of its latest trials with Evoca, showing that the product consistently outperformed a leading chemical fungicide when applied at the flowering stage in a botrytis control program in grapes, according to the release.

“We are honored to receive this global award for Evoca, the first biocontrol product developed on our unique technology platform,” said Patrice Sellès, CEO of Biotalys. “Demonstrating the strength of our technology and approach, this award recognizes the hard work of our colleagues and the scientific excellence of our teams to develop a new and effective tool for growers to protect their crops from fungal diseases.” 

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Valent announces new leadership appointments

Valent U.S.A. recently announced several leadership appointments within the company’s sales and marketing departments, according to a news release. 

Dave Poling has been named vice president of marketing, where he will be responsible for leading and developing the marketing organization for Valent’s products and services, which includes herbicide, insecticide, fungicide and plant growth regulator products. He will also support global strategies and key growth initiatives of Valent’s parent company, Sumitomo Chemical. Poling succeeds Geoff Quick, who has transitioned to a new role in business development for Sumitomo Chemical’s AgroSolutions Division International.

“Dave is a highly capable and effective leader who brings significant marketing experience to Valent,” said Matt Plitt, president and CEO. “From strengthening customer-focused solutions to driving growth in our core markets, Dave will lead a talented marketing team to advance sustainable agriculture and position Valent for continued success.”

Matt Lawrence has been named director of retail strategy, a new role within the Valent sales organization; Trey Soud has been appointed director of distribution strategy, where he will succeed Lawrence; BeckyJo Smith has been named associate director of sustainable solutions; Jesse Rosales has been named associate director of strategic marketing and sustainability; and Joe Short has been promoted to asset management lead.

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Novozymes and AgroFresh form partnership 

Novozymes, a leading biotech company, and AgroFresh, a global leader in postharvest freshness solutions, are forming a research and commercialization partnership to develop biological products that can improve postharvest food quality and minimize waste by fighting fungal pathogens, according to a news release. 

“This is a very exciting venture into a groundbreaking area for Novozymes — with the intention to satisfy an increasing consumer demand for fruits and vegetables with less food waste and less impact to the environment,” said Thomas Stenfeldt Batchelor, vice president of agriculture marketing and strategy with Novozymes. “With great synergies, that include Novozymes’ expertise in pioneering bioinnovation and AgroFresh’s R&D capabilities and application knowledge, we will explore the development of viable and sustainable postharvest solutions to also alleviate significant supply chain issues.” 

Novozymes and AgroFresh anticipate that development of new bioproducts will be accelerated by the combination of advanced biotechnologies from Novozymes and AgroFresh’s deep scientific expertise in postharvest solutions, global commercial presence and portfolio of integrated solutions to help maintain freshness and quality, according to the release. 

“AgroFresh and Novozymes share very similar missions around sustainability and the introduction of differentiated technologies to address unmet needs across the food chain,” said Duncan Aust, chief technology officer with AgroFresh. “We are excited to partner with Novozymes to pioneer the use of biological solutions in the postharvest sector to reduce food loss and waste and help improve the quality of our food system overall.” 

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GlobalGAP hires two new managers

GlobalGAP North America recently announced the addition of two new managers: Antonio Restrepo as producer relations manager and Katy Hladki as buyer relations manager, according to a news release.

Restrepo will be responsible for growing farm-level adoption of GlobalGAP solutions among growers in the U.S. and Canada. He has worked for a large U.S. produce supplier for 20 years, helping growers all around the U.S. and Latin America develop and implement their food safety programs. 

“Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with the most important people from all around the USA and Latin America — the farmers who work through numerous challenges to provide wholesome, safe food while taking care of our planet,” said Restrepo. “I’m passionate about helping producers with their food safety, sustainability and workers’ health certification efforts, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue to provide solutions to even more producers through my new role in GlobalGAP.”

Hladki will work to increase market recognition and acceptance of GlobalGAP products and services. Prior to joining GlobalGAP North America, Hladki accumulated over 10 years of experience working in the fields of corporate social responsibility and sustainable food production. 

“I am excited to be a part of the team supporting GlobalGAP’s mission of safe, responsible agriculture worldwide,” said Hladki. “I look forward to engaging with the North American marketplace to help them bring safe and healthy food to their customers.”

GlobalGAP is a brand of smart farm assurance solutions developed by FoodPLUS GmbH in Cologne, Germany, with cooperation from producers, retailers and other stakeholders from across the food industry. GlobalGAP North America Inc. is a subsidiary company dedicated to serving the needs of markets in the U.S. and Canada.

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Pace adds biorational fungicide for postharvest

Pace International, a leading provider of sustainable postharvest solutions and technologies for the fresh produce industry, recently announced that BioSpectra 100 SC is now listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for organic use in the U.S., according to a news release. 

BioSpectra received its OMRI-listed seal after completing the rigorous certification process and requirements set forth for use in organic crop production. BioSpectra provides broad-spectrum decay control against several major fungal postharvest diseases across various crops, and it has shown better disease control compared to other organic alternatives, according to the release. 

“As the world’s needs continue to evolve, effective biological solutions will play a key role in protecting the quality and marketability of fresh produce,” said Jorge Gotuzzo, the company’s senior director of marketing. “We are proud to continue to bring innovative, sustainable solutions to our customers and the fruit packing industry, something that we strive for every day.”

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Ganaz launches digital pay stubs 

Ganaz, a Seattle-based startup focused on bringing workforce management and financial tools to the agricultural sector, recently launched digital pay stubs, a new feature of the Ganaz MasterCard payroll card, according to a news release. 

While payroll cards allow farmworkers to receive their pay electronically, without setting up a bank account, one of the challenges has been pay stubs, since farms offering payroll cards usually must continue printing and distributing pay stubs. Now Ganaz customers who use its payroll card can deliver digital pay stubs electronically to workers via a text message from Ganaz that is linked to its secure cardholder portal. 

“Moving away from paper checks ensures the correct employee receives their money and pay stub without having to dedicate hours of work to it,” said Tiffany Davis, office manager at K & K Land and Management, a Ganaz customer. “It also alleviates the rush at the end of harvest to get checks to [H-2A] workers before they head home.” 

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Wafla hires Macias as chief people, community officer

Wafla, a nonprofit, membership-based agricultural labor organization, recently announced the hiring of Roxana Macias as the organization’s first chief people and community officer, according to a news release.

Macias is leaving a Mexico-based role managing visa services to return to wafla, where she previously served as a human resources program manager. She also spent time as an analyst at the Washington State Employment Security Department, working specifically on agriculture research. A graduate of the University of Washington, Macias grew up in Prosser, Washington, and has a strong knowledge of agriculture. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Roxana back to wafla. She brings a wonderfully rounded skill set working on all aspects of H-2 visas,” said Enrique Gastelum, wafla CEO. “Roxana’s understanding of agriculture, labor and state and federal employment compliance will serve our members and worker communities well. She is well-suited to be part of wafla’s new and growing leadership team.”

Beyond visa and human resources issues, Macias’ new role will work closely with key stakeholders in the communities wafla members serve.

“It is an honor to be coming back to wafla and have the opportunity to define the new role of chief people and community officer,” said Macias. “Working with the agricultural community for over a decade, I have learned this industry is about the people and the community we support. I’m excited to get to work and continue serving the industry that feeds the world.”

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OSF appoints new leadership positions

Don Westcott
Don Westcott

Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF), the developer and grower of the bioengineered Arctic apple varieties, recently announced the expansion of its executive team, according to a news release. Daryl Johnston has been hired as vice president of sales and business development, and Don Westcott was promoted to senior vice president.

“Over the past five years, Don has proven to be a very dedicated and capable member of our executive team. While he will continue to play a central part in leading the company’s operations team, his new position will also see him take a more active role in strategic business matters,” said Neal Carter, OSF president. “I’d like to congratulate Don on his promotion, which is very well-deserved.”

Daryl Johnston
Daryl Johnston

Johnston has more than 32 years of food and beverage experience, including work with Dole Fresh Vegetables, Southern Specialties and, most recently, Titan Farms and Palmetto Processing Solutions.

“I’m thrilled to be joining OSF and bringing my skill set to this vertically integrated company,” said Johnston. “Arctic apples are such an amazing product, and their superior freshness and 28-day shelf life offers new opportunities that are waiting to be explored. I’m looking forward to helping lead the company into a market-leading position.”

Based in Summerland, British Columbia, Canada, OSF was founded in 1996 and acquired by an affiliate of Third Security in 2020. For more information, go to:

Lad Irrigation opens new location in Yakima

Brek Tolman
Brek Tolman

Lad Irrigation recently announced plans to open a new location in Yakima, Washington, according to a news release. Lad recently acquired Foremost Pump and Well Services and has been working out of the Foremost location while its permanent facilities are being renovated. The new facility on Washington Avenue will allow Lad to bring its full range of services to a community it has been serving for some time now. Doors at the new location were expected to open Oct. 1.

Lad Irrigation, established in Moses Lake in 1957, now has eight stores across Eastern Washington, with other locations in Basin City, George, Othello, Pasco, Sunnyside and Royal City. Brek Tolman is the president and CEO. Lad provides services for anything irrigation, including orchard and vineyard irrigation, drip irrigation, pivots, deep well turbines and pump stations. With its full-service machine shop and in-house electricians, welders and pump techs, the company works with clients from beginning to end processes, as well as providing continued support and maintenance services. 

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Hectre launches apple sizing straight off the truck 

Fruit tech innovator Hectre’s new Spectre Top Down is designed to allow sizing of more than 5,000 apples straight off the truck, within seconds, as flatbeds arrive at receiving, according to a news release. 

The Spectre Top Down app uses computer vision and machine learning artificial intelligence to detect and size apples from the top layer of fruit bins on flatbed trucks. As trucks arrive at receiving, they pass under a Spectre Top Down camera, and the app uses algorithms to detect pieces of fruit and size them. Size data is served up within seconds and is shareable with packing houses, sales and other teams. 

“Spectre Top Down is the fifth product in our Spectre range that we have brought to market in the past 18 months,” said Matty Blomfield, CEO and co-founder of Hectre. “Initially we developed Spectre for Apples, which provides apple growers and packers with the ability to size apples in seconds, just by taking a photo on a simple iPad. We then launched Spectre for Color, to deliver early color grading for apples, followed by Spectre for Citrus and, recently, Spectre for Cherries.”

The Hectre app provides both orchard management modules and mobile fruit sizing for tree fruit growers and packers. For more information, go to: