Press Release by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services “FDACS Hosts First Ever Florida-Israel Agriculture Innovation Summit” with FIBA

For Immediate Release: November 20, 2020
Contact: Office of Communications, (850) 617-7737
Twitter: @FDACS & @NikkiFriedFL


FDACS Hosts First Ever Florida-Israel Agriculture Innovation Summit


Tallahassee, Fla. — Thursday concluded the first ever Florida-Israel Agriculture Innovation Summit, hosted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and organized by the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA). The four-day virtually-held summit kicked off Monday, November 16 with remarks from Commissioner Fried. The summit covered a wide range of topics, with participants hearing from growers, scientists, government officials, and others on the latest in agricultural technology, drones and agrobotics, hemp and cannabis, and challenges facing the industry.


Over 600 registered attendees heard from 63 speakers and panelists from 27 companies over four days in the agriculture, cannabis, technology, and other industries, and key educational and government stakeholders. The summit follows up on Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s trade mission to Israel last year, after which she formed Florida’s first Agriculture Innovation Workgroup to recommend new practices.


“The Florida-Israel Agriculture Innovation Summit is a collaboration between two agriculture powerhouse governments, bringing together growers, scientists, and leading Florida and Israeli ag tech experts to share innovative solutions for challenges facing our farmers and ranchers,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “The summit was an incredible opportunity for businesses and individuals to gain insights on important issues facing both Florida and Israel’s agriculture industries. I thank the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator and all the stakeholders that helped make this successful summit possible. The future is bright for Florida and Israel’s agriculture communities, and when innovation brings people together to create solutions, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.”


“Innovation and agriculture must go hand-in-hand since we are obligated to continue producing food while managing strained consumable natural resources, climate change and unexpected pandemics,” said Acting Consul General Galit Paleg of the Consulate of Israel in Miami. “I wish to thank Commissioner Fried for initiating this opportunity to share efforts between Israel and Florida farmers and entrepreneurs. I believe this summit was a step in a long and fruitful collaboration.”


“The team of the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA) is grateful for the opportunity to bring Commissioner Fried’s vision to fruition,” said Rakefet Bachur-Phillips, Co-Executive Director of the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator. “We worked hard over the past six months to identify cutting-edge ag-tech companies, and top experts and researchers in the fields of hemp and robotics from Israel, and create a virtual platform for them to share knowledge with Florida growers, farmers and academics. Over 1200 attendees tuned in to listen to 60 speakers discussing challenges, solutions and opportunities. We hope to see new research collaborations and commercial partnerships resulting from this successful summit and helping the agriculture industry in Florida thrive.”


Summit Recordings: Recordings of the eleven sessions over the four days of the Florida-Israel Agriculture Innovation Summit will be available here.


Full Summit Schedule and List of Speakers:


Day 1 – November 16, 8:00-10:00 AM: Summit Kickoff

8:00-9:00 AM EST: Welcome and Introductions + Overview of Florida and Israeli Agriculture Industries

Moderated by: John Dicks, Partner, Litigation, Ackerman Law

Speakers: Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried

Mr. Yakov Poleg, Senior Deputy Director General, Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Deborah Tannenbaum, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture, FDACS
Shmuel Rausnitz, Researcher & Scout for Agrifood-tech, Start-Up Nation Central

9:00-10:00 AM EST: Florida-Israel Agriculture Success Stories

Moderated by: Rakefet Phillips, Co-Executive Director, FIBA

Speakers: Rebecca Marshall, Program Development Manager, 4Roots Farm
Eyal Harel, CEO, BlueGreen Water Technologies
Lior Hessel, CEO, Growponics
Dr. Diane Rowland, Professor & Chair of Agronomy Department and Director, UF Center for Stress Resilient Agriculture, University of Florida/IFAS
Trevor Perrott, CEO, Censys Technologies

James Estrada, Instructor and Director of Agroecology, UF Center for Stress Resilient Agriculture, University of Florida/IFAS

Day 2 – November 17, 8:00-11:30AM: Hemp and Cannabis

8:00-9:00 AM EST: Current State of Hemp/Cannabis Industry in Florida

Moderated by: Holly Bell, Director of Cannabis, FDACS

Panel Discussion: Brandon Boyd, Owner, TBG Hemp
Kent Dunston, Director, Greenstone North America Corp.
Brett Finkelstein, Investor/Entrepreneur/Executive, Former Co-Founder & Managing Director, Phyto Partners LP
Carley Nelson, Chief Operations Officer, One Hemp Brands
Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, Vice President of Strategic Development & Business Relations, Lykes Bros. Inc.

9:00-10:00 AM EST: Presentations by Israeli Hemp/Cannabis Companies

Moderated by: Adam Hunter, Partner, Assurance Services, Cherry Bekaert LLP

Israeli Companies: Agritask LtdDryGair Energies LtdHorticaMyCrops Technologies LtdNeswell Group, Visicann Technologies Inc.


10:30-11:30 AM EST: Hemp/Cannabis Research Roundtable Discussion

Moderated by: Dr. Matthew Curran, FDACS Director Division of Food Safety

Panel Discussion: Scott Burgett, COO and Co-founder of Green Earth Cannaceuticals
Jerry Fankhauser, Assistant Director, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station (FAES), University of Florida
Dr. Moshe Flaishman, Researcher, Institute of Plant Sciences
Professor Menachem Moshelion, Hebrew University

Day 3 – November 18, 8:00-11:30AM: Drones, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence

8:00-9:00 AM EST: Current State and Future State of Robotics/Drones/AI in Florida’s Agriculture Industry

Moderated by: Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis, Assistant Professor, Precision Agriculture Engineering, University of Florida
Dr. Aditya Singh, Assistant Professor, Hyperspecral and Hypertemporal Remote Sensing, University of Florida

Panel Discussion: Dr. Elizabeth Malek, Crop Protection Manager, Lipman Family Farms
Timothee Sallin, Co-CEO, IMG Enterprises
Shannon O’Malley, Founder & CEO, Brick Street Farms
Robert Pitzer, CTO, Chief Engineer, Harvest CROO Robotics
Joby Sherrod, Director of Grove Operations, Duda & Sons, Inc.


9:00-10:00 AM EST: Presentations by Israeli Robotics/Drones/AI Companies

Moderated by: Bob Grossman, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig

Israeli Companies: AgrintArugga AI FarmingBeewiseMetomotionMyCrops Technologies LtdSaturasSkyx 

10:30-11:30AM EST: Robotics/Drones/AI Research Roundtable Discussion

Moderated by: Dr. Kati Migliaccio, Chair and Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida

Panel Discussion: Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis, Precision Agriculture Engineering, University of Florida
Dr. Aditya Singh, Assistant Professor, Hyperspectral and Hypertemporal Remote Sensing, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida
Ido Bar-Av, Chief Agronomist, Agro-scout
Dr. Ittai Herrmann, Senior Lecturer, Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, Hebrew University

Day 4 – November 19, 9:00-11:30AM: Summit Wrap Up & Funding Opportunities 

9:00-10:00 AM EST: Innovation to Address COVID Challenges in the Agriculture Industry, presented in partnership by the General Consulate of Israel in Miami and Holland & Knight

Moderated by: Meital Stavinsky, Member of Holland & Knight’s Public Policy & Regulation Group and Co-Chair of the firm’s Israel Practice

Speakers: Galit Peleg, Interim General Consul of Israel in Miami
Kent Shoemaker, CEO, Lipman Family Farms
Naty Barak, Senior Advisor and Chief Sustainability Officer Emeritus, Netafim

Yemel Ortega, Marketing and Strategy Leader, ADAMA

10:15-11:15AM EST: Funding Opportunities and Sources for Florida and Israeli Companies in Florida

Moderated by: Pam Miniati, Co-Executive Director, FIBA

Speakers: Yoram Kapulnik, Executive Director, The U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD)
Tony Gannon, Vice President, Research & Innovation, Space Florida
Nofar Hamrany, International Collaboration Manager, Israel Innovation Authority (IIA)

Sarai Kemp, Vice President, Business Development, Trendlines Agrifood
Damian Adams, Interim Associate Dean for Research, University of Florida/IFAS

11:15-11:30AM EST: Closing Remarks and Next Steps

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