Insights and Inspiration from ExtendAg’s Annual Team Meeting 

team photo

 

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of bringing the ExtendAg team together for our annual in-person meeting. This year, we chose Lodi in the heart of California’s Central Valley, a region celebrated not just for its wine grapes but also for its diverse crops like almonds, walnuts, cherries, apples, olives, and various stone fruits. This area doesn’t just produce some of the finest crops; it’s also the region that many of our employees and customers call home, making it the perfect setting for our gathering. 

Reflecting on the two days we spent together, from the insightful leadership presentations to the engaging group activities and social gatherings, three key themes stood out to me. 

 

First, we celebrated the major milestones that highlighted our growth in both our business and team over the past year, all reinforcing the positive momentum towards our mission to provide mission-critical technology to the most important industry in the world. After coming together as a team for this meeting, it’s even clearer to me that our understanding of the fruit and vegetable crop supply chain and strong customer relationships position us well to not only achieve but surpass our strategic objectives. 

 

meeting kick-off

 

Continuous Improvement 

Continuous improvement is fundamental to our culture at ExtendAg and this was very apparent throughout the two days. Through the workshops and presentations, we emphasized the importance of embracing new technologies, refining our processes, and fostering a culture of learning and adaptability. The focus on leveraging data more effectively and addressing areas for improvement in our solutions and processes underscored our dedication to leading the industry, not just keeping pace with it. 

 

continuous improvement

 

Team Building & Collaboration 

The team building and collaboration activities over the two days were particularly memorable for me. Our discussions on industry challenges and the exchange of innovative ideas showcased our collective creativity and commitment. “The survival simulation game didn’t just bring us closer; it sharpened our problem-solving skills in the most unexpected ways,” reflected one of our team members. 

 

team collaboration
team collaboration
team collaboration

But the most important part of these annual meetings is the time we spend together outside of the meeting room. This year, we planned a special team building afternoon with an olive oil and wine tasting trolley tour, a unique opportunity that allowed our team members to connect on a personal level in a relaxed and informal setting.

 

Trolley team photo
Trolley driver

 

We boarded the trolley at our hotel with our friendly driver, embarking on a journey that took us through the scenic landscapes of Lodi’s renowned agricultural region. Our first stop was at Calivines Winery & Olive Mill, a boutique olive grove and vineyard, where we learned directly from the family that founded and runs the mill about their story, the intricacies of growing olives for olive oil and the meticulous oil production process. As ag industry professionals, learning about olive growing and olive oil production was right up our alley.

 

Calavines, Lodi, CA

 

We tasted a variety of different olive oils and blends, gaining an appreciation for the craft and the nuances that make each flavor unique. The tasting experience then transitioned from olive oils to wines, giving us a chance to enjoy a curated selection of Calivines’ finest wines. 

 

Trolley

 

We hopped back on the trolley at Calivines and made our way to M2 Winery to continue our wine tasing journey. We were greeted by the knowledgeable staff and a local sparkling wine welcome drink. In a very relaxed, informal setting, we tasted a variety of wines from the Lodi region, even a couple that weren’t on the curated tasting menu. It was a fun experience that gave us the pleasure of enjoying local wines but also socializing in an informal setting, enhancing the sense of camaraderie among the team. 

 

M2 Winery, Lodi, CA

 

One employee commented on how the experience made them feel more connected with the rest of the team and created strong bonds that will only strengthen their work together. “The olive oil and wine tasting tour was a fantastic way to learn, unwind, and bond with my colleagues. I feel a deeper connection with the team, and I believe these bonds will enhance our collaboration and productivity.” 

 

M2 Winery, Lodi, CA

 

This great afternoon brought our team together in a way that formal meetings and presentations cannot. It underscored the importance of building relationships and fostering a sense of community within the team, a critical component of our success at ExtendAg. We returned from the tour with not just a deeper appreciation for Lodi’s olive oil and wine but also for each other, ready to tackle the challenges ahead with renewed energy and unity. 

 

trolley in vinyard

 

We concluded with a five-course Italian dinner at a local restaurant, the perfect finale to our highly productive and enjoyable day.

 

ExtendAg team dinner

 

A Commitment to Community 

Before concluding our second day together, our team donated canned produce to a local Lodi food bank. This initiative reflects a genuine commitment to community well-being and is an expression of our broader responsibility to use our capabilities for the greater good, ensuring our actions foster real change. 

 

Lodi food drive donation team photo

 

One team member shared with me that, “Donating to the Lodi food bank as a team reminded me of the importance of giving back and making a positive impact together. It feels good to see our collective efforts make a real difference in the community.” 

 

Lodi food drive donation

 

Looking Forward 

As a team, we’re excited by the prospects for growth, innovation, and lasting impact in agriculture. As I shared in my presentation, “We’re here to make a significant mark on the most Important industry in the world. Otherwise, why else would we be here?” This sentiment echoed throughout the event and reflects our journey—one characterized by resiliency, entrepreneurship, and a commitment to customer excellence.

ExtendAg is more than just an ag tech company; we’re a community of thinkers, innovators, and visionaries, united in our mission to enhance the world’s most important industry. Here’s to another year of growth, learning, and success! 

ExtendAg: Leading the Future of the Fruit and Vegetable Crop Supply Chain

Author: John Roos, General Manager, ExtendAg

As we continue our journey into 2024, I’d like to reflect on ExtendAg’s evolution and look ahead to the priorities that are on our radar this year and beyond.  

Since joining ExtendAg in early 2023, my focus has been on leveraging the strong foundation the company has established over the past 45 years. Our commitment remains steadfast: to collaborate closely with fruit and vegetable crop processors, driving innovation and streamlining the efficiency of the supply chain. We believe our success hinges not only on innovation, but also on our ability to excel in operational execution, delivering and supporting mission critical solutions processors rely on.  

Our Evolution to Industry Leadership  

Together, with our customers, we’ve designed and built vertical solutions tailored to meet the unique demands of the raw product supply chain. Our commitment to becoming an industry leader has always been about addressing the needs of processors who rely on technological advancements to scale and increase profitability.  

As we look to the future, our focus remains on exceeding our customers’ expectations while tackling several key challenges that are critical to enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of the world’s most important industry.  

Innovating Supply Chain Forecasting and Management 

We’re working towards addressing the intricate challenges of supply chain forecasting and management. In the agriculture industry, achieving a comprehensive understanding and control over supply chain activities from planning to harvest is crucial. Our efforts are focused on enhancing the ability of businesses to navigate these complexities with greater precision and foresight.  

Championing Environmental Sustainability 

Sustainability has emerged as a significant priority in the agriculture industry. Our initiatives are geared towards understanding the needs of processors and developing solutions that will empower processors to manage sustainability practices effectively. This includes, but is not limited to, exploring opportunities to improve the capture, management, and reporting of sustainable practices to meet regulatory standards and consumer expectations for environmental stewardship. 

Embracing Digital Transformation 

We’re investing in advancing our technological foundation to ensure that our solutions are robust, scalable, and accessible on a global scale on a cloud platform that supports our commitment to continuous innovation in analytics, mobile applications, document management, API integrations, and more. These investments support food processers on their own digital transformation journeys, enabling them to leverage technology to further increase efficiency in their organizations. 

As we move forward into 2024 and beyond, ExtendAg is passionate about transforming the fruit and vegetable crop supply chain. Our dedication to innovation, sustainability, and technology sets us on a path to redefine the future of agriculture.  

Join Us

We invite you to join us in the journey towards a more efficient and sustainable future for the agriculture industry. Follow us, share your thoughts, and be part of the evolution.