Grow-California announced that 14 California agricultural businesses have been chosen as the 2011 "Game Changers of the Year" in Agriculture Innovation.  The award winners -- a combination of agribusinesses, agricultural technology companies, university initiatives and innovative nonprofit programs -- will be recognized by California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross at a luncheon during the inaugural California Agriculture Innovation Conference scheduled for July 20-21 at UC Davis's Freeborn Hall.  

The California Agriculture Innovation Conference marks the first time that the Silicon Valley will be focusing on the Central Valley and beyond for potential investment opportunities within the state's agricultural industry to help ag entrepreneurs grow and develop while at the same time creating new companies and jobs which will help rebuild the economy.  Conference organizers believe that by bringing the venture capital community together with the agricultural community, there will be tremendous potential to create an innovative technology hub for agriculture in the Central Valley as was done in the Silicon Valley for high tech, which will spawn new ag-related companies, jobs and economic activity throughout California.  This conference is a vitally important step in maintaining California's leading role as the world's premier provider of food and fiber.

The 14 California "Game Changers" in Agriculture Innovation were chosen from 300 original nominees and 100 finalists.  The final choices were made by a selection committee comprised of representatives from investment banks, venture capital funds, academia and the California agriculture industry.  

The 2011 Game Changers are:

"The California 'Game Changers of the Year' in Agriculture Innovation represent the best of the best in our state for the tremendous impact they have had on the agricultural industry through their innovations and positive impact on the state's economy," said Jon Gregory, Grow-California CEO.  He added, "Despite the sustained economic challenges facing many industries, agriculture continues to be the backbone of California's economy and it has many companies that are thriving.  We are pleased to be able to recognize these innovative companies, university initiatives and innovative nonprofit programs who are doing fabulous work to continue to advance agriculture and its ability to feed the world's population."

Grow-California represents a private sector driven approach to foster jobs and wealth creation in California by connecting entrepreneurs, growth companies and market leaders with capital, talent and customers.  To register for, the Agriculture Innovation conference, visit http://www.grow-california.com/register-now/.