Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Panetta Institute of Public Policy, Will Keynote the Salinas Biological Summit

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Chairman of the Panetta Institute of Public Policy, will deliver the keynote address at the Salinas Biological Summit, speaking on the topic of food security and innovation. Registration is now open to attend the event, which will be held June 20-21, 2023 at CSU Monterey Bay’s Salinas City Center.

Co-presented by Western Growers and New Zealand-based agrifood tech consultancy Wharf42, the 2023 Salinas Biological Summit will provide an opportunity for growers to increase their awareness of available biological solutions to address their soil and plant needs, as well as a chance for agricultural businesses to learn about the disruptive science and start-up activity led by innovators in the crop protection space.

“We are honored and pleased that Secretary Panetta will be joining us as the keynote speaker for the Salinas Biological Summit,” said Dennis Donohue, Executive Director of the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology. “His focus on food security, innovation and the value of global collaboration by the ag sector underscores the importance of the WG biological initiative.”

Unanimously confirmed in 2011 by the U.S. Senate as the 23rd Secretary of Defense,  Panetta has had a 50-year career in public service at the highest levels of government.  As Secretary of Defense, he established a new defense strategy and expanded service opportunities for women and others regardless of race, creed, color or gender.  As Director of the CIA, he successfully led the operation that brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

Panetta began his public service career in 1964 as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, receiving the Army Commendation Medal, and then served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Tom Kuchel.  In 1969, he was appointed Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, where he was responsible for enforcing equal education laws.

Elected to Congress in 1976, Panetta represented the California Central Coast district for 16 years and created the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. In 1993, he was sworn in as Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for the Clinton administration and later was appointed White House chief of staff, working to achieve a balanced federal budget.

In 1997, Panetta returned to his home town of Monterey to establish and co-direct The Panetta Institute for Public Policy, a non-partisan, not-for-profit study center that seeks to inspire men and women to lives of public service.

Additional speakers at the Salinas Biological Summit include Dave Puglia, President & CEO of Western Growers; Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; Julie Henderson, Director, California Department of Pesticide Regulation; Don Cameron, Vice President and General Manager of Terranova Ranch; Pam Marrone, CEO and Founder, Chestnut Bio Advisors; and Scott Kumar, SVP of Global R&D at Driscoll’s.

Hotel accommodations and the agenda for the Salinas Biological Summit can be found here. Accredited members of the press can register for free by clicking here.

About Western Growers:

Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Western Growers’ members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including half of America’s fresh organic produce. Connect and learn more about Western Growers on Twitter and Facebook.

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