2018 Virginia Smart Farming Conference

CEA in Indoor and Vertical Farms

Chris Higgins

Hort Americas, Fort Worth TX

Evaluating LED Technologies for Commercial Operations

As General Manager at Hort Americas, LLC, Chris is a leader in providing technical assistance to businesses, including commercial greenhouse operations, state–of–the–art hydroponic vegetable facilities, vertical farms, and tissue culture laboratories. Chris’ role includes everything from sales and marketing to technical support and general management/owner responsibilities. His talk will focus on using LED technologies in commercial vertical farming operations.


Neil Mattson, Ph.D.

Cornell University, Ithaca NY

Energy Use, Economics & Niches for Vertical Farms

Neil S. Mattson director of the Cornell Controlled Environment Agriculture group. Neil is the project director of a recently awarded $2.4 million NSF grant to evaluate how CEA compares to field production in terms of energy use, carbon and water footprints, and profitability. Neil is a prolific writer and frequent speaker on greenhouse and vertical farm food production. Today, he will speak about the preliminary economics findings of his NSF grant with examples of niche markets profitably filled by vertical farms, along with his work with energy modeling in vertical farms and greenhouses.


Daniel Caccavelli

IALR, Danville, VA

Computer Vision Technology in Vertical Farming

Daniel graduated from Averett University in Danville, VA with a triple major in Mathematics, Biomedicine, and Computer Science. Specializing in coding and computer vision, Daniel leads the development of the robotic Smart Table imaging systems at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. The robotic tables, fitted with various cameras and sensors, are able to precisely quantify plant growth and development under a variety of experimental conditions.


FAQ On Farm Food Safety