Info

Future of Agriculture

Welcome to the Future of Agriculture Podcast with Tim Hammerich. This show explores the people, companies, and ideas shaping the future of agribusiness. If you are curious about innovations in AgTech, rural entrepreneurship, agricultural sustainability, and food security, this is the show for you! For more details on the guests featured on this show, visit the blog at www.FutureOfAg.com. Or, to learn more about career opportunities in agriculture, visit www.AgGrad.com Make sure you’re subscribed so you can catch another fascinating ag innovator next week!
RSS Feed
Future of Agriculture
2020
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: 2020
Jul 29, 2020

What does a more distributed regionalized or even localized food system look like at scale? How can producers capture more of the value of that type of food system? What is the right type of investor to help fuel that sort of system?

Stephen Hohenrieder spent his early career in capital markets and has an agricultural background. Stephen now works for family offices. These are investment entities that invest on behalf of a single-family. In this episode, we talk about investing in regenerative agriculture, what a distributed food system looks like and how the family office investor can be a great fit for making these ambitions a reality. Stephen began by combining different food source experiences in Hawaii to support his regenerative agriculture goals through investment.

 

“The goal was to develop a perspective on each of these different areas of food and then use my background in investing to deploy capital in ways that would support a regenerative food system that I hope to be a part of.” - Stephen Hohenrieder

 

The investment profile of a family office and the amount of risk they are willing to undertake varies between each family office. His mission is to “figure out how we could steward the vision of that operation into the future and bring in aligned capital that had a very long term perspective.”

 

“As I explored this thesis for how I believe our food system is evolving and really increasingly being redefined by fragmentation after a period of consolidation and centralization, I have focused on four pillars that are really authenticity, connection, traceability and transparency.” - Stephen Hohenrieder

 

In many of Stephen’s investments he looks to not only add value to the food chain process but also the farm itself. Stephen believes people are “reconnecting with the source of their food” leading to a consumer driven cultural shift for producers. Consumers are now more interested in connecting with a set of values than a third party certification and producers are needing to communicate these inherent values to gain consumer loyalty.

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Stephen Hohenrieder, an investor supporting regenerative agriculture
  • Explore how he views the cultural shifts in the supply chain
  • Learn about where he sees the future of the agriculture industry heading

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

Jul 22, 2020

What are the barriers to customer acquisition for agribusiness and agri tech companies? In10nt is a company that attempts to answer that question and bridge the gap between company and farmer. They focus on being able to create trials at the farm level to introduce a product and allow farmers to find the best fit for their operations.

Dan Poston is the Director of Agronomy for Pivot Bio. Sean Blomgren is a fourth-generation family farmer from Iowa and is the owner of Blomgren Seed. Both Dan and Sean join us to discuss the complicated process of developing, establishing, and managing an on-farm trial that will demonstrate the potential of a certain product's performance.

 

“We’re constantly thinking about how you test those products, where you test those products, and how close to the customer you get from a testing perspective…..We really want to have that footprint and that experience on a farmer field before we feel comfortable delivering to the customer.” - Dan Poston

 

Statistical analysis results in a specific number of trials in a specific size that will be needed to create confident data in regards to the product. Developing the plan is only step one. The logistics of shipping can be a very complicated process. The product needs to arrive at farmers in prime condition and be able to be maintained by them in order to develop the most valuable results. Farmers are then responsible for using the new product in an appropriate manner. A lot of thought is put into a protocol that is most “meaningful” in order to optimize for the most success. Sampling can also create variation in results and is therefore orchestrated. All of these facets have to come together to give the trial the best chance at being successful.

 

“I promise you there’ve been some great products that have gone through our farm that hasn't tested well because we didn’t build a proper test…. That should be products we’re using today but because we didn’t test them in the right way, we didn’t have the ability to understand what we should or shouldn’t do with them.” - Sean Blomgren

 

“It’s amazing how when it’s done right, the information is so valuable and how hard it is to get to that” shares Sean. “I think that is the great gap you have to get across with biological products, is just seeing them vetted out over a large enough area” shares Dan. A third party like In10nt allows companies to work with farmers to create the best planned and managed trial to find the best success. In10nts execution gives you the best opportunity for customer acquisition.

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Dan Poston a Director of Agronomy for Pivot Bio that understands the value of a farm-based trial
  • Also meet Sean Blomgren, a producer who has benefited from well-executed trials
  • Explore the difficulty in introducing these products to new producers
  • Discover how In10nt manages that process to better serve their clients

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

Jul 15, 2020

Danette Amstein and Michael Uetz are the Principles and Co-Founders of Midan Marketing. Their focus is on being a full-service marketing firm for the meat industry. Both Danette and Michael grew up in agriculture and worked in the National Cattlemen's Beef Association prior to founding Midan Marketing.. Michael specifically worked on identifying “what is the consumer looking for and how do we be responsive to their needs.” They joined forces to create Midan Marketing and further pursue closing the gap between producer and consumer. 

“We are working to help our clients rise above all of the clutter that’s in the marketplace, above all the noise so that they can match their products with the consumers out there that are interested in it.” - Danette Amstein

Both Danette and Michael credit a lot of their success to having created and curated a good team of people. The team of Midan Marketing is made up of not only marketing specialists but also a staff that are actively farming and therefore better able to relate to their clients.The indicators they focus on is to “hire humble, hungry and smart.” This has developed into the best system they have found to support the culture they want to foster within the company. 

“Our hiring process is long. It isn’t a one and done interview. It’s multiple interviews with multiple people…..so we’re investing heavily in a team member before they’re able to be productive.” - Danette Amstein

They encourage their clients to find their niche and specialization in order to target a specific segment of consumers to grow trust and lead to loyalty. Midan Marketing acknowledges the dynamic evolution of the consumers and their buying habits. They have performed and evaluated studies to go beyond basic metrics for a consumer in order to better identify the best way to communicate and connect with them. 

“We not only look at them from a demographics perspective, but we ask them about their attitudes, their perceptions, their behaviors and ultimately what drives them to purchase.” - Michael Uetz

In the time of Covid-19, their models and strategies have had to be adjusted to better facilitate communication with consumers in an uncertain environment.They have observed “almost chaos with (the) consumer base” leading to changes in behavior and buying habits. They encourage producers at any point in the food supply chain to pay attention to consumer research.

“We all have to pay attention to the consumer and their crazy whims as they have them because that’s ultimately where the paycheck comes from.” Danette Amstein

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Midan Marketing Co-Founders Danette Amstein and Michael Uetz
  • Explore the value of understanding consumer buying products at every level of meat production
  • Learn about the impact Covid-19 has had on the agriculture marketing industry

Founder Spotlight: Jordan Phasey of Phinite

  • Phinite prevents water pollution and provides another revenue source for farmers in the place of persistent expense regarding manure management
  • Currently, most farmers spend money to manage their manure disposal, especially on hog farms due to long drying processes and an ever increasing supply
  • Through a natural process generated by the creation of a controlled wetland, the manure is dried and converted into a marketable concentrated fertilizer

“We’ve been able to reduce the cost of drying pig manure by more than 90%. Operation of the system is simple. The farmer pumps waste out of the lagoon and into the wetland. The wetland itself has no moving parts and instead plants in the system grow their roots out through the material and dry it out naturally…..the final material is suitable for marketing directly as fertilizer”

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter 

AgGrad on Facebook 

AgGrad on LinkedIn 

AgGrad on Instagram 



Jul 8, 2020

The Story of CoverCress isn’t just as straightforward as bringing a new crop to the market. Their ambitions also represent a new feed, a new cover crop, genetic engineering, a low carbon intensity feedstock and a new revenue source for farmers among others. Fulcrum Global Capital saw the potential in CoverCress and return to the show this week to share the excitement surrounding this company. If you missed episode 208 where we first introduced Fulcrum Global be sure to go listen to it. The CoverCress new crop will not compete with current midwestern crops and should provide farmers with a new marketable product.

 

“They’re going to create this new revenue source for the midwestern farmer. It’s going to go in on the corn soy rotation and you’re going to get the traditional cover crop benefits of which there are numerous but you’re going to get increased profitability.” - John Peryam, Venture Partner and General Counsel for Fulcrum Global

 

Fulcrum Managing Partner, Duane Cantrell, shares that this new product will “change the economic dynamic” for the farmer. “There are multiple pathways of product lines there” including oil for cooking and bio-based fuels and a seed crop that can be used as a high protein meal for feed additives.

 

“We have built this business off of I’ll call it the chassis of the native plant, pennycress. But because we have used genome editing to improve the quality, both with oil and the meal, it's a little different crop when we’re done. That's what we call CoverCress. - Jerry Steiner, CEO of CoverCress

 

CoverCress has the advantage of having a better grain than the agronomy and quality of its pennycress counterpart. The CoverCress “business plan is based on having really a partnership on both ends. One end with the farmer and another end with the end user” according to Jerry Steiner. CoverCress will provide the seed to the farmer creating a low barrier to entry in planting the crop. The company will then gain its revenue when the final grain product is delivered and also when it is processed into oil.

 

Jerry Steiner highlights the fact that CoverCress is taking a plant that is currently considered a weed and is converting it into a profitable crop with added cover crop benefits. CoverCress is considered a product of gene editing using natural occurring genes which in the United States differentiates this crop from GMOs. CoverCress is still in the research phase. The company is really “focused on getting a product that is well-tested before” it is released. This includes a well-tested process for the farmer and process for creating the end product.They expect to have their first commercial planting in the fall of 2021.

 

“We’re trying to use land the farmer already owns or operates, just use it at the time of year when they’re not trying to use it. And we want to have the farmer use equipment, whether its planting or harvesting, that they already have. We want to partner with people who already have existing grain handling and crushing assets for other oils seeds…..so it's kind of taking existing assets and just getting more out of them.” - Jerry Steiner, CEO of CoverCress

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Learn about CoverCress, a new crop being developed to create a new revenue source for midwestern farmers
  • Discover the research and benefit to using CoverCress without it competing with any existing crops
  • Meet Jerry Steiner, CEO of CoverCress, and hear about the unique opportunity CoverCress can offer farmers using existing equipment and available planting times

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 1, 2020

In recent months societies magnifying glass has been held over the existence of systemic racial inequality. It shouldn’t be surprising then, that that conversation can easily be carried on into the agriculture industry. Bryana Clover advocates for racial equality in the workplace as a consultant to companies. Bryana is biracial and through her experiences in agribusiness has found an “intense passion for creating brave spaces to have tough conversations around race in the workplace.”

 

“I truly believe that our future depends on us bringing that lens into our diversity inclusion initiatives and really better understanding what we can do as organizations to create inclusive environments for black people and people of color.” - Bryana Clover

 

Bryana helps identify what systemic racism may look like in both agribusiness and agriculture production. She highlights the lack of diversity at the CEO level in the vast majority of companies. She offers these tips towards addressing what an individual can do to combat racism and microaggressions in their workplace:

 

  1. Education

Education involves understanding and identifying the dynamics of racial inequality in current events. “There is a structural dynamic that’s going on that impacts every aspect of our life. And I think that understanding that is the first step.”

 

  1. Introspection

Reflecting on “racial identity and how that impacts you personally and then how that impacts the spaces that you're in” allows you to identify how you fit in the corporate culture and how that environment may be contributing to a lack of equality.

 

  1. Action

Call attention to your discoveries and observations. Be an advocate for someone who might be disenfranchised. Training at a corporate level can “facilitate conversations around this.” Bryana also suggests contributing to organizations that are supporting and promoting racial equality.

 

On a more corporate level, Bryana calls companies to put real effort and work behind the many statements that have been issued supporting racial equality. Financially supporting organizations that have the expertise and focus in creating racial equality is a great first step. Committing time and money to making sure the workplace is a safe and supported environment for all employees is needed. “This is a journey, not a destination.” Bryana has created six modules for executives and a tool kit for employees for more internal change within a business culture. Bryana’s consultancy provides assessments, plans, tools and follow up to allow companies to follow through with their commitments and initiatives.

 

“We cannot afford as individuals or as a society to do nothing anymore.…..Activism looks different for all of us. Just do the next right thing.” - Bryana Clover

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Bryana Clover, a consultant with ties to agribusiness who now addresses racial inequality in the workplace
  • Discover tips to identify how we are all apart of a cultural climate that is calling for change
  • Learn about different resources available to help your efforts.

Contact Bryana Clover on LinkedIn and visit her website to learn more about racial equality progress in agribusiness.

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 24, 2020

We do a lot of agtech episodes on this podcast, but I don’t think we’ve had one quite like this. Today’s episode is primarily focused on the area of agtech that includes site-specific agronomic tools that you’d hear referred to as variable-rate or under the umbrella of precision agriculture.

 

“The agtech industry in general looks pretty glamorous, but it’s a tough, tough business.”

 

My guest is Cory Willness, the President of CropPro Consulting, which is an agronomy consulting services firm in Western Canada, based in Naicam, Saskatchewan. Started in 2003, the company has grown to 30 employees. Along the way, Cory and his team started to develop digital tools to help them be more successful in their agronomy work. Eventually they started a separate business to offer these tools to others. That business is called Croptomistic Technology.

 

“The field never changes. The field is always the same. So when we go out to soil test, there is no crop on the field. What we’re sticking the probe into is soil. So where is the map of soil? A satellite image or yield map does not give you a map of soil. It just gives you a map of variability and you don’t know what that’s due to.”

 

Cory and I talk about the rise of the tech-enabled independent agronomist, how he decided to develop these tools and ultimately market them as a separate business, and some of his frustrations with agtech, which I think many of you will find both unconventional and enlightening.

 

 

Before we dive in though, it might help to define a couple of these technologies for context:

  • SWAT stands for Soil, Water, and Topography, and a SWAT map combines multiple layers of field data into a single map for zone management and variable-rate fertilizer and seed applications.
  • Cory created a SWAT Box, which is a box that is mounted to an ATV, truck, or piece of ag equipment and driven over the field to collect electrical conductivity and elevation data, which are necessary layers for SWAT Maps.
  • Lastly Cory is one of the founding partners of CropRecords, which is a crop consulting system for crop scouting, record keeping, making recommendations and jobs, and synchronizing all of the information between agronomy staff and farm staff. It is an essential part of implementing the SWAT Maps system.

 

“Farmers are smart people. They know their fields. They know what their problems are in any given season. They see them all the time because they’re out there all the time. If you go out there to the farm and say ‘I’ve got a specific solution that’s going to solve this problem on your farm’. They’ll try it.”

 

Cory represents to me, someone who has spent his career working directly with agronomists and farmers, who knows their needs and pain points, and who has strong opinions rooted in firsthand experience. You’ll hear some opinions and perspectives on this episode that may challenge your own when it comes to agtech, especially as it relates to precision agronomy.

 

You can find out more about CropPro and his various offerings at www.CropPro.ca. Also, he’s a great follow on Twitter @CropProCory.

 

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 17, 2020

“In a lot of ways ag’s desire to be united is the thing that divides it the most.” - Sarah Mock

 

Sarah Mock has built her career around having difficult discussions and chasing the realities of agriculture. She is committed to not being an enemy or a cheerleader of agriculture creating a more balanced, real reporting style. In a world of fake news, her journalistic integrity is most welcomed. In an attempt to not isolate any particular views, mainstream agriculture media has historically chosen to offer very little divisive content. Unfortunately for some, that has led to an overall apathy towards having difficult conversations and being willing to go out on a limb.

 

“I hear people talk about the need to walk down the middle of the road. But walking down the middle of the road means never saying anything critical about the industry. That’s like the code word in ag media a lot of the time and it's a pushback I’ve gotten from editors before.” - Sarah Mock

 

Rural journalists, while present, tend to be more rare and deal with agriculture on a national basis. As a freelance journalist, Sarah has been able to explore stories that interest her and that she feels needs to be told including more philosophical based questions to more localized topics. With no interest in avoiding difficult conversations, she strives to open up a platform for honest discussion. She remarks that there seems to be a focus on “positivity” in traditional agriculture narratives that can be detrimental to the wellbeing of those in the industry.

 

“You’re creating a misconception for people that it’s normal to be happy and positive all the time and that’s how you should want to feel. And it isn’t always the case.” - Sarah Mock

 

Sarah has given herself a personal pursuit of exploring the possibility of agriculture without exploitation. The use of “exploitation” encompasses time, money, consumers. resources, the environment and the farmers themselves. She doesn’t have an answer to that question but is determined to discover as much as possible towards formulating one. Sarah shares that “we should know the answer to that question” regardless of its outcome in order to better inform our choices. She reflects on what she has observed in agriculture media and the future it might hold.

 

“Ag got this idea in our collective brain 10 years ago that our real problem is that consumers don’t understand about agriculture and….if we could just explain to people what was happening then we wouldn’t have any problems anymore which seems like a fundamental misread of the whole situation at this point.” - Sarah Mock

 

The agriculture industry has attempted to bridge the gap between the producer and consumer by providing explanations for practices rather than addressing the specific concerns the public might have. She promotes engaging people by being open to questions and criticism alike. Sarah predicts that the future of agriculture media will be “individuals that have interesting compelling personalities and perspectives that can go straight to their audience themselves.”

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Sarah Mock, a rural journalist not afraid to take on difficult topics
  • Sarah reflects on her experiences within ag media and the shortfalls she sees occurring
  • Explore the future of ag media and marketing

Founder Spotlight: Tyler McGee of Shepherd Farming

Shepherd is a digital labor platform designed specifically for farms and agriculture operations. It allows growers to quickly see what work needs to be done on their farms for that day and to send and receive tasks from other users.”

  • Shepherd Farming aims at making farm labor and farm management more efficient by
  • Through research trials and the Ag Launch Accelerator Program their team has fine tuned what farmer’s need to best optimize their labor forces
  • They are now integrating weather data into their task lists to better schedule what needs to be done and when

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

 

Jun 10, 2020

Pristine Gourmet was formed in 2005 with the vision of supplying the food industry with quality local non-GMO artisan foods. Jason Persall owns Pristine Gourmet in Waterford, Ontario. He converted his 1000 acre strictly traditional commodity soybean farm to support the three pillars of Pristine Gourmet; heritage, passion and craftsmanship. They produce fresh and unique cooking oils for retail, restaurants and bulk ingredients. The major obstacle faced by Pristine Gourmet was finding shelf space in the supermarkets and somehow making their product stand out. Jason quickly understood that was going to be a perpetual obstacle and so chose to pursue a different strategy. Jason shares that he invested slowly and allowed his business “to grow organically.”

 

“That was kind of just the beginning of where we are now. Just starting out with chefs and realizing that that is really our focus of where our brand is going to be widely accepted. Chefs just love new products, something that’s local to them, something that has a story, that’s direct from the farm.” - Jason Persall

 

Chefs and their teams take tours of his farm and engage in the process of developing their products. The bulk ingredient supply side of their business has helped support them during the Covid Pandemic while restaurant need is reduced. They also sell their cooking oils online through their website. Their retail products include cold pressed sunflower and canola oils similar to extra virgin olive oils. The process they use allows for better taste, higher antioxidant levels and an all round better quality product. For food service clients they can also prepare hybrid fryer oils. Each oil has a different purpose in mind. The canola oil is touted as the “queen of oils” with a “very impactful” nice flavor. The soybean oil has a more mild flavor when compared to the canola oil but with additional nutty flavors. It also has the added benefit of an impressive viscosity at room temperature which lends itself to being an excellent garnish. The final oil is a sunflower oil with a light, fresh sunflower taste and has the widest range of use in the kitchen. They also produce a pumpkin seed oil typically used to enhance different flavors.

 

“That’s kind of the reason why we do the oils that we do is because they’re drastically different from each other and their applications are different….It’s really geared towards the chef.” - Jason Persall

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Jason Perall, owner of Pristine Gourmet
  • Learn about how Jason moved his commodity based farm towards artisan cooking oil production
  • Explore what makes Pristine Gourmet unique and loved by local chefs

Visit PristineGourmet.com to order your cooking oil direct from the farm!

 

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 3, 2020

Fulcrum Global Capital is a venture capital firm focused on global food production. Traditional row crop agriculture, production animal health and agriculture technology are the main interests of their investment thesis. They often find themselves investing in early stage companies that are “not only early stage in terms of a company’s life cycle, but early in terms of where the technology falls in the value chain of the food production.”

 

When they initially heard the pitch by P&P Optica Founder Olga Pawluczyk they were impressed. 16 months later they made their investment. P&P Optica addresses “challenges such as the $4 billion annual loss that takes place in the food processing space around foreign material detection.”

 

“Where we see the long term vision of this company (P&P Optica), is really becoming a data company. The more units a customer will have, call it a Tyson or a Maple Leaf (for example). The more that they have, the more DATA we are able to provide them to make decisions.” - Kevin Lockett, Fulcrum Global Capital

 

This results in catching foreign material at a “much higher rate and at a much smaller size.” The origin of P&P Optica was not in food processing but rather in lens development for detection of different particles in the oil industry. When the oil industry suffered, an opportunity presented to identify fat content in meat. This opened the door to using their detection technology in food production.

 

“If you look at what are the important aspects of food production; you want safety, you want quality and you want to produce exactly what you need to produce.” - Olga Pawluczyk, P&P Optica

“The estimated costs of a single recall is about $10 million on average” in product loss and is commonly compounded by brand damage. Plants will process “hundreds of thousands of pounds” of meat per day so inspecting each piece of meat for safety and quality can be difficult to do thoroughly at that pace.

“So if we can take a step back and look at it with technology that sees chemical composition and can see the gradation of the cells, how all the cells are, how much water there is, what type of protein, and what type of fat; that information can translate into the quality and therefore can sort every single piece on the line.” - Olga Pawluczyk, P&P Optica

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Fulcrum Global Capital as they share their philosophy and some of the companies they have been able to invest in
  • Meet Olga Pawluczyk of https://ppo.ca/about-ppo/P&P Optica and learn about the innovations her company is creating and the impact it will have on food production

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

May 27, 2020

Playing with puppies and kittens most of the day and selflessly saving any and all helpless animals in between are the common perception of being a veterinarian that many people pictured as a child. James Herriot painted a beloved picture of adventure and fun that many fell in love with. I’d be remiss to admit that occasionally this does describe the job but unfortunately, the more common reality faced by veterinarians is a lot less rosy. 

 

Dr. Judson Vasconcelos is the head of the Veterinary and Consumer Affairs Team at Merck Animal Health. Merck has committed to performing a study in US veterinarians every few years “to monitor wellbeing and mental health of US veterinarians.” Having practiced as a veterinarian for years in Brazil, Dr. Vasconcelos can not only share the most recent study that illustrates the struggle many veterinarians are facing but also relates to them through his own experiences.

 

“We want to have a good idea of what’s going on with veterinarians based on the trends that we’ve seen in the past. We want to have a good understanding of wellbeing and where they are from a mental health standpoint. We want to benchmark some of (that) data with some of the findings from other scientists...” - Dr. Judson Vasconcelos

 

Through a partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), they were able to analyze 3000 answers from a survey sent out to practicing veterinarians in the United States. This comprehensive survey illustrated many different concerns, however, the team was able to identify three main concerns affecting the veterinary profession today and have labeled them the “Three S’s.”

 

 

  • Stress
  • Student Debt
  • Suicide Rate

 

 

These three main issues all contribute to a multifactorial result of reduced quality of life and low job satisfaction for veterinary professionals. Factors like a poor work-life balance and high expectations of customers magnify the gravity and significance of the Three S’s. Surprisingly to most, “52% of the veterinarians do not recommend the profession.” Reasons such as debt, low salary, stress, and difficult clients are all cited as causes for this finding. Veterinarians are 2.7 times more likely to attempt suicide, a number which is significantly higher than their human medicine counterparts. However, identifying these concerns is only useful if something is done to ease the burden they present.

May 20, 2020

Blockchain. A word that has been overhyped and yet still becoming more realized every day. Bridie Ohlsson joins us and is the Founder of Geora, a protocol for blockchain applications in agriculture. Bridie’s career with blockchain began with AgriDigital when the world was discovering and getting excited about the potential applications of blockchain. Bridie shares what the goals of any blockchain company were at that time.

 

“So you needed to be kind of an open and fairly non-competitive technology to encourage people to come in and experiment and work together and integrate their systems and share data.” - Bridie Ohlsson

 

Where AgriDigital provided access to blockchain for producers, Geora was formed to build on that and provide the next step. Geora’s protocol has isolated what data needs to be retained on blockchain and what data while significant to have for logistical reasons does not need to be tied to the product on blockchain. Bridie describes Geora as an “infrastructure” where they “work out where there’s a valuable data point.”

 

“We’re really trying to build tools, digital tools, that are really useful for ag so there is adoption...” - Bridie Ohlsson

 

Bridie expects that these “data rich assets” will lead to financial gain for producers. At the moment her company is trying “to get a really solid base of digital record keeping systems.” She admits that blockchain is not necessary to acquire that data but if the goal is to monetize that data then blockchain will be needed, so the technology is being employed now. This will ultimately provide another avenue for people or companies to invest in agriculture with real time access to the farmer’s data and all to the farmer’s benefit. The farmer will have absolute control over their data and how and when it is shared. This focus on agriculture amplifies the impact the protocol can have for its participants.

 

“If we can get participants who work in similar spaces, they’re going to generate value for each other quicker, which is a good test of the network effect and the network value.” Bridie Ohlsson.

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Bridie Ohlsson, founder of Geora, a blockchain protocol company
  • Explore the next steps being taken in blockchain and what they may mean for the industry
  • Learn about some of the financial implications of blockchain  

 

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

May 13, 2020

We are going back to the farm today. Zach Johnson, the YouTuber Minnesota Millennial Farmer and Mitchell Hora, farmer and founder of Continuum Ag, join us today. These two co-host the Fieldwork Podcast, “a podcast for farmers, from farmers.” Fieldwork Podcast focuses on sustainable farming practices, their environmental impact and how to make them profitable. For Mitchell, Continuum Ag specifically supplies health data analytics and does consulting for farmers. Mitchell and Zach farm 500 miles apart but find common ground in adopting soil health principles and are enjoying the opportunity to share that with other farmers.

 

“I think everybody has the opportunity to improve. I think it’s just more so looking outside of the box and looking holistically, but there’s a lot of ways to do this.” - Mitchell Hora

 

Mitchell draws attention to the fact that being more sustainable can involve different applications of soil health protocols on different operations. This isn’t a call for “one size fits all” in farming. He highlights impacting the carbon footprint in agriculture, water quality, water use, and nutrient density to name a few options to focus on.The Fieldwork Podcast’s goal is to “utilize some of these other agronomic sustainable type principles to be more profitable.” Mitchell is very clear that any changes need to “drive profitability” and be a sound “business decision.” Zach discusses that one barrier to fully adopting all of these soil health practices rapidly on his farm has been the amount of moisture and weather conditions in Minnesota. His dad attempted some no-till in the 1980’s but didn’t find success at that time.

 

“I think now we understand more about the soil. We have better technology, maybe better machinery to try to understand really what it is we’re doing and try to achieve those results.” - Zach Johnson

 

Zach is excited to start trying some new soil health practices including cover crops but admittedly hasn’t found the opportunity yet. Both Zach and Mitchell discuss how difficult it can be to initiate new practices and wait for the results to become evident. This is why ultimately every decision they make is backed by increasing profitability and making their farm as successful as it can be both for the environment and for themselves.

 

“(Fieldwork Podcast) is a great educational tool for farmers and for non-farmers to learn and to support each other and to realize and understand that it isn’t so easy and we’re all trying to figure this out to make sure that we move forward progressively.” - Zach Johnson

 

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Mitchell Hora, farmer and co-founder of https://continuum.ag Continuum Ag
  • Meet Zach Johnson, the Minnesota Millennial Farmer
  • Learn about their podcast Fieldwork Podcast in which they explore improving soil health practices with the bottom line in mind
  • Hear about Zach’s experiences with Youtube notoriety and the impact it is having on his audience

Founder Spotlight: Luke Silinski

  • Founder of Agtech Steam
  • Luke’s mission is to help other rural kids get interested in coding and provide them with resources so that they can develop their skills in a practical way
  • Specific content is sent that would appeal to young learners and their interests
  • Luke encourages anyone who wants to learn to code to take it slow, find a game or program you are interested in and explore.

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

May 6, 2020

Kellee James joins us today to discuss what it takes to build a platform as co-founder and CEO of Mercaris, a market information service and online trading platform for identity preserved agricultural commodities.

 

“We’re a market data and information service. We are also an online trading platform but we have chosen to focus on a specific part of the ag supply chain, and that is identity preserved ag commodities.” - Kellee James

 

Mercaris provides price discovery while allowing customers a procurement tool within a very specific field in agriculture through trades and auctions. Only 15% of their revenue is derived from trading fees. Most of their revenue comes from the sale of data. There is very limited tracking in imports and exports with these specific commodities so creating a data marketplace creates real advantage for their customers as well as a way to connect with vendors who may be interested in their products.

 

“You’ve got to establish yourself as the marketplace. So getting out ahead of others that are trying to do the same thing, I think is important.” - Kellee James

 

Kellee didn’t grow up on a farm. Her family is originally from New York but she fell in love with agriculture and pursued that industry in college. She found an opportunity when she learned that farmers could sell credits based on environmentally friendly practices.

 

“I was hooked. It was a way to provide real dollars in the pockets of producers who were undertaking something that had an environmental benefit. I liked the appeal of using a market mechanism to put a price and a value on something that we all need in society.” - Kellee James

 

Kellee highlights that the goal in these marketplaces is not to spend the most money to reduce emissions. The measure of success is to create an environment of supply and demand so that the “market finds the lowest cost reductions.” But how do we get so many different sectors on board and what incentivizes them to carry through with their promises?

 

“It’s a tough problem for humanity because it does require collective action and last time I looked, collective action is still best accomplished by the federal government.” - Kellee James

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Kellee James, CEO and co-founder of Mercaris
  • Explore what the Mercaris platform looks like and what it means for its customers
  • Learn about the structure behind commodity markets and what it takes to create one

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

Apr 29, 2020

What affect will animal genomics have on the future of agriculture? Dr Jesse Hoff from Gencove joins us today to explain the advantages assessing livestock genomics can offer. Gencove performs genetic sequencing providing half of the animal’s genome. This allows for an avenue to assess the genetic potential of any animal for a breeding program in a rapid, efficient, affordable fashion.

 

“What we’re trying to capture is what we call the genetic value or sometimes the breeding value of that bull. And that really describes very purely, the genetic component of who they are.” - Dr. Jesse Hoff

 

Dr. Hoff explains that the genetic value encompasses their “genetic contributions on average to their offspring.” In the dairy industry you might focus on milk production or in beef cattle, the marbling, but neither of those things can be assessed in a bull without evaluating the production or carcass of their offspring.

 

“Using that genetic data really takes quite a bit of risk out of the process of buying a bull or using new semen from a new AI stud or retaining heifers in our population. So we don’t need surprises of open animals. We don’t need surprises of animals that don’t perform well.” Dr. Jesse Hoff

 

Studying the animal's genomics can answer that question as soon as the bull is born, saving time in selection and feeding. It is rare to find any elite bulls that haven’t had some genotyping technology used on them. Previous genomic processes assess 10-50,000 positions in a genome. Gencove’s sequencing technology provides 10’s of millions of sites.

 

“We’ve been able to get a great running start in animal genetics and breeding by defining these marker panels and helping us understand an elite and a core population in a well-defined way.” - Dr Jesse Hoff

 

As more datasets accumulate with more testing Dr. Hoff sees the potential to continue to identify “unique sets of genetic locations that are influencing those phenotypes that matter to you.” All of this will add detail to the picture of genetic potential Gencove can provide livestock producers.

 

As an aside, Dr. Hoff mentioned his opinion on a different cutting edge field in agriculture. Being raised as a beef rancher and working as a scientist with a PhD, Dr. Hoff has very unique insight into lab grown meats. He comments that “there’s a lot of incredibly sophisticated biological things” that contribute to animal protein that are unlikely to be replicated in a lab. He also sees many ways that animal protein processes can be enhanced, promoted and made to be more efficient that can open opportunities to that industry. Lab grown meat may not have the same versatility. Dr. Hoff also gives us an update on genetic modifying and editing in livestock animals and the potential it allows.

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Dr. Jesse Hoff, Agrigenomics business development manager at Gencove
  • Explore the advantage genomics can give livestock operations
  • Hear about Dr. Hoff’s perspective on other new and up and coming technologies in agriculture

Check out Heifer International and Helping Hands to see how you can get involved!

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

Apr 22, 2020

What does food security mean? We hear about it frequently but this complex category involves much more than just assessing our agricultural capabilities. The main pillars of food security involve food affordability, food availability, food quality, food safety, and natural resource and resilience. One tool for evaluating where companies and governments land is provided in the Food Security Index Report performed by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Corteva. Dana Bolden joins us today from Corteva where he acts as the Global Corporate Communications Leader. He shares the motivation behind creating the Food Security Index Report and the impact it could have.

 

“We really wanted to put into the mainstream discussions about food security.” - Dana Bolden

 

Over the years there has been a shift of interest in these annual reports. You now find local governments taking positions on the data and working to increase their rating. Dana shares his optimism about how the data will influence global food protocol. Getting the governments to take ownership and discuss their efforts towards food security, food sourcing and feeding populations is “a conversation that we want to have.” Corteva’s perception of food sustainability is “trying to create a profitable business model in a sustainable way….using fewer inputs to get more yield and profitability while continuing to be responsible stewards in the environment.”

 

 

“This is why we do things like the Food Security Index. To show governments that the traditional ways do not need to be the ways of the future. There’s technology that’s out there that can help agriculture become more effective with less impact on the environment and we need you to embrace it. We need the industry to embrace it.” - Dana Bolden

 

To further highlight these efforts, Corteva also sponsors the Climate Positive Challenge. This program provides $500,000 to growers that can demonstrate that they have scalable sustainable practices. Corteva does not consider themselves exempt from following sustainable practices either. They went public in June and are actively collecting a year's worth of data that they will share in order to hold themselves accountable and also plan for the future.

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Learn about the Food Security Index Report
  • Meet Dana Bolden, Global Corporate Communications Leader at Corteva
  • Explore what Food Security means to Corteva and the actions they are taking to promote it
  • Learn about the effects the Index Report has had at both local and global levels.

Read The 2019 Report!

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

Apr 20, 2020

Make sure you listen to FOA 201 with Matthew Pryor. This is some bonus content from that episode where Tim asks Matthew about water issues, policy, and innovation. 

 

Connect with Matthew Pryor

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

Apr 15, 2020

Matthew Pryor joins us today as not only a partner in AgThentic, an Australian based food, and ag sustainability and innovation consulting firm, but also as a co-founder of Tenacious Ventures, a food and ag venture capital firm that just closed their first fund of nearly $30 million. As though that wasn’t enough, Matthew has already successfully exited two different startups. To say he has his finger on the pulse of ag innovation, sustainability and company start-ups is putting it mildly.  In this episode, we discuss Matthew’s rise to success from an entrepreneurial point of view beginning with his first company, Observant. Observant is a company that was born from an issue of water management for cattle in remote areas of Australia. Matthew was solving this water management problem with “bespoke micro-electronics” that they were building themselves.

 

“We were pretty mindful about looking at other industries. And the filter that we wanted everything to pass was why should this be different in ag?” - Matthew Pryor

 

Observant focused on finding different ag applications for technology originating outside of ag They also strived to create a simple “solid, reliable, agricultural product” to ease any consumer-adoption challenges. Matthew shares that especially in the agricultural hardware space the “product better work and if it doesn’t, your reputation will suffer.”

 

“Customer success is about fundamentally understanding human psychology and what makes people feel like you know what they need and that you’re going to get it to them as soon as possible.” - Matthew Pryor

 

Observant supplied all of “the information and diagrams” and provided a great deal of support to their customers if needed. He compares their strategy to an Apple store. If an Apple product needs repairs you will gladly return to the Apple store to visit with their technicians because of their perceived customer service. By doing this, they provided a “sense of being supported (and) a sense of being understood” which the customers appreciated. Following the success of Observant, Matthew spent his time growing the agtech space in Australia and eventually moved on to AgThentic. AgThentic assists startups by giving them access to experience, advising them on how to raise money, and “helping them work out how to tell a story better.” This exposure to startups led him to create Tenacious Ventures to help match startups with capital. With years of experience under his belt, he is not only supporting startups but also organizing funds for them. So what basic advice does he give would-be entrepreneurs?

 

“There is nothing harder than being an entrepreneur. You’re strapping in for a long period of hard slog and you better know why you’re doing it.” - Matthew Pryor

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Matthew Pryor
  • Learn about Matthew’s rise to success as an entrepreneur in Australia’s Agricultural Technology Industry
  • Explore what set his original company apart in customer service
  • Discover how he helps guide startups and what advice he shares with them

Connect with Matthew Pryor

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

Apr 8, 2020

We made it to episode 200! Drones have become a sort of symbol for modern ag technology whether over-hyped or legitimate. Michael Ott, CEO of Rantizo, proves that there is little room to be a drone skeptic anymore. Rantizo uses drones with a ten foot boom sprayer to spray, seed and sometimes even pollinate crops. Their main customers are retailers interested in expanding their territory by virtue of ease of application and mobility of equipment.

 

“We can get into fields where nobody else can….We’re doing a demo tomorrow, it’s going to be super sloppy and muddy. That’s totally fine. We can get out and apply in those situations.” - Michael Ott

 

The inputs carried by the drone are tailored to keep its weight below 55 pounds. At this weight, Michael says he “can train pretty much anyone to be an operator” through a 2-3 day course. The drone flies itself requiring the operator to only hold the controller rather than actively maneuver the drone. The light weight does result in multiple trips to refill tanks to be able to cover a field. But in this instance that doesn’t serve as a disadvantage. Using this technology enables the farmer to precisely deliver the inputs to specific areas in the field that require them.

 

“So rather than spray the whole field, we sprayed just a portion of it. So there’s a significant advantage for the farmer, especially because we can dramatically reduce your input costs.” - Michael Ott

 

Another added benefit is the mechanical air movement of the crops caused by the drone. This slight movement allows the spray to better cover beyond the top of the plants. A coordinated effort with this equipment can keep pace with what most tractors are doing. Does it sound too good to be true yet? Regulatory restrictions represent the biggest obstacle to drone spraying operations. While Rantizo is licensed by the FAA there are individual state requirements that can involve anything as simple as filling out a form to 500 hours of experience. With Rantizo’s operator course they help you find and meet all of the requirements for each state. There is very little these drones can’t do and at a fraction of the cost. This is the future of agriculture.

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Michael Ott, CEO of Rantizo
  • Learn about the groundbreaking technique Rantizo is able to achieve with automated drone farming
  • Explore the many benefits in labor costs, chemical costs, equipment costs and long-term weed resistance that can be achieved
  • Discover the barriers to entry to becoming an operator of this technology and how Rantizo can help you navigate them
  • Hear why operators were required to wear a seatbelt when they first became licensed

Connect with Rantizo

  • Share this episode and tag @rantizosprays to possibly be selected for a demonstration of the technology at your location!
  • Visit their website at rantizo.com

Farmer Spotlight: Clayton Wolfe

  • Northerly grows and delivers sustainably grown oats to not only grocery outlets but also directly to its consumers
  • Learn about the Climb to Give Program and Northerly’s commitment to supporting St. Mary’s Food Bank and get involved!

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

 

Apr 1, 2020

Is it possible to become a rancher when you aren’t born into a land inheritance? Aimee Danch and Jeremiah Stent from Square Mile Ranch join us today to talk about their recent purchase of a 370-acre ranch in Wallowa, Oregon.

 

Like people buy a fixer-upper home for their first one. We’re buying a fixer-upper ranch for our first one and we feel really excited about (it). -Jeremiah Stent

 

Both Jeremiah and Aimee have experience managing ranches across and even outside the country. Originally their goal was to manage livestock and land rather than own their own. They planned on being able to “sell semi truckloads of finished animals and get a paycheck.” But the allure of ownership, autonomy, personally contributing to a local community and being able to manage at their own discretion led them to start looking at land for sale. By pursuing services from the Farm Service Agency Joint Financing Program they were able to gain access to operating loans. Pairing that with an individual investor allowed them to take their first steps into ranch ownership.

 

That’s what people think about farmers and ranchers buying land. They (think) they probably pay for it with what they’re going to grow there. But that's not very common anymore” - Aimee Danch

 

Despite working very long hours and needing to find supplemental income off the farm Aimee explains that their “quality of life is so high.” They enjoy the food they produce, the “amazing relations” with their neighbors, the “hands-on time with their daughter” and the control over their own schedule.

 

There is a huge amount of flexibility in this lifestyle and just the sheer beauty and satisfaction of what we’re doing seems to make up for the other parts.” - Aimee Danch

 

At this time they are raising grass-fed beef, pastured hogs, pastured chickens and grass-fed lambs. Their farming model relies on a small quantity of high-quality livestock focused on a customer base that is “looking to make a direct connection to where they’re sourcing their food and to know what their food is eating.” In this model, they are able to sit down and tell their customers their story and to have them ask questions. This has created a very loyal following in their customer base that by word of mouth continues to expand. I took a visit to one of their pork drop off sites in Boise and was struck by the ability of their product to be used as a powerful tool for building a real community.

 

Their main takeaway for would-be ranchers is to “find somebody to work for that's going to help pay for your education.” Work in the field and gain experience before jumping all in to avoid “a really steep learning curve getting into this.” They also suggest “seeking out people that are going to give you a really hard honest truth about what it looks like.” “Unless you can afford your mistakes” this experience and knowledge will save you from being overwhelmed.

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Aimee and Jeremiah of Square Mile Ranch
  • Learn the journey they took towards gaining ranch ownership
  • Explore how their current ranch model was not what they anticipated it to be
  • Find out what makes their product unique and the retention rate of customers consistent
  • Learn the advantages to ranch ownerships and some of the hardships
  • Hear their advice to would-be ranchers looking to pursue ranch ownership someday

Connect with Aimee and Jeremiah

Share the Ag-Love!

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting:

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter

AgGrad on Facebook

AgGrad on LinkedIn

AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

 

Mar 25, 2020

 

 

Chris Peacock is the CEO and Founder of AQUAOSO, a company that aims to build a water-resilient future through software and technologies that identify, analyze, and monitor water risk in the economy. Chris is a three-time water tech entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the water industry. He works with agricultural lenders and helps reduce their financial risk by providing analytics and insights on water risk management.

 

Chris joins me today to share AQUAOSO’s main goal and how it can help interpret water data that can benefit both banks and farmers. He discusses the importance of knowing where farm water is sourced and how much water they use. He explains why there is an imperative need to address water needs from both an economic and humanitarian perspective. Chris also describes what happens if AQUAOSO becomes a successful company in the future.

 

 

 

“The reality is, extreme water events, degrading water quality, these are all happening. We need to find ways to manage around them. We can't really ignore them anymore.” - Chris Peacock

 

 

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

 

  • My thoughts on the current effects of the coronavirus.
  • What AQUAOSO is and what it aims to do to help farmers.
  • The importance of knowing water data and how it impacts bank loans.
  • How AQUAOSO’s tech can help provide accurate water data.
  • The different water problems and issues each state faces.
  • How Chris defines water scarcity and how it impacts economics.
  • The economics of water and how you price it.
  • AQUAOSO’s plans for the business and what to expect in the future.
  • The water risks we're facing now and what we should do.

 

 

Connect with Christopher Peacock

 

 

 

 

 

Share the Ag-Love! 

 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter 
AgGrad on Facebook 
AgGrad on LinkedIn 
AgGrad on Instagram 

 

 

 

Mar 18, 2020

 

 

Mark Kahn is the Managing Partner of Omnivore, an India-based venture capital firm specifically focusing on funding entrepreneurs who are working to advance agriculture and food systems. Before this role, Mark served as the Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Godrej Agrovet and Strategy Manager of Syngenta. Mark earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and has extensive experience in rural marketing, corporate strategy, product development, research and development, mergers and acquisitions, and new business incubation.

 

Mark joins me today to discuss his business, Omnivore, and share his insights on the agritech landscape in India. He shares differences between the makeup of the agricultural sectors in India versus the United States, including how the family dynamic plays a role in certain Indian aspects of agriculture such as dairy farming. Mark also explains impact investing, and what Omnivore looks for when it comes to choosing which start-ups to invest in.

 

 

 

“Venture capital is like jet fuel. If you put jet fuel in a jet, the jet flies. If you put jet fuel in a Ford, the Ford explodes.” - Mark Kahn

 

 

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

 

  • What led Mark to build his venture capital firm Omnivore and some of the companies the firm has invested in.
  • How to determine whether or not your company is suited for venture capital and the role of scalability in making this determination.
  • Trends Mark has noticed with entrepreneurship and the talent dynamic in India’s start-up sector.
  • The farming dynamic in India, including how many farmers there are in the country and the average farm size.
  • How the Indian dairy industry works, the socio-cultural aspects of this, and the industries India ranks highly in.
  • What leads many smallholder farmers to want to adopt new technologies and how accessibility plays a role.
  • What impact funding and impact investing is, how it is a spectrum, and how it differs from ESG investing.
  • Changes Mark has seen in agriculture, what he sees for the future of agriculture, and why Mark prefers “agritech” over “agtech.”
  • Mark’s thoughts on exits and three ways exits could happen.

 

 

Resources Mentioned:

 

 

 

Connect with Mark Kahn

 

 

 

 

 

Share the Ag-Love! 

 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter 
AgGrad on Facebook 
AgGrad on LinkedIn 
AgGrad on Instagram 

 

 

 

Mar 11, 2020

 

 

Sam Watson Jones is a fourth-generation farmer and the co-founder of Small Robot Company, an agri-tech startup firm that specializes in advancing agriculture through artificial intelligence and robotics. Specifically, Small Robot Company uses precision agriculture to promote efficiency over speed. Sam is also a director of his family’s farming, house building, and manufacturing business, Howle Manor Group.


Sam joins me today to discuss a different way of looking at precision agriculture and how his brand, Small Robot Company, is making waves in the agricultural industry. He shares some insights on agricultural technology entrepreneurship as well as current trends in agriculture. Sam also highlights how his brand’s technology enables per plant precision agriculture as well as his vision for the future of farming.

 

 

 

“We are not looking to replace the farmer. We are looking for this technology to empower the farmer.” - Sam Watson Jones

 

 

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

 

  • Sam’s journey back to his family’s farm and what he realized about the farm’s business model.
  • The trend of precision farming and how big of an industry it currently is.
  • The potential relationship between small smart machines and per plant precision farming.
  • Concerns Sam has with bigger machines and the impact they could have on soil health.
  • Sam’s perspective on what kills so many entrepreneurial ideas.
  • The power of shifting your mindset from thinking “how” to thinking “who.”
  • The three robots that Small Robot Company is working to create and their functions.
  • Sam’s “farming as a service” model, how it differs from other models, and why his company chose that route.
  • The reason monocultures exist, whether or not it is natural, and the implications.
  • How innovation will influence big players in agriculture.
  • The potential of what could happen to the cost of production over the next five years.
  • How Sam’s farmer background aided his perspectives as an entrepreneur.
  • Sam’s hopes for the future of agriculture, our farmlands, and the 4th Agricultural Revolution.
  • The personality behind Small Robot Company and why this branding matters.

 

 

Resources Mentioned:

 

 

 

Connect with Sam Watson Jones

 

 

 

 

 

Share the Ag-Love! 

 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter 
AgGrad on Facebook 
AgGrad on LinkedIn 
AgGrad on Instagram

 

 

Mar 4, 2020

 

 

Michael Stenta is the software developer and owner of farmOS, a web-based app used for planning, record keeping, and general farm management. What sets farmOS apart from other apps is its open-source nature. This means the app can be tweaked or fixed by virtually any contributor. To take advantage of its open-source nature, Michael also created Farmier, a platform that makes it easy for farmers to update or host their farmOS systems.

 

Michael joins me today to discuss what farmOS is, its purpose, and why he decided to develop it. He shares where his passion for programming came from and what inspired him to apply his skills to the ag industry. He explains the unique aspects of creating an app that is open-source by nature and some of the benefits and risks involved with open-source platforms. Michael also describes what the farmOS community is like and the onboarding process involved with using the app.

 

 

 

"We've been sharing ideas forever. It's really the foundation of civilization." - Michael Stenta

 

 

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

 

  • When his passion for development met agriculture.
  • Comparing software development to solving puzzles.
  • The humble beginnings of farmOS and what it aims to do.
  • What it's like working with an open-source community.
  • The advantages of working with open-source software.
  • The different costs involved in software development.
  • What the farmOS community is like and its members.
  • How farmers will be onboarded using farmOS.

 

 

 

Resources Mentioned:

 

 

 

 

Connect with Michael Stenta

 

 

 

 

 

Share the Ag-Love! 

 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter 
AgGrad on Facebook 
AgGrad on LinkedIn 
AgGrad on Instagram 

 

 

 

Feb 26, 2020

 

 

In10t CEO Randy Barker joins me to share some high-level thoughts on customer adoption. He told me it all starts with the farmer, and the recognition that all farmers are different.
 

 

In10t collaborator Chad Rubbelke is a farmer in Central North Dakota who is a great example of someone who is the right type of collaborative, intelligent, and curious farmer collaborator any company would want to work with. Along with Chad, we talk with John Grandin, who is the National Agronomy Coordinator for Compass Minerals, which is an industry-leading plant nutrient company.
 

 

 

 

"Adoption is important to everyone. It's the transactional endgame." - Randy Barker

 

 

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

 

  • What IN10T looks for in farmer collaborators.
  • The ideas and questions discussed when engaging with farmers.
  • Problems farmers bring up that the company often addresses.
  • The difference between new and old ways of connecting with farmers.
  • How Randy got started with doing technology trials with tech companies.
  • The negative outcomes that can happen if they get the trials wrong.
  • Why Chad chose to work with John and his company.
  • The results of the project and what they learned from the trials.
  • The benefits of using his farm as a testbed for new technologies.
  • What Compass will do with the data they gathered from Chad's farm.
  • The skills Chad has learned since working with Compass.
  • The different challenges and crops Compass encounters.

 

 

Resources Mentioned:

 

 

 

Connect with Randy Barker:

 

 

 

 

Connect with John Craft and Chad Rubbelke:

 

 

 

 

 

Share the Ag-Love! 

 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter 
AgGrad on Facebook 
AgGrad on LinkedIn 
AgGrad on Instagram 

 

 

 

Feb 19, 2020

 

 

Jim Pantaleo is a renowned expert and consultant for Indoor Vertical Farming and offers ag companies sound and technical advice on best practices. Some of his services include performing market research and business development work. Other than companies, Jim also works with different universities such as the University of Arizona, UC Davis, and the University of Santa Barbara. He also enjoys writing about indoor vertical farming and regularly speaks at ag-related conventions.

 

Jim joins me today to describe how indoor vertical farming will change the way we look at sustainable food sources. He shares the current technology available for indoor vertical farming and what we can expect in the next few years. He discusses the myths about soil nutrition and crops regarding indoor environments. Jim also explains why the ag industry is experiencing its own version of the Dot Com era.

 

 

 

"There's no degradation of nutrients when growing indoors because you’re controlling that environment." - Jim Pantaleo

 

 

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

 

  • The different kinds of skills modern agriculture needs.
  • Why fruiting plants are the goal of indoor agriculture.
  • The current challenges of indoor vertical farming.
  • The debate around nutrients, soil, and natural sunlight.
  • How they control the crops' nutrient inputs.
  • What The AgTech scene in Los Angeles is like.
  • The major costs of having an indoor farm.
  • Startups that have made great strides in indoor farming.
  • Comparing the Dot Com era and the rise of indoor farming.

 

 

Resources Mentioned:

 

 

 

Connect with Jim Pantaleo:

 

 

 

 

 

Share the Ag-Love! 

 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! And be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of ag.

 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter 
AgGrad on Facebook 
AgGrad on LinkedIn 
AgGrad on Instagram 

 

 

 

1 2 Next »