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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!
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Now displaying: April, 2020
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

 

 

 

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