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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: July, 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

 

 

 

 

 

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