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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: December, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Around the new year I like to reflect on previous episodes and pull out insights that I think are important for the future of agriculture. 

As I reflected on the content from this past year, an insight became immediately clear: agtech has a long way to go. As much as we talk about the money that has poured into the industry and how much potential there is for the future of agriculture, progress has been, by most measures, slow. And change - in a lot of cases - has been minimal. This isn’t an indictment on anyone in the industry, instead it’s a statement that we all probably don’t say often enough: innovation is hard. 

There are some real forces working against the advancement of agricultural innovation. Today’s episode explores these barriers that are holding back the entire sector and profiles companies that are directly addressing and trying to eliminate those barriers. Loyal listeners know that I love this idea of enabling technologies. Which is to say, breakthroughs that open the floodgates for numerous future breakthroughs. The stories you’ll hear today are examples of companies trying to create something that enables future innovation. In some cases, with their technology, in others: with their business model. 

Here are the five barriers holding agtech back: 

  1. Too much risk being put on the buyer (in most cases, the producer)
  2. Limited rural Connectivity
  3. Lack of integrations between ag technologies
  4. Scarcity of precision-first implementation equipment
  5. Inability to find product-market fit

*LISTEN TO THE EPISODE FOR TWO ADDITIONAL BARRIERS*

Companies featured: 

Growers Edge www.growersedge.com

SWARM https://swarm.space/

Leaf https://withleaf.io/

Rantizo https://rantizo.com/

In10t https://in10t.ag/ 

Dec 23, 2020

Check out another great ag podcast: www.OffIncome.com.

Today’s episode is really one of those that I think embodies my vision for this show. It’s the vision you just heard me reference: where we take innovative ideas, in this case artificial intelligence, and we look at the point in which the meet practical realities. 

The reason this is so important to me, is: first, it’s so much easier to learn and understand new technologies by observing their use cases. And secondly, I am convinced this intersection is really the best hope we have for getting a glimpse into the future of agriculture. 

We have on the show Craig Ganssle, the founder and CEO of Farmwave:  an agriculture technology company that is transforming the world’s agricultural information into AI data models that power decision-making and preserve the future of farming. In this episode you’ll hear how Google Glass originally led Craig to agriculture, how artificial intelligence works and how it’s applied to a variety of use cases, from predicting the weight of livestock to identifying crop diseases to minimizing yield loss off a combine.  

Learn more about Farmwave: www.Farmwave.io

Follow Farmwave on Twitter: https://twitter.com/farmwave

 

Join the FoA Community: www.patreon.com/agriculture 

Dec 16, 2020

One of the biggest criticisms of ag tech and really many ag innovations in general is they often seem to be a solution that is looking for a problem rather than the alternative. This mismatch is often doomed to fail leaving many ag entrepreneurs frustrated. The Beef Alliance is trying to change that in the cattle feeding industry through their program called Feeding Innovation, a Beef Alliance Startup Challenge. The Beef Alliance wants smart entrepreneurial, problem solvers to see real potential opportunity and apply their talents to the cattle feeding industry. They're putting up $50,000 in the form of a cash prize and the chance at a pilot project to the winning startup of the competition. So even for startups that don't win that top prize and chance to pilot, it's still an opportunity to engage with leaders throughout the cattle feeding industry who could end up potentially becoming customers and investors.

**Learn more about the startup challenge: https://beefalliance.com/startupchallenge/

The Beef Alliance is an organization of innovative, progressive, and relevant cattle feeding companies through collaborative innovation, scientific exploration, and value chain engagement. They are committed to being a leader and catalyst for positive change in the beef supply chain. Today we are joined by Dr. Abram Babcock, who is the CEO of Adams Land and Cattle in Broken Bow, Nebraska and John Wilson, a fifth generation Oregon cattleman and managing partner of several cattle related businesses. Both men clearly have extensive experience in the cattle feeding industry and share their perspectives of new innovations.

 

“If I look at it back in the early nineties and I look at it today, I would say that our industry has definitely adapted to listening to the consumer, as opposed to telling the consumer what we wanted them to hear or what we wanted them to eat. That would probably be at the top of my list.” - John Wilson

 

Dr. Babcock goes on to reference different management techniques, pharmaceutical protocols, and feeding practices all as a response to consumer demands.  John highlights advances in sensors and therefore different use and evaluation of individual metrics to better support sustainability practices like water usage and electricity usage. 

 

“I think there is going to be an ability for our industry to really start to tell our story with data in a very cost-effective efficient manner where, you know, 10 years ago, some of these metrics would be very hard or very expensive to collect on a daily basis.” - Dr. Abram Babcock

 

Both John and Dr. Babcock ask innovators to keep in mind that cattle are living beings that are affected by health, weather and production system techniques. Their production is not as simple as creating a formula and producing a consistent product. While that seems obvious it is often overlooked by those not familiar with the industry. Labor efficiency, automation and improvement of feed conversion are all sectors that they highlight are in need of innovation in the industry. 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet John Wilson and Dr. Abram Babcock, both experienced cattlemen that join us today to share what innovation has done and hopefully will do in the cattle feeding industry
  • Learn about the technology that most interests these two experts
  • Explore what innovators can focus on to support the cattle feeding industry’s efforts 

Join the FOA Community!

Be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of the ag industry.

We’re nearing the end of 2020 and I’m planning my 2021 content. Do you have suggestions for topics to be explored? Tweet them to me @timhammerich or email them to tim@aggrad.com

Find us online!

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

Dec 9, 2020

Victory Farms is a Tilapia farming operation on Lake Victoria in Kenya. Since it was founded in 2015 it has become the largest fish farm in East Africa and is now the fastest growing Tilapia Farm in all of Africa. Joseph Rehmann is the CEO and founder of Victoria Farms and joins us today to share his journey towards becoming an innovative entrepreneur in Kenya with an environmentally sustainable aquaculture operation. 

 

“It really felt like an opportunity to be where I wanted to be, in a field that I’m passionate about which is growing things and being able to have a meaningful impact from the work I do.” - Joseph Rehmann

 

Joseph observed that while Africa’s population is booming the development of local food sources was decreasing resulting in an increased dependence on imported food. He discusses the supply and demand mismatch that he was able to find a market in to not only build his business but help local populations.

 

“You've got 200 or 300 million people in the East African block and you've got this substantial decline in wild stocks of fish, a relative decline in per capita consumption of white proteins…..This region is sitting on what some folks call the African great lakes....So Lake Victoria is the largest warm freshwater body in the world. And it's not farmed.” - Joseph Rehmann

 

With access to one of the best natural resources for farming Tilapia, Victory Farms is now producing 300 tons of fish per year. Joseph highlights that Tilapia are native to the area and local cultures. Victory Farms utilizes local customs to then get the fish to their customers. Once the fish are prepared, they are then transported to 40 different locations and sold to about 10,000 market ladies per month. The market ladies then make the sale to the end customer in the community. By supporting the market ladies and promoting their business models, they have found great success and community compatibility. Beyond financial and cultural success, Joseph has also focused on supporting and promoting the local environment. 

 

“I think the next generation of businesses needs to stop talking about doing less harm to the environment or mitigation or conservation. And we need to flip it to restoration. Businesses need to actually promote environmental benefits.” - Joseph Rehmann

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Joseph Rehmann, CEO and founder of Victory Farms
  • Explore the emerging Tilapia market in East Africa
  • Discover the obstacles and challenges he has faced and the factors he attributes his success to
  • Learn about the mission of Victory Farms, their management practices and sustainability focus

Join the FOA Community!

Be sure to join the new Future of Agriculture Membership for even more valuable information on the future of the ag industry.

We’re nearing the end of 2020 and I’m planning my 2021 content. Do you have suggestions for topics to be explored? Tweet them to me @timhammerich or email them to tim@aggrad.com

Find us online!

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

Dec 2, 2020

This is the series finale of exploring agtech adoption with In10t. Co-founder and COO Kevin Heikes joins as co-host to setup this episode which features Josh Miller and Elizabeth Blessum from BASF. 

Make sure you listen to the other three episodes in the series: 

  • FoA 226: The Problem with Farm Data
  • FoA 215: Bridging the Gap Between Farmers and Agtech
  • FoA 194: Accelerating Agtech

Kevin reflects on the journey of founding In10t and what we’ve covered in these episodes as well as in his first two Future of Agriculture appearances on FoA 028 and 062.

“When technology gets in the way of innovation, no one is happy.” - Kevin Heikes

Josh Miller is a technical market manager for plant health at BASF. He describes the thousands of farmer trials that have been a part of bringing their Revysol brand fungicides to the market. He emphasizes the importance of trust and transparency when performing on-farm trials. 

“I think (on-farm trials) is becoming part of our DNA. It’s not just about the data. It’s about the experience, and it’s about where the data comes from. That’s really the critical part.” - Josh Miller

Elizabeth Blessum worked with Josh on the Revex platform (short for “Revysol experience”) as part of her professional development program at BASF. She is now an Agronomic Solutions Advisor with the company. 

“I think it comes down to believability. I’m a visual learner - I like to see things myself. So I have better luck selling a product that I believe in, and that I’ve been able to see in the field...being able to see things first hand has helped myself believe, and then ultimately help other believe in the product as well.” - Elizabeth Blessum

Josh also emphasized the importance of not only data transparency, but also data privacy. Knowing how to handle this with integrity is of the utmost importance in the trialing process. 

“Farmers have their factories out in the public domain. Everything they do is proprietary to some degree: what products they choose, what seed varieties they choose, how they do things. And it’s all out there. And I think that it can’t be taken for granted if a farmer shares that data with you. That’s a huge amount of IP that they’ve shared with us, and we need to treat it with the respect that it deserves.” - Josh Miller

Be sure to visit In10t at www.In10t.ag and www.FarmerTrials.com

Please also thank them on social media for their efforts to make this important series happen. I would have never had access to people like Josh, Elizabeth, or any of the other guests on previous episodes without In10t’s support! 

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