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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: June, 2021
Jun 30, 2021

World Resources Institute: https://www.wri.org/

Follow Rich on Twitter: https://twitter.com/waiterich

Recent blog post: https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/08/us-agriculture-emissions-food 

More from Rich: https://www.wri.org/profile/richard-waite 

Our guest today has spent years diving into this question of the environmental impacts of the food system, and what can be done to optimize the amount of food that gets produced and distributed, while minimizing the negative externalities of that system. 

Rich Waite is a Senior Research Associate in World Resources Institute’s Food Program. He is an author of the World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future, which focuses on solutions to feed 10 billion people by 2050, including boosting agricultural productivity, reducing food loss and waste, shifting toward plant-rich diets, and protecting and restoring forests and other natural ecosystems. Rich is also the Data Lead for Cool Food, an initiative that helps major food providers reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions in line with climate science. Prior to joining WRI in 2007, Rich lived in Cameroon for four years, where he served as an agroforestry extension agent with the U.S. Peace Corps and helped coordinate the U.S. Embassy’s international development programs.

Rich and I discuss that, for all the talk about climate change, there has been very little progress to reducing the carbon footprint of the food system. We discuss why actions must be taken, and what the data tells us about what levers can be pulled to realistically make that happen while producing and distributing adequate amounts of nutritious food to people around the world. 

Jun 23, 2021

Thanks to FieldAgent by Sentera for sponsoring. Visit https://sentera.com/

On today’s episode I’m joined by Todd Vagts who is a technical agronomist for the Channel Seed brand which is part of Bayer Crop Science. Based in southeast Minnesota, Todd works with Channel salespeople and seed dealers (who they called “Seedsmen”), to make sure they are up to date with technologies and to problem-solve in the field. Todd is a farmer as well - lives 30 minutes from the farm where he grew up. Todd has a master’s in Agronomy from Texas A&M, and stayed down in Texas to focus on cotton for a while before coming back to the midwest where he is focused now. 

Todd has been interested in drones for over a decade, but as you'll hear it took a while for them to really find a place in his day-to-day work.

Jun 16, 2021

Today’s episode highlights two interesting consumer trends in food and agriculture. And on the surface, these two trends seem to be going in totally opposite directions, but not necessarily as you’ll hear from our guest today. 

The first trend is the increasing desire for healthier, simpler, more nutritious food. The second is that demand for processed food is strong and getting stronger. You might be thinking, wait aren’t those two things complete opposites? 

Well, not necessarily. Our guest today, Joanne Zhang is the founder of Phytoption, a food ingredient company that uses proprietary technology that allows them to replace certain ingredients in processed food that are synthetic or modified - like certain emulsifiers and texturing agents, with essentially simple flour like rice flour or chickpea flour. This allows more processed foods to be made with more naturally occurring ingredients. 

As you’ll hear Joanne describe, these ingredients are used because they make food functional. For example, they help give a plant-based beverage the same texture as cow milk. Joanne’s technology allows these basic flours to serve the same functions without having to be chemically treated or altered in any way. 

Important to note before we dive into today’s interview is that Joanne’s company Phytoption, will be separating this food division into a new company Flouring, LLC and Phytoption will continue to focus on pharmaceuticals. So you’ll hear us mention both Phytoption and Flouring, LLC in the episode because they are currently the same company. 

Joanne started the company using technology developed by Purdue University after a career as a food scientist. I was connected to Joanne by Amy Wu, who is the author of the new book “From Farms to Incubators: Women Innovators Revolutionizing How Our Food is Grown”. Joanne is one of several women innovators featured in the book and I highly recommend you pick it up. 

I told Amy how much I enjoyed the book and that I would like to interview some of the women she featured, and she said she had considered doing a podcast as well, so we decided it would be fun to interview Joanne together, and a couple of other women trailblazers in agtech that you’ll meet in future episodes later this year. 

 

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. I’m sending out my email newsletter on a more regular basis, focusing on what I call the front lines of agtech: where product meets producer. You can sign up for that at www.FutureOfAg.com. There’s an email icon in the center of the page, just click on that and it will take you to a signup form.

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

Jun 9, 2021

My guest today, Allan Fetters, is a third generation agriculturalist who has worked in agribusiness for over 30 years. I say agriculturalist, because he was not born into a farm family, but a family that has been working selling products to farmers. However, he recently also started doing some farming himself in addition to his consulting. 

In today’s episode, I try to glean as many insights as I can from Allan’s vast experience in agriculture technology. We touch many of the important aspects of specialty crop agtech such as water, labor, pest management, and the need for yield data. Allan explains why he believes that we are still in the very early days of digital agriculture. 

I could spend several minutes describing Allan’s successful career, but I’ll sum it up by telling you that he has spent most of his career in field research, sales, marketing, business management, and technology development and implementation. Until 2019 Allan worked as the director of technology at Simplot, the global agribusiness based right here in my area of Boise, Idaho. 

Currently, as principal of AGceleration Advisory Service, Allan works with companies to introduce new innovations to agriculture, including testing, evaluating, and analysis. 

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. I’m sending out my email newsletter on a more regular basis, focusing on what I call the front lines of agtech: where product meets producer. You can sign up for that at www.FutureOfAg.com. There’s an email icon in the center of the page, just click on that and it will take you to a signup form.

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

Jun 2, 2021

Today’s episode is all about data and technology for the modern dairy. But even if you’re not specifically interested in the dairy industry, you’re going to want to stick around. And here’s why: one of the big challenges to agtech is the long feedback loop. You try a technology out for an entire year and you get one shot - harvest to see how it performed. Dairy is way different. That scorecard happens three times per day when the cows are milked. This rapid feedback loop has allowed dairies to embrace data analytics arguably faster than other areas of agriculture. And I would argue all of ag could learn a thing or two from this episode. 

We have on the show Jordan Lambert. Jordan is the VP of Business Development for VAS, a software and data analytics company that provides sustainability and profitability insights to dairy producers. Jordan grew up on a dairy farm in rural Colorado, and graduated from my alma mater, UC Davis with a bachelor’s in Biotechnology.  She spent her early career as a genetic engineer before pursuing an MBA at Harvard. From there her career took her into consulting and back into agriculture with a role at Indigo. But she returned to Colorado and to the dairy industry to take this position with VAS. 

There’s some great stuff here on data including collection, standardization, and privacy. As well as some interesting discussion towards the end about what it’s like to have private and cooperative ownership in the company, and how sustainability metrics are increasing the need for farm-level data.

 

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. I’m sending out my email newsletter on a more regular basis, focusing on what I call the front lines of agtech: where product meets producer. You can sign up for that at www.FutureOfAg.com. There’s an email icon in the center of the page, just click on that and it will take you to a signup form.

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

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