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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: October, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

OWL GitHub https://github.com/geezacoleman/OpenWeedLocator

Weed AI https://weed-ai.sydney.edu.au/about 

Guy Coleman Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeezaColeman

William Salter Twitter: https://twitter.com/williamtsalter 

Video: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/guy-coleman_the-openweedlocator-owl-is-now-live-its-ugcPost-6835703385925283840-LdvF 

On the show today we have Guy Coleman, and William Salter. Guy is PhD Student at the University of Sydney and Fulbright Future Scholar currently based at Texas A&M University. His research focuses on the interaction between artificial intelligence for weed recognition and plant morphology in large-scale production systems. Guy also has experience in alternative weed control technologies like lasers and targeted tillage.

Willam Salter, who you will also hear called by his nickname in this episode, Tam, is a postdoctoral agricultural scientist at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on several important aspects of plant and weed science, ranging from improving crop productivity to killing weeds more effectively. William has a keen interest in developing new low cost tools for use in scientific research and the agricultural industry.

The project is called the Open Weed Locator or OWL for short. My two guests today are leading the efforts to develop an open source, low cost weed detection and control device. Essentially, it’s a site-specific spot spraying system that you can make yourself for around $400. Right now, it’s only designed for fallow type weed control scenarios because it sees green and sprays it, so you obviously wouldn’t want it running through a growing crop. However, I think with the open source community that they’re developing, I think it’s only a matter of time before they add the artificial intelligence to identify and spray specific weeds or perhaps even some sort of non-chemical control like electricity or lasers. As you heard Brian talk about last week, the opportunities with low cost hardware in the hands of an innovative community are really incredible. 

As if that’s not a cool enough story on its own, we also highlight another project in this episode: Weed AI. It’s a repository of weed imagery in crops. This gets back to something we’ve talked about numerous times on this show: the need for quality data sets for companies to develop artificial intelligence. Weed AI is doing this in a sort of open source way. 

These two guys will take us through the evolution of the Open Weed Locator, or OWL, project, the importance of open source technology, the role Weed AI can play in the future of agriculture, and much more. 

**Join our upcoming Agtech Investor Roundtable by joining the FoA Community at Patreon.com/agriculture.

 

Oct 20, 2021

AgOpenGPS: https://github.com/farmerbriantee/AgOpenGPS

Autonomous Tractor Skiing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-T-rrny1Vk

Brian's Twitter: https://twitter.com/efarmerdot 

Brian Tischler is a farmer in Alberta, Canada. He farms with his neighbor who he shares equipment with to cover a combined 2,500 acres of wheat, barley, oats, canola, flax, and peas. He started his career in the medical technology industry, which you’re about to hear more about, but then he bought his family’s farm when his dad was ready to retire in the mid 90s. 

Brian is going to share how he started learning how to build software to solve a basic problem, and how that lead to a community of thousands of people around the world who are a part of what is now an open source project called AgOpenGPS.

We’ve done a few episodes on open source before, and its really inspiring to see farmers, who have always found ways to hack together solutions to their own problems, do the same with digital technologies as well. Today’s episode will focus on GPS-based technologies including mapping, section control, auto steer and making a tractor autonomous. These technologies exist in the marketplace, but you’re going to hear how our guest and his open source community are finding ways to make them for themselves much cheaper and more tailored to their individual needs.

Oct 13, 2021

OGRAIN: https://ograin.cals.wisc.edu/

YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/uwipm/search?query=erin%20silva

Today’s episode is all about organic farming. Now, organic may be a concept that you have strong opinions about one way or another, but no matter what your perspective, I really encourage you to listen to what our guest has to say. 

I originally invited today’s guest, Dr. Erin Silva onto the show to clear up one specific question I had: are organic standards so restrictive that it makes it difficult to grow organically and build soil health through practices like no-till. But once we started the interview I started thinking of all sorts of perceptions of organic that Erin was able to clear up for me. If you’re open to really examining the myths and realities of organic agriculture, we’ve got a great show for you. 

Dr. Erin Silva is an associate professor and state extension specialist in organic and sustainable cropping systems at University of Wisconsin - Madison, a position she’s held for about 15 years. She works in partnership with farmers to conduct research related to organic grain production, with a focus on reducing tillage and incorporating soil health practices. 

Erin and I will try to pick apart myth from reality on several assumptions that exist out there about organic agriculture, such as: 

  • Organic is just about marketing
  • Organic is not conducive with building soil health
  • Organic is winding back the clock and moving backwards instead of forwards
  • Organic is only the super small and super big farmers 
  • Organic systems can’t ever be as productive as conventional systems
  • Organic doesn’t embrace technology

Of course there is no one perfect system for the future of agriculture, but in my opinion, organic does have an important role to play, and there’s even practices that other growing approaches, even conventional, can learn from the organic principles. 

Have a listen and see if you agree. Erin first dove deep into learning about organic agriculture in the early 2000s, but says her real education came when she started working directly with farmers in 2006.

Oct 6, 2021

Precision AI: https://www.precision.ai/

Fulcrum Global Capital: https://www.fgcvc.com/

Protein Industries Canada: https://www.proteinindustriescanada.ca/ 

Today’s episode is another great example of how artificial intelligence and computer vision are impacting the ag industry. Today’s episode will focus on a row crop application. Specifically, we’re talking about new drone spraying technology from Canadian startup Precision AI. 

Long time listeners will recall that we’ve talked about drone spraying on the show before, but today’s episode goes even deeper into both the technology and the opportunities that can come from the per plant precision that it offers. Also cool about this episode is our guest, Precision AI founder and CEO Daniel McCann. A three-time startup founder with over 25 years in technology in diverse industries such as artificial intelligence, fintech, security, fast food, and agriculture, Daniel provides a unique perspective on how technology impacts our world.  Daniel was a finalist in the 2013 ABEX Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, personally holds six patents, and his previous company NetSecure was mentioned in Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One.

Precision AI is a portfolio company of Fulcrum Global Capital, who I’m very happy to be partnering with again on this episode.

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