Sound Agriculture: https://www.sound.ag/
Support this show: www.Patreon.com/agriculture
Today, I’m excited to bring you an interview with a very interesting company in agtech, and a unique one in many ways. Adam Litle is the CEO of Sound Agriculture. Which is in the “sound science” sense of the word not the audio sense of the word. They have some really interesting scientific approaches to, on one hand, activating beneficial microbes to provide more nutrition to crops. And on the other hand to perform what they call on-demand breeding, which doesn’t actually change the genetics of the crop but blocks expression of certain genes by soaking the seed in a specific protein. Each of these individually is a pretty exciting innovation in agriculture, but I wanted to know where do they intersect? In other words, why is this one business instead of two? We get into that as well as some of the challenges of bringing innovations like this to the market, and much more on today’s episode.
As CEO, Adam leads the company’s strategy and overall company execution. He joined Sound to help serve both producers and consumers with more sustainable, differentiated crops. Prior to Sound, Adam was on the founding team and served as Chief Revenue Officer of Granular, the leading farm management software company acquired by Corteva in 2017.
Grounded Capital Partners: https://www.groundedcapitalpartners.com/
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Our guest today, Stephen Hohenrieder was first on the show back in episode 216 to talk about building a more distributed system. It remains one of my most popular episodes, and I still highly recommend it even after you listen to this one. In that interview in 2020, Stephen mentions that he is working on developing a more permanent investment vehicle to carry out some of his investment theses about the future of food. What he was describing is now Grounded Capital Partners, and I wanted to invite him back to talk about his work.
Stephen has over a decade of focus on regenerative food systems, having invested, studied and collaborated across diverse categories of food and agriculture — proteins, fruits and vegetables, nuts and consumer packaged goods. His perspectives were shaped by a systems approach, the teachings of others, observations in exploring a thesis for how our food system is evolving, and a belief that all stakeholders are interdependent. Since 2017, Stephen has served as the CEO & CIO of Meyer Family Enterprises, an entrepreneurial impact-focused single-family office in the Napa Valley, where he oversees entities that include direct investments, real estate and farming.
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Platinum Ag Services: https://platinum.ag/
We have on the show Cassie Misch who is an independent crop consultant and the owner of Platinum Ag Services located in Northwest Indiana. As part of her offerings to farmer customers, Cassie is a Certified Services Agent for the Granular Agronomy suite of services. One of those farmer customers is Jake Smoker, who also joins us on today’s show. Jake farms with his father, Greg, in LaPorte County, Indiana where they grow corn, beans, wheat, non-GMO corn, non-GMO beans, cattle, and seed corn for Corteva/Pioneer. Jake and his wife Jill were also just recognized this week with the American Farm Bureau Achievement Award, so congratulations to them.
Cassie and Jake will talk about how they have worked together to leverage technology to improve yield and efficiency on the Smoker Farm. There’s some real insights here on what’s possible when the right ag technology is fully supported by the right people.
As you may recall with this tech-enabled advisor series, I wanted to hear from different types of guests who each are using different types of technologies. In order to do that, I have sought out companies to partner with on each individual episode of this series. Today’s show was produced in partnership with Granular. Many of you listening are familiar with Granular, and you may even remember the episodes I did with them back in 2019, which were episodes 135, 136, 137, 138, and 153. They’ve been some of our most popular episodes ever, so I highly recommend re-listening to those. Granular is more than just a Farm Management tool. They deliver science and service for successful nitrogen management, especially in a year where prices have gone up so dramatically. Granular’s Certified Services Agents, people like Cassie, are an incredible resource to help farmers explore and push the needle as they try new software. Learn more about them at Granular.ag and thank you Granular for partnering with me on today’s episode.
Dawn Equipment: http://www.dawnequipment.com/
Underground Agriculture: https://www.undergroundagriculture.com/
Joe Bassett on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeatDawn
Soil Sense Podcast: www.NDSoilSense.com
Joe Bassett is the president and CEO of Dawn Equipment Company. Dawn makes smart soil-engaging products enabling farmers to plant seeds more precisely and prepare the soil with greater efficiency while using less fertilizer. They specifically focus on row crops like corn and soybeans. You’ll also hear us mention their sub-brand Underground Agriculture which focuses on cost effective products for Regenerative Agriculture, making several novel mechanical devices that empower farmers to maximize profit through healthy soil and cover crops.
Joe strikes a balance between the hope and optimism of regenerative agriculture and the realities that adoption of these practices are slow and not a fit for many farm businesses in their current form. We touch on how well-intentioned programs can try to push practices on farms without empowering them to integrate into their businesses. I really think this is a conversation worth your time, especially as so many people out there want to choose sides on these issues without considering the realities.
Dawn Equipment was started by Joe’s father, Jim, and two partners in 1992. Joe studied Physics at the University of Iowa and joined the company in 2003, eventually taking over in 2015. He founded Underground Agriculture in 2019.
Support the Future of Agriculture podcast: www.patreon.com/agriculture