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Future of Agriculture

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. Make sure you’re subscribed so you can catch another fascinating ag innovator next week!
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Now displaying: May, 2022
May 25, 2022

Thank you to our quarterly presenting sponsor, Merck Animal Health Ventures: https://www.merck-animal-health.com/animal-health-ventures/

EverAg: https://www.ever.ag/

Dairy.com: https://www.dairy.com/

Prime Future: https://primefuture.substack.com/ 

Today’s episode is really a unique opportunity to hear from someone who has been working on what it means to digitize agriculture supply chains for over two decades. I can’t think of anyone who better understands the potential here for our industry, but also the reality of the challenges that lie ahead than Scott Sexton of EverAg and Dairy.com.

Dairy.com is a leading provider of software, risk management, and market intelligence solutions for the dairy industry. The company was formed in 2000 by investors that included eight of the largest dairy cooperatives, and since that time continued to grow based off just that initial investment and their own earnings until they brought in an outside investor just a few years ago in 2019 and started expanding into some new areas that Scott will talk about with this new umbrella company called EverAg. 

I’m very pleased to bring back everyone’s favorite co-host, creator of the Prime Future Weekly newsletter, ruminants lead at Merck Animal Health Ventures, and my good friend Janette Barnard.

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

May 18, 2022

Thank you to our quarterly presenting sponsor, Merck Animal Health Ventures: https://www.merck-animal-health.com/animal-health-ventures/

Jan Willem van Groenigan https://www.wur.nl/en/Persons/Jan-Willem-prof.dr.ir.-JW-Jan-Willem-van-Groenigen.htm

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JWvanGroenigen

YouTube videos: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJz4ijSeqjg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt77IvHaZuY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6em_8iFfKIk 

Jan Willem van Groenigan is a professor of Soil Biochemistry at Wageningen University in The Netherlands. He is a trained soil fertility specialist, and him and I originally connected about some soil carbon sequestration work that he was a part of. You’ll hear from one of his co-authors about that on a future episode. But when he told me that he was spending a lot of his time these days focused on the role of earthworms in agricultural soils, I knew I had to get him on the show to talk about that topic. He has been a part of several studies on earthworms such as their effect on crop yields, soil fertility, and greenhouse gas emissions, all of which we will talk about in today’s episode. I found his comments on phosphorous to be particularly interesting and important. First though, I’m going to drop you into the conversation where he gives you some more background in his own words, and we’ll take it from there. Enjoy this conversation about earthworms with Jan Willem van Groenigan. 

 

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

May 11, 2022

Thank you to our quarterly presenting sponsor, Merck Animal Health Ventures: https://www.merck-animal-health.com/animal-health-ventures/

Innovating Agtech: https://soundcloud.com/user-73017811

SomaDetect: https://somadetect.com/

Books: Adventure Finance, Farm and Other F Words, The Third Plate

Today’s featured guest is Hannah Senior. Hannah grew up in a farming community but followed a career into corporate life working with multinational companies, including 5 years with the retailer Tesco.  She completed an MBA at Stanford University before returning to the UK and agriculture, when she acquired PBS International, a company which makes products for plant breeders and seed producers around the world.   She describes her professional expertise as a stool with three legs, spanning agricultural technology, entrepreneurship & plant breeding.  Hannah holds Board and advisory positions with several AgriTech companies including Crop Health and Protection, the UK’s government-backed Agritech centre for Crops, and is Vice President of the National Association of Plant Breeders (although if this goes out in late August I’ll be President by then!). She is the host of two podcasts: Plant Breeding Stories, which interviews a diverse range of people in and around plant breeding, and Innovating AgTech is an audio documentary about how to better align interests in AgTech entrepreneurship between the environment, farmers, entrepreneurs and investors.  

I first connected with Hannah as she was putting together this Innovating Agtech documentary-style podcast, and was very eager to both listen to the six-part series, and share some of her takeaways and perspectives with you here today.

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

May 4, 2022

Thank you to our presenting sponsor Merck Animal Health Ventures! https://www.merck-animal-health.com/animal-health-ventures/

Loftus Labs: https://www.loftuslabs.com/

FoA Community: www.Patreon.com/agriculture

Today’s episode is all about farm business data and analytics. The story is different from others you’ve probably heard about though, in that Loftus Labs is not selling a product. They offer a service to help farmers to build customized processes to gain deeper insights into their unique business. Long time listeners might recall my interest in there being a “Geek Squad for agriculture”, this is like what I had in mind, but actually a lot better. 

Patrick Smith and Dan Maycock are two of the co-founders of Loftus Labs. Pat is a fourth generation farmer and the CEO of Loftus Ranches in the Yakima Valley in Washington state. They grow primarily hops and apples, and they are vertically integrated: selling hops to breweries around the world, and packing and marketing apples both in partnership with other growers in the area.

You probably know that Washington and apples go hand in hand, but you may not know that the Yakima Valley is the most important hops growing region in the world. The 50-mile stretch of the valley where Loftus is located grows 75% of the nation’s hops and about 25-30% of the world’s production annually depending on the year. 

Our conversation today is about the data and business analytics journey that Pat has gone down and what led him to form Loftus Labs with a cofounding team that includes our other guest today, Dan Maycock. Dan’s background is in data engineering with companies you will have heard of like Boeing and Amazon. Their business is really interesting, and I think directly addresses the some aspects of agtech that often get overlooked. Such as the fact that every farm is different and needs customized solutions, and that the many of the tools already exist and what are lacking are implementation partners and support.

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