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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: Page 1
Jan 6, 2021

Today we are joined by Naeem Zafar. Naeem is a 7x serial entrepreneur and 5x CEO, with multiple successful exits. He is currently the co-founder and CEO of TeleSense, an IoT company creating real-time wireless sensing and predictive analytics for the stored grain industry. TeleSense is a portfolio company of Fulcrum Global Capital and adds to their story that we have had the privilege to share with you so far.

A lot of the attention has been paid to sensors in agronomy with soil, water, etc. But think about this with stored grain: every year we produce billions of bushels of corn, soybeans, and wheat, just in the U.S. alone. A lot of that is stored and handled multiple times: maybe in farm bins, in a local grain elevator, on a barge or rail car, at a processing facility, or export house where it goes on to further handling. So there are several opportunities for the grain quality to be affected, and a lot of current solutions of checking quality are still mostly manual: meaning sending someone up to look at and even smell the commodity. 

“Knowledge is king. When you know what's going on, you can make a sensible choice. That's what it all is about. Avoid the surprise.” - Naeem Zafar 

TeleSense has developed technology to monitor grain storage conditions and upload those findings to the cloud. This gives farmers the opportunity to adjust as needed for the conditions of the grain during storage reducing loss of product or quality. Naeem understands that “margins are thin” in the grain industry so his goal is to make it not just affordable but ultimately profitable for the producer. Their target is that the price should reflect approximately 2 cents per bushel which is recognized as a reasonable discount for a loss of quality making this technology more than feasible. “The data science and the alerts level will change based on the type (of grain), but the hardware is the same and the basic software is the same.” Alerts will be sent to the producers mobile device if a finding is a concern. You can access your data over time and at any instant on your desktop or mobile device. 

Phase 2 of their technology will be a device that creates a “smart bin” to collect the data, analyze conditions and make its own adjustments to rectify an issue if found. Beyond that, Naeem is looking forward to creating a reward for higher quality grains in general.

“So we are coming up with an index, a fine grain index, which will tell you what's the quality of the grain…..If you can do that, that opens up all kinds of interesting ideas.” Naeem Zafar

This value can expand into knowing which bin is best to sell and when. This also adds value to the extra effort you have put into the timing and storage of your grains. “It’s going to take a couple of years but that's the direction” TeleSense is headed towards. 

 

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Meet Naeem Zafar the co-founder and CEO of TeleSense
  • Explore the problem TeleSense solves for those in the grain industry
  • Learn about the technology they have developed and the advantages this can give producers
  • Hear about the entrepreneurial journey Naeem took to get where he is now as a CEO, co-founder and professor.

If you enjoyed that conversation with Naeem Zafar of TeleSense, check out their website at Telesense.com. Thanks as well to Fulcrum Global Capital who partnered with me on this episode. Learn more about Fulcrum at www.FGCVC.com

 

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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