Today we get a unique global view into agtech and agribusiness. We are joined by Greg Meyers, who is the Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer of Syngenta based at their world headquarters in Switzerland. Most of you are familiar with Syngenta but you may or may not know they are the largest crop protection company in the world and the third largest seed company in the world. They also provide digital ag platforms to 125 million acres of global crop production.
Greg offers his perspective as someone with a front row seat to the global digitization of agriculture. We talk about the agtech customer in various countries, Syngenta’s acquisition strategy, their role in both digital ag and soil health, and some interesting ideas worth pondering about the future of agriculture.
“The reality of it is that a lot of the growers really have a very specific set of things they're trying to accomplish. And obviously the nature of the work is there's a really compressed window in which those activities have to happen. So if you're trying to create these solutions and they don't fit within that window of work, they really have a hard time finding a fit.” - Greg Meyers
Greg comments that he sees a lot of agtech startups with a really innovative piece of technology that doesn’t answer a direct problem the farmer needs solved. “It’s almost like a solution looking for a problem...So what we’re trying to do is to take our innovation experience in chemistry and biology and marry it to agronomy and computer science,” explains Greg. Finding market fit without incorporating these many different aspects of farming within a specific problem and pain point can lead to a lack of interest by the producer. For example, predictive models in Brazil help solve scouting issues for Asian Soybean Rust while in the “mega farms” of Eastern Europe maximizing fuel efficiency and coordinating the use of different farm equipment is a significant advantage. Syngenta has strategically chosen partners and acquisitions to support specific pain points identified by producers in their specific region.
“We focused on companies that have already had traction. They had a great market fit. They already had customers and we acquired them not because of the revenue they were getting, but because they really understood the local market well and they had good customer relationships. They were adding value to the grower. They're adding value to the growers advisor….and so we've really built our software platform around trying to be able to help the whole ecosystem that helps farmers.” - Greg Meyers
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