Gotham Greens has created a 100,000-square-foot greenhouse on the site of a former Chicago steel mill where it will grow produce to supply retailers and restaurants in the Midwest. The facility is the company's sixth US indoor farm and its second in Chicago.
Qu Dongyu, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, is stressing the need for investment and digital innovation to cut food waste and end hunger and malnutrition around the world. "Innovative business models with the participation of the private sectors are required," he says.
Drone technology and aerial photography can be a useful tool for hemp farmers looking to efficiently monitor crop conditions and tell male from female plants, PrecisionHawk general manager Kevin Lang says. "The way our platform is set up now, we're really working with machine learning-based algorithms and dynamic tools that let customers more quickly create field boundaries; and get on-demand, plant-level statistics," he says.
Continental unveiled the prototype of the Contadino, an agriculture robot that performs tasks including seeding and weeding, at Agritechnica. The machine can be outfitted with different implements to perform a variety of agricultural tasks, according to the manufacturer.
Vertical farming startup Bowery Farming has raised $50 million in a new funding round and launched a third indoor farming facility. The new facility in Baltimore is more than three times larger than Bowery Farming's New Jersey farm and will be able to start selling its local greens in 2020.
In City Farms will invest $30 million to build the first phase of an aquaponics farm designed to bring fresh local fish and produce to Pittsburgh. The 180,000-square-foot facility on the site of Duquesne Steel Works will be built in three phases and create more than 230 jobs, founder Glenn Ford says.
Alberta-based farmer Brian Tischler's unexpected recovery from serious illness several years ago spurred him to turn what he learned in his former career in medical machinery into new agtech. Tischler created AgOpenGPS, an open-source software solution for precision mapping and tractor automation.
Washington State University plant ecologist Pete Jacoby has invented a new underground drip irrigation system for vineyards that uses less water and improves the quality of the grapes, he says. The direct root-zone system, also known as DRZ, delivers water directly to the roots, Jacoby says.
China's green agriculture efforts have included programs on water use and limiting the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, says Zhang Taolin, the country's vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs. Green farming efforts are on the rise and China aims to share its new models with other countries, he adds.
Agriculture industry interests would be represented on the Federal Aviation Administration's chief drone policy committee under a bipartisan bill introduced by Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich. "As drones continue to become a part of everyday commerce, it will be increasingly important that our federal policies do not leave out the voices of rural America," Peters said.