April 20, 2021
SmartBrief on AgTech
AgTech Industry News
Farm equipment makers including AGCO, Deere & Co. and CNH Industrial are grappling with surging demand, supply chain disruptions and a pandemic-driven labor shortage among some suppliers. "It's our number one challenge right now by far -- managing all the logistics and the volatility in the system," AGCO CEO Eric Hansotia says.
Full Story: Reuters (4/19) 
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Vertical farm Plenty to open 2nd-largest location
Indoor vertical farm startup Plenty is opening its second-largest farm in Compton, Calif., where it will employ 50 full-time employees in partnership with a Compton workplace development program. The company's production methods prioritize cleanliness and health by requiring to employees wear full personal protective equipment, which allows the crops to grow in a clean, controlled environment with produce only being touched when opened by the end consumer.
Full Story: CNN (4/19) 
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Ag Growth International has acquired the remaining stake of Farmobile after its initial minority equity investment of $15 million in 2019. "Farmobile is a fantastic addition to the AGI SureTrack platform and brings the market leading, two-way, field data management device along with a robust platform for data standardization and management," said AGI president and CEO Tim Close.
Full Story: AgWeb (4/19),  World Grain (tiered subscription model) (4/19) 
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Western Growers is working to automate half of its harvest in the next decade with its Global Harvest Automation Initiative. The initiative aims to expedite harvest automation through improvement projects including a technology stack to help startups, a harvest automation cohort for tech integration, an impact report to analyze progress and a traction roadmap for regular distribution.
Full Story: The Packer (Lenexa, Kan.) (4/16) 
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Scaling agricultural drone and geospatial programs
Just as the agricultural sector requires a holistic approach for best yields, the most successful drone programs cover every aspect of the business, from winning investment to delivering produce. Join us as we discuss incorporating unique data to identify longer-term opportunities and building greater transparency. Watch on-demand now.
Startups & Venture Capital
Finistere Ventures has partnered with New Zealand Growth Capital PArtners to launch the over $28M Finistere Aotearoa Fund in an effort to develop New Zealand's agtech industry and promote sustainability and nutrition needs. The fund will support promising tech focused on nutrient management, alternative proteins, supply chain improvements, food delivery and advanced crop protection.
Full Story: FreshPlaza (Netherlands) (4/19) 
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Foodservice Innovation Awards judges discuss meeting today's challenges
SmartBrief and The National Restaurant Association gathered the panel of judges for a discussion about the importance of this awards program and their experience evaluating the nominees in each category.
View the lively discussion.
Trends & Innovations
How drones compare to boom sprays for pesticide use
Farmers have been using drones to take aerial images of fields to identify problems from above, but they've recently been gaining traction used for spraying pesticides. The purchase cost of drones is far less expensive than boom sprayers, but the current cost of drones' operation, maintenance and repair costs make the fixed costs between spraying methods similar.
Full Story: AGDAILY (4/19) 
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Elle Griffin explores how controlled-environment agriculture has spurred a boom in the industry, with companies like Grov Technologies, Driscoll's Plenty and Ingka Group's AeroFarms joining the innovation. The current challenge for farmers is the amount of resources it takes to feed animals, but "the good news is the technology is coming along to help solve that equation," said Steven Lindsley, Grov Technologies president.
Full Story: Utah Business (4/13) 
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Australian farmers can now access agriculture research, agtech and agrifood opportunities on growAG, a free centralized platform launched in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. With the resources on growAG's platform, farmers can learn how to better manage their farm and business, improve connectivity, planting and harvesting.
Full Story: Future Farming (The Netherlands) (free registration) (4/19) 
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Sustainability & Environmental Efforts
PastureMap and Soil Value Exchange have merged to form Grassroots Carbon, which will use PastureMap's landowner and grazier database to offer carbon credit opportunities. "Our goal is to accelerate the move to regenerative farming and the addition of certified carbon credits will be a game-changer for ranchers," said Grassroots Carbon board chair Lew Moorman.
Full Story: Ag Funder News (4/15) 
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April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.
Christopher Morley,
writer, editor, journalist
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