Benson Hill grows a new business line for soybean farmers | Ceres Imaging's app adds new irrigation features | Plenty Unlimited lands $140M to grow vertical farms
October 15, 2020
SmartBrief on AgTech
AgTech Industry News
Benson Hill grows a new business line for soybean farmers
St. Louis-based foodtech firm Benson Hill's work using CRISPR technology to develop soybeans with improved flavor and nutritional profiles turned investor Grant Pothast into a soybean grower. He's one of many farmers around the country under contract to the company, which pays them to grow the beans and also buys them at harvest time.
Full Story: Farm Progress (10/14) 
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Ceres Imaging has added the ability to check and manage irrigation strategies at the plant level to its mobile app, the company said. "Now growers can measure crop water stress at a tree level across their entire orchard," Ceres CEO Ashwin Madgavkar said.
Full Story: Future Farming (The Netherlands) (free registration) (10/14) 
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Startups & Venture Capital
Plenty Unlimited has raised $140 million in a new funding round led by SoftBank's Vision Fund, with participation from berry giant Driscoll's. Plenty and Driscoll's announced earlier this week that they will join on a plan to grow Driscoll's strawberries in Plenty's vertical farms.
Full Story: Bloomberg (tiered subscription model) (10/14),  The Spoon (10/14) 
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Trends & Innovations
Agtech firms are continuing to create new tech tools to drive dairy farm innovation. New tech at this year's virtual Global Dairy Tech Start-up Spotlight included an automated injection system from Pharm Robotics and a system from Cainthus that uses artificial intelligence to allow for constant monitoring of entire farms.
Full Story: American Agriculturist (10/14) 
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Innovation and new tech tools can help Australia's farmers face challenges of the future including climate change, global competition and changing consumer tastes, according to the Australian Council of Learned Academies. The country's government aims to grow Australia's ag sector from $50 billion to $72 billion over the next decade.
Full Story: Future Farming (The Netherlands) (free registration) (10/15) 
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Facial recognition of cows could aid traceability
Cows' faces are just as unique as human faces, making it easy for facial recognition technology to tell them apart, according to a research team at Kansas State University. The researchers are using the technology to build a database of individual cows that can be used for traceability in the event of a disease outbreak.
Full Story: Farm Progress (10/14) 
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Software firm DroneDeploy has rolled out 360 Walkthrough, a new feature that creates digital reconstructions of sites using a mix of aerial and on-the-ground cameras. The technology could allow farmers to use one platform to view their farms from many angles.
Full Story: Future Farming (The Netherlands) (free registration) (10/14) 
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SmartBrief Originals
Sustainability & Environmental Efforts
Indigo Ag has signed an array of companies eager to buy the company's first carbon credits, which will be based on the amount of carbon dioxide participating farmers sequester this season and sell for $20 per metric ton. Companies on the list include New Belgium Brewing, Shopify, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase and IBM.
Full Story: Ag Funder News (10/15) 
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Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus,
writer, philosopher, Nobel Prize winner
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