Future of Agriculture

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Data Insights for Farms of All Sizes with Mariana Vasconcelos of Agrosmart

Mariana Vasconcelos is the Founder of Agrosmart, a platform that brings digital agriculture to countries with low internet infrastructures under tropical agronomic conditions. The MIT Technology Review selected her as one of the Most Brilliant Innovators Under 35 and a Global Ambassador for Thought of Food. Being a farmer’s daughter, Mariana was aware of the problems that plague small farmers, especially when it comes to decisions about crops. To solve this gap, she proposed the idea to use AI and IoT to acquire more productive, sustainable, and economic agriculture which is what Agrosmart represents.

Mariana joins me today to discuss how Agrosmart works and the problems it seeks to solve for farmers in developing countries. She shares where her drive to start her company came from and the challenges of finding capital and investors. She describes how the data they collect can impact farming practices, especially in countries where farmers rely on instinct to make crop decisions. Mariana also explains why Brazil holds a lot of potential in terms of agriculture and the rising startup economy.

“We wanted to shift intuition-based decisions to fact-based decisions.” – Mariana Vasconcelos

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Where Mariana saw the problem that needed to be addressed in the ag industry.
  • The changes their data can impact on the current farm systems.
  • Why they shifted from irrigation to a digital ag platform.
  • The farmers that can benefit the most from their platform.
  • How farmers can adapt their practices to climate change.
  • The countries they’re currently working in and some of their future projects.
  • The crops they focus on and how their platform is universal.
  • Dealing with rural connectivity problems in Latin America.
  • The ag startup ecosystem in Brazil and the kind of companies that are rising.
  • The most challenging aspects of scaling a Brazilian startup.

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Mariana Vasconcelos

This episode is sponsored by Indigo Ag

What if surviving a drought began with just a microbe? What could accessing 10,000 buyers do for your agriculture business? Indigo Ag helps farmers improve profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health by working with growers to reimagine every aspect of the agriculture industry – from soil to sale.

To learn more about Indigo Ag and their mission to improve the environment and agriculture industry, visit IndigoAg.com/Questions

Indigo. From questions… we grow.

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

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Future of Agriculture Podcast – Farm Tour with Shay Myers of Owyhee

Shay Myers is an onion expert and the owner of Owyhee Produce. Owyhee Produce is a 3rd generation family farm and one of the biggest vertically-integrated onion farms in the United States. Their farm grows enough onions to provide adequate supplies that reach about 6 million Americans annually. Other than managing an onion farm, Shay is also a produce industry influence and agriculture keynote speaker. He is currently working to provide asparagus, hemp, and sweet potatoes to American families on top of their onions.

Shay joins me today to describe how their farm differs from most growers when it comes to vertical integration. He shares how his dream to fly was granted when he returned to manage the farm. He discusses some of the early mistakes he’s made as the lead farmer and what he learned from them. Shay also explains some of the challenges in the ag industry, particularly when it comes to working with companies and people, and why the US safe practices system is broken and easily exploitable.

“You can’t expect the consumer to be willing to pay you a fair price for something if they don’t know what it takes.” – Shay Myers

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Pursuing his passion for flying by having a career in agriculture.
  • How his family responded to his desire to return to farming.
  • What vertical integration is in agriculture and some examples.
  • Some of the mistakes he’s made in the industry and what he learned from them.
  • The difference between a yam and sweet potato and why the US doesn’t grow yams.
  • What he believes is the most challenging hurdle in today’s ag industry.
  • Processing differences between mint oil and CBD oil.
  • His thoughts on growing our own food and importing them and why the US is at a disadvantage.
  • Eliminating labor and overhead costs with innovative technology.
  • Why the system surrounding safety practices is broken.

Connect with Shay Myers

This episode is sponsored by Indigo Ag

What if surviving a drought began with just a microbe? What could accessing 10,000 buyers do for your agriculture business? Indigo Ag helps farmers improve profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health by working with growers to reimagine every aspect of the agriculture industry – from soil to sale.

To learn more about Indigo Ag and their mission to improve the environment and agriculture industry, visit IndigoAg.com/Questions

Indigo. From questions… we grow.

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Nematodes in Space with Dr Fatma Kaplan and Cameron Schiller of AstroNematode

Dr. Fatma Kaplan and Cameron Schiller founded Pheronym, an agricultural biotech company that provides safe, non-toxic, and innovative solutions to solve numerous agricultural problems. They also recently become involved in the development of space nematodes under the company AstroNematode. AstroNematode seeks to establish interstellar agriculture for Earth. The first launching experiment will happen this December and provide data to pave the way for sustainable agriculture outside of Earth.

Dr. Fatma and Cameron join me today to share their latest project, AstroNematode, and how it can help provide sustainable solutions for future generations. They describe the origins of this idea and the companies that helped fund the project. They discuss their tie-ins with private companies like Space-X and explain the experiments that will happen in space. They also share what it’s like to work on this project while running Pheronym at the same time.

“If you’re going to colonize the moon and Mars, we need to have agriculture.” – Dr. Fatma Kaplan

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • How the project got started and where they found funding.
  • The best qualities of the project and what it can provide data scientists.
  • Their contingencies when the project doesn’t work as planned.
  • The kind of animals NASA plans to take to Mars.
  • Why they think nematodes can survive and reproduce in space.
  • The upcoming launch and how the nematodes will be packaged.
  • Making sure the experiments are running smoothly while they remain on Earth.
  • How they manage to run a startup and the nematode project at the same time.

Resources Mentioned

Connect with Dr. Fatma Kaplan and Cameron Schiller

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – A New Ag Lending Model with Bill York of FarmOp Capital

Bill York is the Founding Partner, CEO, and Chief Credit Officer at FarmOp Capital, a lending company that provides funding primarily to farm operators. Their independent business model allows farmers to decide which suppliers to buy from. Bill has over 40 years of experience in the ag lending space and has held senior positions in various major ag lending companies. He specializes in business development, particularly increasing profits and assets of the businesses he works with.

Bill York joins me to describe what FarmOp Capital is and its efforts to provide farmers with a helping hand in receiving capital loans. He explains the trends that make their company ripe for the ag industry and the benefits of doing business with them from a farmer’s perspective. He also shares the criteria and requirements they have for their customers and explains what sets their company apart from traditional lending companies.

“If you’re able to get a loan that is timely and adequate to meet all of your operating needs, you’re better able to purchase inputs efficiently to buy the optimum level of inputs and actually reduce your costs.” – Bill York

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Converging trends that make the industry perfect for FarmOp Capital.
  • How FarmOp works and the services they offer.
  • How soon farmers should seek a loan to benefit the most from them.
  • The customers they are targeting for the loan services they offer.
  • The kind of crop materials they help farmers finance.
  • Working directly with the customer and the team they assembled for the job.
  • Transitioning from big agricultural lending companies to working with a startup.
  • Why it will be difficult to have competition in what they do.
  • The difference between the typical loan application and what they offer.
  • Assessing the current farm-risk situation and his outlook.

Connect with Bill York:

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – AI for Precision Ag Decision Support with Anastasia Volkova of FluroSat

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Bringing People to the Table to Innovate in Animal Agriculture with Kerryann Kocher

Kerryann Cocher is a Principal at Rock Road Consulting, a practice that focuses on improving the translation of science and technology into something that will give value to farmers, ranchers, and other producers. Kerryann specializes in helping struggling ag businesses to be competitive again by providing re-engineering solutions. She is also an expert on animal health, feed ingredients, and protein production.

Kerryann joins me today to share the various opportunities and untapped potential in animal agriculture. She describes the challenges that the animal agriculture industry currently faces and the solutions she proposes to resolve these issues. She also explains how she brings people to the table to innovate in animal agriculture and why she remains motivated about the success of the animal agriculture industry.

“It’s more than a choice to play in ag; it’s a lifelong commitment.” – Kerryann Kocher

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • The jump she made from working in the corporate environment to starting a company of her own.
  • Practical problems she helps her clients address.
  • The reason behind the lack of innovation regarding animal health.
  • How to make the animal agriculture industry more innovative to catch up with the competition.
  • Areas of agriculture that are more at risk than others.
  • How dietary changes can affect the meat and dairy industry.
  • The conversations she’s had with industry professionals about the future of protein.
  • Why she remains motivated in the success of the animal ag industry.

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Kerryann Kocher:

This episode is sponsored by Indigo Ag

What if surviving a drought began with just a microbe? What could accessing 10,000 buyers do for your agriculture business? Indigo Ag helps farmers improve profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health by working with growers to reimagine every aspect of the agriculture industry – from soil to sale.

To learn more about Indigo Ag and their mission to improve the environment and agriculture industry, visit IndigoAg.com/Questions

Indigo. From questions… we grow.

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture – Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture at Scale with Shonda Warner of Chess Ag Full Harvest Partners

Shonda Warner is the Owner of Chess Ag Full Harvest Partners, an asset management business that specializes in investing in the agricultural industry. She has over 25 years of experience in financial asset management and once held the position of Executive Director at Goldman Sachs. Shonda gained experience in trading grains from her career at Cargill in Kansas City and Minneapolis.

Shonda joins me today to discuss how Chess Ag Full Harvest works and how it makes investing in agriculture easier. She shares her inspiration for starting the company, the systems they have in place, and their commitment to having a good impact on the environment. Shonda also shares her advice to those who want to start a business in the ag industry.

“We need to be good stewards of the earth and the communities in which we’re active.” – Shonda Warner

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • How she formed the idea of starting Chess Ag Full Harvest Partners
  • The company’s first investments and their returns.
  • The problems they want to solve involving ancillary services to make farming a successful venture.
  • Her sales pitch to investors and the projects she proposed.
  • Their commitment to the environment and the community.
  • The scale of their operations and their plans for further expansion.
  • The products they produce in their facilities.
  • Her advice to the young generation who are interested in starting their own ag business.

Resources mentioned:

Connect with Shonda Warner:

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Synthetic Biology with Dr. John Cumbers of SynBioBeta

Dr. John Cumbers is the founder of SynBioBeta. SynBioBeta prides itself as the premier innovation network for innovators, investors, entrepreneurs, and biological engineers. Their focus is introducing synthetic biology innovations to improve the human condition and make life more sustainable. John is a recipient of multiple grants and awards from NASA and the National Academy of Sciences for his work in the industry. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University, his MSc in Bioinformatics from Edinburgh University, and a degree in Computer Science with Information Engineering from the University of Hull.

John joins me today to discuss the potential of synthetic biology if applied to today’s agriculture sector. He explains what SynBioBeta stands for, what they want to accomplish, and the innovations we can look forward to as consumers. He shares his thoughts on lab-grown meat, the Anti-GMO crowds, and the future of Mars exploration. John also discusses what we can look forward to from their Beta Space Event.

“Synthetic biology is not actually what you do – it’s the way you do it.” – Dr. John Cumbers

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • What SynBioBeta is and what they aim to achieve with synthetic biology.
  • The innovations synthetic biology has made possible.
  • His thoughts on plant-based meats and cell-based meats.
  • How Rural America can benefit from what he calls the “Bio Belt.”
  • What needs to happen to pursue a “Bio Belt” hub program.
  • How the Anti-GMO community reacts to their technological innovations.
  • Why everybody should have a bio strategy.
  • What extremophiles are and how they can help produce food in space.
  • His opinion on the future of Mars exploration.
  • What people can look forward to the Beta Space event.

Resources mentioned:

Connect with Dr. John Cumbers:

This episode is sponsored by Indigo Ag

What if surviving a drought began with just a microbe? What could accessing 10,000 buyers do for your agriculture business? Indigo Ag helps farmers improve profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health by working with growers to reimagine every aspect of the agriculture industry – from soil to sale.

To learn more about Indigo Ag and their mission to improve the environment and agriculture industry, visit IndigoAg.com/Questions

Indigo. From questions… we grow.

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Genetic Testing for Soil with Dr. Poornima Parameswaran of Trace Genomics

Dr. Poornima Parameswaran is the President and Co-Founder of Trace Genomics. Trace Genomics is a company that based its business around mapping living soil, analyzing its microbial content, and helping growers maximize yield potential without sacrificing sustainability. Poornima’s goal is to build the world’s most massive actionable body of soil intelligence, allowing even ordinary farmers to have access to expert information on what’s underground. Poornima earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine, her entrepreneurial skills at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and her Bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at The University of Texas at Austin.

Poornima joins me today to discuss how Trace Genomics seeks to improve farm yield and sustainability through genetic testing for soil. She shares the benefits of knowing which microbes are dominant in a particular farmland. She also explains how their analytics engine works, their process, and what a typical scenario using their technology would be like.

“There are two sides of the coin when you’re looking at what is causing production losses above ground.” – Dr. Poornima Parameswaran

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • The questions farmers have before submitting soil samples.
  • Diseases that can be prevented by genetic testing for soil
  • Knowing when it is a soil health issue instead of a disease problem.
  • Developing food in the perspective of sustainability and not just increased yields.
  • How they know which microbes are important for the soil.
  • The challenges that are top of mind to growers regarding soil health.
  • The action steps they can take based on the data they gathered from growers.
  • Variability of microbe samples in similar soil samples.
  • How they reconcile the difference between gene presence and gene expression.
  • Why they don’t have that many companies as competition.

Connect with Dr. Poornima Parameswaran:

This episode is sponsored by Indigo Ag

What if surviving a drought began with just a microbe? What could accessing 10,000 buyers do for your agriculture business? Indigo Ag helps farmers improve profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health by working with growers to reimagine every aspect of the agriculture industry – from soil to sale.

To learn more about Indigo Ag and their mission to improve the environment and agriculture industry, visit IndigoAg.com/Questions

Indigo. From questions… we grow.

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Investing in Farmland with Carter Malloy of AcreTrader

Carter Malloy is the Founder and CEO of AcreTrader, an online platform that seeks to provide a bridge that connects investors and farm sellers. Before starting his company, Carter was a successful Managing Director at Stephens Inc., a large private investment bank. His passion for conservation and agriculture was drawn from his experience growing up in an Arkansas farming family. This passion eventually led to founding AcreTrader.

Carter joins me to share what AcreTrader can do for farm owners and people seeking a long-term investment. He explains how the platform works, what a typical transaction would look like, and some of the fees involved. Carter discusses the total amount of investments in farmland and why it’s still insignificant from the perspective of the entire ag industry. He also describes some of the reasons why farm sellers should use their platform over traditional methods.

“There’s a lot of ways we can work with people who want to sell farmland. For us, it’s exciting to bring new solutions to the market.” – Carter Malloy

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Why he left a successful career in investments to start AcreTrader.
  • The amount of private equity money invested in farmland.
  • The requirements needed to bring the right deals out to the public.
  • Motivations for sellers to use AcreTrader as a platform.
  • How their platform works to provide information in a digestible format.
  • The deal flow and access to market barriers and how they break them.
  • How he describes the ideal seller on AcreTrader.
  • What they do when a partner exits the platform and their contract.

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Carter Malloy:

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram