Ag Innovation Showcase Blog

Q&A: Nathan Dorn, Food Origins, on solving growers’ problems

By August 26, 2016 Ag Issues, Companies

Santa Cruz Tech Beat has been following Food Origins, a 2016 Ag Innovation Showcase presenting company, since they first launched last October. Read the full Q&A on how Food Origins’ data improves food production quantity, quality and safety here.

How Stony Creek Colors is getting Tobacco Farmers In Robertson County To Switch To Indigo

By August 26, 2016 Ag Issues, Companies

Stony Creek Colors, a 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase presenter, was recently featured on Nashville Public Radio. Read the full article here.

The Rise of Indoor Agriculture

By August 19, 2016 Ag Issues, Speakers
A farm day laborer works at a tomato field in Los Pinos, San Quintin Valley, Baja California State, Mexico on April 23, 2015.

A farm day laborer works at a tomato field in Los Pinos, San Quintin Valley, Baja California State, Mexico on April 23, 2015.

By Darryn Keiller, Chairman of Autogrow Systems Limited. Darryn will be speaking at the 2016 Ag Innovation Showcase as a part of the Opening Keynote: Views from the Farm on Tuesday, September 13th. 

Indoor ag is here to stay, and it has nowhere to go but up. Literally.

What is Indoor Agriculture? With so many names, sometimes it’s hard to tell. It’s been labelled as protected cropping, controlled environment agriculture, greenhouse, glasshouse, grow rooms, urban and vertical growing.

It is, of course, all of the above, and more. In its broadest definition, it also seeks to claim aeroponics (another variation of methodology) and aquaponics, or more colloquially ‘fish farms.’

Let’s look at a few facts. Mexico is now the World’s 10th ranked producer of tomatoes, with more than 10,000 hectares of ‘under cover’ greenhouse production. That bears repeating. 10,000 hectares of ‘under cover’!

Indoor ag’s range of possible crops is staggering. Just like its outdoor cousin, indoor ag functions as both a producer of volume commodity crops e.g. lettuces and tomatoes, to specialist crops including herbs and micro greens, peppers and berries. Changes in dietary needs, especially among the economy-driving middle class, are fueling the rapid growth of specialty growers and the diversification of existing mass producers attracted to the preferential economics of higher value foods.

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Solutions for Urban Ag hosts Harvest Moon Celebration

By August 9, 2016 Recommendations

Solutions for Urban Ag Harvest Moon Celebration
Friday, September 16 | 6pm – 9pm

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Ag’s Big 6 mergers – Reflections and Opinions

By August 1, 2016 Ag Issues

By Rohit Shukla
The big merger proposals among the “Big 6” agriculture companies would result in the “Big 3” if they go through. While mergers do not have a consistently successful track record (I’m thinking about the pharmaceutical industry in particular), they can result in operating efficiencies.

Each company involved in the impending mergers (note: at the time of writing, Monsanto has rejected Bayer’s offer) has a history of investing in discovery and development outside of their companies via venture funds, accelerators, licensing, and acquisitions. Taken together, the companies involved in the ag merger talks control more than 50 percent of the seed market.

If the mergers go through, each group of partners could be in a position to sell other inputs that could potentially lead to additional combinations across the ag value chain.

As advocates for early stage ag innovation, the upcoming mergers leave many of us with questions about changes in investment strategies – both internal and external – once the Big 6 become the über 3.

We turned to two friends of Larta, and veterans in the field, Vonnie Estes, an industry consultant with over 30 years of experience, and Ron Meeusen, Managing Director of Cultivian Capital, to give us their views on the current environment around mergers, with specific focus on the signals to look for in terms of investment in innovation.

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