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What our Innovators Are Reading Right Now

Posted on October 09, 2017 10:38 AM by WGCIT

United Fresh and Western Growers jointly promote recall insurance 

Cathy Siegner, fooddive.com

  • Western Growers and the United Fresh Produce Association recently launched Western Growers Shield to help manage client companies' exposure to the costs of a potential food recall, according to a news release.

  • It is difficult to estimate how much a food recall might cost a company, particularly if it involves illnesses, or even deaths, and there may be downstream impacts on other firms that could drive up the final tally.



‘Corporate industrial food sucks’: Highlights from NYC AgTech Week 2017

How can we grow more food in cities?

That was the seemingly simple question tackled by innovators, developers, investors and thought-leaders in New York last week. And the proposed answers were anything but simple.

Over the course of NYC Agtech Week, attendees from across the globe had the opportunity to attend workshops, learn about investment strategy and share in local food and spirits. There were hands-on experiences with everything from hyper-controlled, in-home grow setups to the sun and soil of area community gardens.



How John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment For A More Sustainable Future

ADELE PETERS, Fast Company

John Deere Labs, which opened its doors in the spring, made its first major deal on September 6. The company spent $305 million to acquire Blue River Technology, a startup with computer vision and machine learning technology that can identify weeds–making it possible to spray herbicides only where they’re needed. The technology reduces chemical use by about 95%, while also improving yield.



Agtech To Yield More M&A In Coming Year

Adam Putz, PitchBook

Deere's acquisition of Blue River also bucks the downward trend in agtech M&A. The recent period of record VC investment in agtech has coincided with a precipitous drop in corporate M&A in the same space over the same period. Indeed, VC investment in agtech has surpassed completed M&A deal value for two consecutive years in the US. And the wave of consolidation at the top of Big Ag—represented by the deals between Dow and DuPont (announced in December 2015), ChemChina and Syngenta (February 2016), Bayer and Monsanto (May 2016)—has played a major role in triggering that change.



GM Apples That Don’t Brown to Reach U.S. Shelves This Fall

Andrew Rosenblum, MIT Technology Review

A U.S. synthetic-biology conglomerate plans to begin marketing genetically modified apples this fall but won’t label them as GMOs.

The so-called Arctic apples are genetically altered to suppress browning and may be offered for sale as bagged slices in up to 400 stores in the Midwest and Southern California, according to the company. The launch is the first significant test of a GMO whose modification is meant to appeal to consumers, rather than help farmers increase production.



Cannabis Lawyer Turned Operator - Gavin Kogan

Brandon Davis, Infused Show

In this episode, Brandon welcomes Gavin Kogan of Grupo Flor to the show. Gavin is a former attorney, co-founder of Indus Holdings, and helped bring Dixie Elixirs to the California market. Brandon and Gavin dive deep into Grupo Flor's family of cannabis companies. These include Grupo Properties, Flor Cultivation, 710 Combinator, AG Pistil, and much more. Tune in, listen up, and get acquainted with one of the top operators in the cannabis industry.



A Field Farmed Only by Drones 

Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker

The Hands Free Hectare team envisions a future in which farmers are fleet managers, programming their vehicles from a central mission control and using the time saved to focus on areas that need extra attention. “The actual driving of a tractor—I didn’t miss that at all,” Abell said. “And, by not spending all your time going in a straight line on auto-steer, it gives you more time to learn about your crop and hopefully manage it better.” So far, he said, the response among farmers has been generally enthusiastic; most of the reticence appears to come from the younger, early-career crowd. “The older guys that have been sat on a tractor for the last thirty years, seeing that it’s not the best use of their time—they appreciate it more,” Abell said.



Larta Institute Wins Commercialization Contract with Department of Energy in Mission to ‘Feed, Fuel & Heal World’

LOUISA BURWOOD-TAYLOR, agfundernews.com

Larta Institute, the LA-based commercialization origination and organizer of agtech’s longest running conference the Ag Innovation Showcase, is moving into new territory after winning a contract from the US Department of Energy (DOE)….The contract will further Larta’s mission to “feed, fuel and heal the world” and adds to its existing CAPs with the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, said Shukla.