We tell the stories of innovators at the intersection of agriculture and technology to answer the question: what really is agtech and why should you care?
What's the incentive? Drivers and barriers to turning soil carbon into a commodity
Experts and tech companies alike are claiming that soil carbon payments hold huge potential as a new revenue stream for farmers and a weapon against climate change. Yet, others say it's all hype. One thing is clear though: it's a confusing and rapidly evolving space, with new technologies and incentive schemes emerging weekly.
In this week's episode, we feature a panel of experts from across tech, policy, and corporate agribusiness. We tackle issues and barriers in soil carbon, and the potential benefits and consequences of moving from practice-based to outcomes-based approaches to measurement and verification. We also discuss why a focus on accuracy in soil carbon measurement is actually holding the industry back, as well as the role of big food companies in soil health.
On the panel:
•Richard Heath - Executive Director, Australian Farm Institute
•Rob Waterworth - CEO, FLINTpro
•Paul Scoullar - Strategic Sourcing Manager, Mars Petcare
This episode, brought to you by the AgThentic Group, was recorded at a live AusAgritech Meetup sponsored by FoodBytes! by Rabobank. For resources from this episode, visit our website.
The agtech adoption dilemma: Irrigation
We have the technology to measure and improve water efficiency on farms, yet adoption remains low- why is this?
This episode explores our hypothesis in our recent report: that the problem is not with the technology, but rather with a limited understanding of the nuances of farmer psychology.
We explore how tech developers, both startups and incumbent firms, can design business models that encourage irrigation tech adoption. We also discuss how farmers can make sure they're getting the information they need to implement irrigation technology that will have a positive impact on the bottom line.
This episode features:
•Inge Bisconer - Managing Member, Surf 'N Earth Enterprises and Director, Irrigation Association
•Shane Thomas - agronomist and creator of Upstream Ag Insights
•Euan Friday - Director and Chief Investment Officer, Kilter Rural
•Matthew Pryor - co-founder, Tenacious Ventures and partner, Agthentic Group
For more information, check out our free report: The Agtech Adoption Dilemma: Irrigation, made in collaboration with Upstream Ag Insights. You can also visit our website for more resources from the episode.
Can a small non-profit farm near NYC change the food system?
The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture has a lofty mission: to change the food system. It's an idyllic 400 acre farming property just north of New York City. It features an on-site, partner restaurant called Blue Hill, which has been made famous by chef Dan Barber and his book The Third Plate. Stone Barns also runs education programs and regenerative agriculture trials in crops and livestock, and welcomes the public to watch how it's all done.
Jason Grauer is their Crops Director. He left his career in asset management to follow his passion for what he calls "soil-based" agriculture. His research focuses on seed genetics and organic seed trials to improve soil health, biodiversity, and taste. But how can a small, non-profit farm influence practices in large, commercial farms, let alone the entire food system?
In this episode, Jason talks about:
•How he managed the transition from asset management to regenerative farming
•The importance of seed genetics and the creation of a digital seed database
•The experiments Stone Barns is running to make a difference to the broader food system
For more from Jason and our insights from this episode, check out our website.
Busting food and farming myths - Rob Paarlberg on a scientific approach to food policy
In a world where food and farming are highly polarized issues, Rob Paarlberg's approach is to follow the evidence. This has earned him great respect, but also means his well-researched views tend to land him in no-man's land between traditional industry views and the new food movement.
For instance, Rob supports modern commercial farming and the use of fertilizers; however, he's not a blanket supporter of 'Big Ag'. He is highly critical of the state of animal welfare in modern American livestock production, but he's not against eating meat. As an author and Associate in the Sustainability Science program at the Harvard Kennedy School, Rob is renowned for debunking the popular myths about food and farming.
In his latest book, "Resetting the Table: Straight Talk About the Food We Grow and Eat, Rob argues that food policy, rather than farm policy, should be the focus for reform when it comes to the American food system.
In this episode, Rob discusses his latest book and:
•Why returning to the 'old ways' of farming is not sustainable
•How US farm subsidies make food more, not less, expensive
•The cause of the obesity epidemic in America (and the food policies that could actually make a difference).
•Why the agriculture industry needs to improve its treatment of animals (and the relatively low costs involved).
For insights and resources, visit our website.
How can big companies like Coca-Cola impact the sustainability of our food system?
There's always going to be some skepticism about the motives of 'Big Food' companies. But, for reasons such as risk management, consumer pressures, and more, the Coca-Cola Company is becoming more focused on the sustainability of its supply chain.
While Coca-Cola doesn't deal directly with farmers, its interest in how products are sourced and grown is increasing. In this episode Ulrike Sapiro, Senior Director of Global Water Stewardship and Sustainable Agriculture at the Coca-Cola Company, discusses:
•The role Coca-Cola can play in taking- and instilling- ownership of sustainability outcomes in its supply chain.
•The role of pre-competitive collaborations in catalyzing and piloting sustainability projects in countries such as Brazil, Australia and India.
•How Coca-Cola is investing in innovation and new technology to find sustainability solutions.
For more insights and links from this episode, visit our website. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
What it's REALLY like to work in an agtech startup
If you're looking at a career in agtech, chances are you're going to spend time working with startups. But what's it like to work IN an agtech startup?
A fast-paced environment, no red tape, significant responsibility, and a big vision may come to mind. But there can be downsides, too, such as long hours and setbacks due to the inevitable trial and error that comes with bringing new innovations to the world.
The agtech industry is increasingly drawing top talent from all different industries and backgrounds. This episode explores why there are opportunities for everyone- from engineers to electricians to artists- to use their skills within high-growth agtech startups that focus on building the food supply chains of the future.
So, whether you're just starting on your career path or mid-way through, tune in to learn if working in an agtech startup is right for you. Featuring:
•Soroush Pour - Head of Engineering at Vow and 15th employee at Plaid (Visa recently tried to acquire Plaid for $5b+)
•Alissa Welker - Farmer Acquisition and Engagement at Steward and 60th employee at Farmers Business Network
•Kerryn Thomas - Head of Operations at Goterra and former electrical technician in the mining and concrete industries.
For more links and resources from this episode, visit our website.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great regen ah coverage
Thanks for the excellent information and various perspectives on regen ag/sustainable practices. This is a fantastic resource.
I’ve really enjoyed listening to your regen ag podcasts. A array of views were presented and challenged. Keep up the good work! Pip
Quality resources and conversations
Great topics, resources and conversations