🌾 AgTech Developments

Microsoft Purchases Soil-Based Carbon Credits, KWS New Research & Breeding Facility In Brazil, YASAI's Merger With GreenState & Much More!

Good morning readers!

Welcome to the latest edition of AgTech Digest, where we bring you the freshest updates from the world of agriculture technology!

Microsoft Purchases 40,000 Soil-Based Carbon Credits From Indigo Ag

Indigo Ag has announced a significant agreement with Microsoft. The tech giant will purchase 40,000 agricultural soil-based carbon credits from Indigo Ag’s third carbon crop, issued in February.

Verification and Protocol

The carbon credits purchased by Microsoft are verified and issued by the Soil Enrichment Protocol of the Climate Action Reserve, one of the world’s most trusted independent carbon registries. This verification ensures the credits’ robustness, integrity, and durability, which are critical factors for buyers seeking reliable carbon offsets.

Supporting Climate Action Goals

Microsoft selected Indigo Ag’s carbon program to integrate soil carbon removals into its climate action portfolio. This initiative supports Microsoft’s ambitious goal to become carbon-negative by 2030. The agreement underscores the growing demand for robust, science-backed agricultural soil-based credits and highlights the increasing maturity of the voluntary carbon market.

Leadership and Commitment

Dean Banks, CEO at Indigo Ag, commented: “Today’s announcement is a major milestone for Indigo’s Carbon program and our increasing range of ag-based sustainability solutions. Microsoft is a leader in corporate climate action and a highly influential player in carbon removals. We are committed to supporting the transition to a more resilient and sustainable agriculture system.”

ISIFARMER: Innovation and Inclusion in Vertical Urban Agriculture with Angel Leo-Revilla

Image provided by ISIFARMER

Business Model:

In the heart of Madrid, in the Tetuán district, ISIFARMER operates a Pilot Urban Agriculture Center, specializing in the cultivation of microgreens and sprouts. These high-value products generated sales exceeding 9 million euros in the 2022-2023 campaign, demonstrating the market potential of urban agriculture. “The success of our Tetuán Pilot Center shows that urban agriculture can be both sustainable and economically beneficial,” comments Angel Leo-Revilla, one of the founders.

Urban Agriculture for Everyone:

Starting from the concept of “Think Global, Act Local,” ISIFARMER makes urban agriculture accessible to everyone, creating an environment where each individual contributes their valuable talent to the cultivation of healthy foods. Through the “cofarming” model and Urban Agriculture Contractual Agreements, ISIFARMER provides technology, knowledge, and services to support this emerging sector, strengthening the local economy and promoting environmental sustainability. “Every ISIFARMER product purchased by consumers directly supports our vision of accessible and inclusive urban agriculture,” comments Angel Leo-Revilla.

Technology and Automation:

ISIFARMER develops advanced platforms that incorporate computer vision, machine learning, and expert algorithms, facilitating nearly autonomous management of urban crops. These vertical urban agriculture centers are not just growing spaces but are integrated ecosystems that improve the quality of production and operational efficiency. ISIFARMER’s advanced technologies not only optimize every aspect of urban agriculture but also significantly reduce the manual labor load, making the process more efficient and less burdensome. “Our advanced technologies are essential for optimizing every aspect of urban agriculture, making the process more efficient and less labor-intensive,” the founder asserts. Additionally, the introduction of these sophisticated technological systems allows for better traceability and quality control of agricultural products, ensuring that every stage of production is precisely monitored to maximize yield and sustainability.

“Integra & Impulsa”:

ISIFARMER has recently launched the “Integra & Impulsa” program, aimed at enhancing employability for people with various types of physical and intellectual disabilities. This program represents a significant step forward in social inclusion, allowing these individuals to actively participate in the urban development of vertical agriculture and contribute to sustainable development. The program not only provides job opportunities but also specialized training and ongoing support, ensuring that participants can grow professionally within the industry. “With ‘Integra & Impulsa’, we demonstrate our commitment to a more inclusive and sustainable society,” states the founder. Through this initiative, ISIFARMER seeks to break down traditional employment barriers, creating a work environment that respects and values individual differences, promoting a business model that integrates deep social values into its daily operations.

Expansion and Opportunities:

With four urban farmers already integrated into the network and six urban agriculture contracts in place, ISIFARMER plans expansion. An investment opportunity of 350,000€ is currently open to consolidate the project's current phase and prepare for the expansion of new vertical urban agriculture centers in Spain and Portugal, economically validating the business model before its large-scale implementation. “We are paving the way for a new era of urban agriculture, and with the right support, we can take this innovative model to cities worldwide,” concludes the founder.

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KWS Inaugurates New Research and Breeding Station in Brazil

Image provided by KWS

As part of its international growth strategy, seed specialist KWS has opened a new research and breeding station for vegetables in Uberlândia, located in the western part of the Minas Gerais state in Brazil. The station, which focuses on breeding tomatoes, melons, and watermelons, was inaugurated with an official ceremony attended by approximately 100 visitors.

How Large Is The Facility?

The new station spans 13 hectares, comprising warehouses, offices, 3,800 square meters of greenhouses, and 7 hectares of open field area. The team, consisting of around 60 research experts, breeders, and farm staff, is set to expand the greenhouse area in the coming years to support phytopathology activities.

Leadership Commentary

Eduardo Albonico, National Sales Manager Brazil for KWS Vegetables, added, “This new investment from KWS in Uberlândia combines experience and innovation with a long-term goal for delivering added value with our varieties to this tropical and subtropical country with its challenging conditions.”

Strategic Expansion in Brazil

In addition to the Uberlândia site, KWS Vegetables operates an office building in Campinas and conducts breeding activities in Petrolina. Petrolina, situated in the northeastern region of Brazil, is a key area for melon cultivation, serving both domestic and export markets in the US and Europe.

Full article here.

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Yasai Joins Forces with GreenState in Strategic Integration

Image provided by Yasai

Yasai’s Product Line To Become Part of GreenState’s Umbrella

This merger brings together two Swiss pioneers in vertical farming: Yasai, founded in 2020, which supplies Coop and other clients, and GreenState, founded in 2021, whose products have been successfully sold in Manor stores since January. Yasai’s brand and operations will continue unchanged, with GreenState’s products from Neuhausen also being marketed under the established Yasai brand.

Combining Forces for Enhanced Capabilities

Stefano Augstburger, Chairman of Yasai, remarked, “The integration of Yasai into GreenState is a classic win-win situation: we gain access to liquidity and growth potential, while GreenState leaps forward in realized production capacity and sales volume.”

Arsenije Grgur, CEO and Chairman of GreenState added, “By integrating Yasai, we expand our production capacity and simultaneously gain an established sales channel. Additionally, we can implement our approach to the technical management of indoor farms in an established production environment.”

Full article here.

Bayer Crop Science Aims to Launch Ten Blockbuster Products to Support Global Agriculture

Image provided by Bayer

Bayer plans to launch ten blockbuster agricultural products over the next decade, each projected to generate over 500 million euros, contributing to an R&D pipeline valued at over 32 billion euros. The announcement was made at Bayer’s 2024 Crop Science Innovation update in Chicago.

Leadership Commentary

Frank Terhorst, Head of Strategy and Sustainability at Bayer’s Crop Science Division, emphasized the need for innovation in agriculture: “Agriculture needs to change for the better, there’s no relying on what has been working in the past. We deliver a combination of unmatched innovation that goes hand in hand with key regenerative practices to help address two of the biggest challenges of our time: ensuring food security for a growing population and fighting climate change.”

R&D Pipeline Driving Transformation

  1. Smart Technologies and Innovations: Bayer's Preceon Smart Corn System can cover over 220 million acres globally with peak sales exceeding 1.5 billion euros. New insect control traits for corn aim to reduce insecticide use and enhance biodiversity.

  2. Expanding Soybean and Rice Systems: Bayer plans to expand the DSR system to 2.5 million acres in India by 2030 to support smallholder farmers.

  3. Transforming Wheat Cultivation: Bayer is developing Hybrid Wheat for sustainable production and global food security, targeting launches by the end of the decade.

  4. CropKey and New Crop Protection Products: Bayer introduced CropKey, leading to Icafolin, a herbicide with over 750 million euros in peak sales potential, expected in 2028. Plenexos, a broad-spectrum insecticide, has a peak sales potential of 500 million euros.

  5. Leveraging Biologicals and AI: Bayer is expanding its Biologicals R&D through partnerships and anticipates significant sales growth by 2035. Digital technologies and AI, including tools like Climate FieldView and Microsoft collaborations, are integral to Bayer's strategy.

Full article here.

Advancements in Agriculture and Food Technology: Global Investments, Breakthroughs, and Strategic Acquisitions

Corn growing in the field. I was attracted by the shape of the fresh leaf growth and the silhouette against the sky.

💰 The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has announced its investment in The Yield Lab Latam’s Opportunity Fund. Through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the GEF has committed $6 million to this venture capital fund, which is in the final fundraising stage.

🌱 Sustainable Green Team (OTC: SGTM) has announced the completion of a binding Letter of Intent (LOI) for the acquisition of Regen Hubs North America, Inc., Regen Hubs International, Inc., and HumiRock, LLC, along with their affiliates.

🇨🇦 NRGene Canada, NRGene’s Canadian subsidiary, announced the opening of the North American Insect Center (NAIC). This research center for collaborative innovation was established with the Swiss technology group Bühler.

🌽 Picketa Systems announced the expansion of its LENS system into 13 states across the United States. This innovative real-time crop management technology is set to transform how agronomists and farmers manage their crops by providing unparalleled insights and efficiency.

💵 AgMission™, a global initiative co-founded by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), has partnered with PepsiCo to award three grants totaling $6.7 million to researchers in Australia, Mexico, and Canada.

🧬 Cibus, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBUS) announced a significant breakthrough with the successful gene editing of Canola to enhance its Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE) trait. This development is expected to be the first NUE gene edits in a major crop in North America.

🐄 CH4 Global Inc. and CirPro Australia have announced the successful processing of the first group of cattle fed with CH4 Global’s methane-reducing feed additive, Methane Tamer™.

🌾 Researchers from Lin et al. (2024) have made a significant breakthrough in understanding the genetic basis of Sclerotinia stem rot (SSR) resistance in oilseed rape. SSR, caused by the necrotrophic fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is a devastating disease affecting several major oil-producing crops.

🤝 IUNU and Crop Convergence announced a collaboration to advance innovation in greenhouse technology. This partnership is a significant step in IUNU’s mission to elevate industry standards through partnerships and integrations, aiming to introduce advancements in controlled environment agriculture (CEA).

🌱 Deloitte has announced an expanded global collaboration with dsm-firmenich, innovators in nutrition, health, and beauty, to foster a more sustainable food system.

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