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  • AgTech Digest: Inari $103M Funding Round, North Dakota To Invest $160M & Square Roots 'Dark Growth' Initiative

AgTech Digest: Inari $103M Funding Round, North Dakota To Invest $160M & Square Roots 'Dark Growth' Initiative

Discover the latest news from the AgTech Industry this week.

Funding & Investments

Funding Round

Inari Secures $103 Million in Latest Funding Round

Inari has raised $103 million in a funding round, bringing its total equity raised to $575 million. The approach of the crop science company, which leverages AI-powered predictive design and advanced gene editing techniques to produce seeds that yield more with less, has garnered robust backing from existing and new investors. The funds will support Inari's mission to deliver nature-positive solutions to the market and strengthen its leadership and governance structures to amplify its impact on the agriculture sector.

Saga Robotics Raises $11.5M to Expand AI-Powered Farming Robots

Saga Robotics has raised $11.5 million in equity funding to support the growth of its flagship agricultural robot, Thorvald. The robot can reduce pesticide use, lower CO2 emissions, and combat plant diseases more effectively. The new capital will enable the company to expand its presence in the US vineyard sector, continue its growth in British strawberry farms, and further innovate tools and data services. The latest robot iteration, Thorvald 3, is set to enhance operational efficiency over larger areas and is equipped with high-intensity UV-C light for combating powdery mildew without pesticides.

Agrow Analytics Raises $703k to Advance Precision Irrigation

Agrow Analytics, a Spanish startup, has raised $703K in a seed funding round to enhance its precision technology designed to optimize water use in agriculture. The company leverages AI, satellite images, and IoT devices to automate precise irrigation recommendations, improve water efficiency, and enable real-time water use monitoring. The funding round will facilitate its international expansion and reinforce its commitment to combatting water scarcity through innovation. Agrow Analytics' technology provides a blueprint for achieving water security and replenishment strategies that are essential for the future of sustainable agriculture.

Investments From The National Science Foundation

North Dakota Awarded Up to $160M for AgTech Innovation by NSF

Five North Dakota organizations have been awarded up to $15 million over the next two years by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Regional Innovation Engines program, potentially $160 million over 10 years. The funding will support programs that address food insecurity and expand economic opportunities in the AgTech sector. The initiative is expected to improve food production, provide farmers and ranchers with tools to strengthen their operations, reduce costs, and improve yields, as well as create upskilling opportunities in agriculture and related fields. The FARMS program is a regional partnership that was selected from 188 concept outlines submitted across the U.S.

Plant Science

Supree’s Self-Drying Tomatoes Set New Standards

Supree is a new subsidiary of NRGene Technologies Ltd. that specializes in innovative fruit and vegetable varieties. Their flagship product is a range of semi-dried tomatoes that undergo a unique natural drying process, preserving essential vitamins and antioxidants while intensifying flavor. These tomatoes are versatile in culinary use and suitable for various industries. Supree targets premium B2B markets and aims to create a new category in the dried tomatoes market, with an estimated market potential of USD 1.5 billion by 2030. They have partnered with Tzabar Tech to enhance their production capabilities and bring technological advancements to the forefront. Supree's innovative approach to FoodTech is poised to make a significant impact in the global food market, focusing on health, flavor, and sustainability.

Lucent Bio’s Eco-Friendly, Microplastic-Free Seed Coating

Lucent BioSciences has launched Nutreos, a non-toxic, plant-based and biodegradable seed coating, free from microplastic pollution. Nutreos offers enhanced germination, early vigor, and root growth, leading to uniform crop establishment. The company is expanding its production capacity and collaborating with leading seed companies in co-development and trials of the Nutreos seed coating technology. The launch of Nutreos is a milestone in sustainable agriculture, demonstrating the company's commitment to environmental responsibility and innovation.

Square Roots’ “Dark Growth” Farming Initiative

Square Roots is launching a revolutionary program to transform indoor plant cultivation. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they aim to grow plants without light, drastically reducing energy demands for indoor vertical farming. This model allows for year-round production, pesticide-free crops, efficient resource use, and lower costs and carbon emissions. The technology could transform food production in regions threatened by climate change and pave the way for sustainable agriculture globally.

Light Bio Launches Bioluminescent Firefly Petunias in the U.S

Light Bio has launched Firefly Petunias, a groundbreaking category of bioluminescent plants, in the US with the support of NFX and Ginkgo Bioworks. The plants emit continuous and self-sustaining light due to the optimization of luminous mushroom genes, making them a unique aesthetic experience. The United States Department of Agriculture has approved the plants for cultivation and breeding, and they are priced at $29 per plant. Light Bio is set to distribute an initial batch of 50,000 units starting from April. This innovation has the potential to inspire widespread fascination with synthetic biology.

BioConsortia Develops Nitrogen-Fixing Products

BioConsortia, Inc. has developed nitrogen-fixing products that can replace synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, helping to balance crop productivity with ecological safety. Field trials have shown impressive results in various crops, including vegetables, broadening the market for BioConsortia's products. The company plans to collaborate with growers globally and attend the American Seed Trade Organization Vegetable and Flower Seed Trade Conference to showcase its commitment to sustainable agriculture.

Regulation & Certification

AUGA Group Secures U.S. Patent for Biomethane and Electric-Powered Tractor

AUGA Tech, UAB has secured a US patent for its AUGA M1 biomethane and electric-powered tractor. The company has taken a strategic approach to securing patents in Lithuania, the United States, and the Eurasian Patent Convention. The tractor's design allows for up to 12 hours of operation and simplifies the refueling process. The company aims to address the environmental impact of agricultural machinery and solve 100% of the emissions problem caused by the use of fossil fuels in tractors.

Breakthrough Institute Supports New Legislation to Enhance Agriculture Climate Research Coordination

A new legislation introduced by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) with Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) called the Improving Coordination of Agriculture Research and Data Act has received support from the Breakthrough Institute. This act proposes various initiatives to strengthen the federal agriculture climate research framework, including the formation of a scientific advisory committee, the creation of a Rural Climate Alliance Network, and a directive for the USDA to compile a report for Congress detailing the research needs of the agricultural sector. The Breakthrough Institute urges Congress to consider this legislation during the ongoing farm bill negotiations.

Corporate News

Collaboration

Louis Dreyfus Company Collaborates With Invaio

Invaio Sciences and Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) have joined forces to combat citrus greening disease in Brazilian citrus farms. The collaboration aims to promote sustainable farming practices and reduce chemical usage by up to 90% using Invaio's Trecise™ technology. LDC's expertise and knowledge in citrus farming will help enhance the sustainability of citrus cultivation. The partnership could set a precedent for tackling agricultural challenges through innovative and sustainable practices, reinforcing Brazil's commitment to economic, social, and environmental sustainability in agriculture.

New Product

Unveils Electric Agricultural Machine e-X1

Yanmar AG has introduced the e-X1, an electric drive compact agricultural machine, as part of their YANMAR GREEN CHALLENGE 2050 initiative. The e-X1 aims for zero emissions and quieter operation, making it suitable for various tasks. It uses crawlers for stability and ensures operator safety through remote control operation. Yanmar AG is considering the integration of autonomous driving features to enhance its safety and efficiency. The development of the e-X1 aligns with the growing trend in the agricultural industry towards sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies.

Sales

CH4 Global Starts Delivery of Methane-Reducing Cattle Feed

CH4 Global has announced the commercial deliveries of Methane Tamer™, a seaweed-based cattle feed supplement designed to reduce methane emissions by up to 90%. The product is made from Asparagopsis seaweed, and the company's investment in research and development has led to efficient and reliable growth techniques for Asparagopsis. The first commercial quantities of Methane Tamer™ were delivered to CirPro Australia, a cattle processor. The company is constructing the world’s first commercial-scale Asparagopsis seaweed cultivation facility in Louth Bay, South Australia, to produce enough seaweed to supply up to 30,000 cattle per day. CH4 Global aims to reduce CO2-equivalent emissions by a billion metric tons by the end of this decade.

Financial Performance

Corteva Agriscience Reports Financial Outcomes for Q4 & FY 2023

Corteva's adaptive strategies in the fluctuating agricultural market were reflected in the growth of the Seed segment and the strategic navigation of the Crop Protection segment. Although Q4 2023 saw a 3% decrease in net sales, the operating EBITDA showed a 4% increase, indicating effective cost control and strategic pricing efforts. Looking ahead to 2024, Corteva provided an optimistic outlook with a steady demand for grain, oilseeds, meat, and biofuels. Corteva remains focused on delivering differentiated products, enhancing technology offerings, and driving value for shareholders while prioritizing its value creation strategy, productivity, and cost discipline.

Read the complete report here.

ADAMA Latest Financial Performance for 2023

ADAMA Ltd. reported a decline in sales and adjusted EBITDA due to several factors such as reduced demand, pricing pressures, and adverse exchange rates. The company expects to shift from net income in 2022 to net loss in 2023 due to reduced operating profit and increased financial expenses. The adjusted net income for 2023 shows a significant deviation from the previous year. However, these financial estimates are preliminary and subject to change, and the final audited financial statements will be released on March 26, 2024.

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