Layoffs & Technology Transfer In AgriTech

Mineral Transfers Its Technology To Driscoll, John Deere Layoff's, Tall Grass Ventures Inaugural Fund & More!

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We're excited to bring you the most recent updates and insights in agriculture technology.

In this issue, we explore groundbreaking developments, impactful partnerships, and innovative solutions driving the agri-tech sector forward.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 - 7 minutes

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
Mineral Transfers Its AI Technology To Driscoll

Alphabet's subsidiary, Mineral, transfer its technology to leading agribusiness companies such as Driscoll

Mineral Enters a New Phase in Agricultural Innovation

Mineral, a company dedicated to applying AI in agriculture, is transitioning into integrating its technologies directly into leading agribusinesses. This announcement, made by Elliott Grant, the company’s Founder and CEO, marks a significant shift in the company’s trajectory.

Transferring Technology for Broader Impact

Grant emphasized that Mineral’s mission has always been to make a meaningful, positive impact on the global food system. “We would regularly ask ourselves: ‘Is this the best way to maximize impact?’ and ‘Are we reaching the diversity of farmers we want to, worldwide?’” he explained.

Partnership with Driscoll’s

One significant collaboration has been with Driscoll’s, the world’s leading berry company. “Driscoll’s is the first agribusiness to receive Mineral technology,” Grant noted. Together, they developed AI tools for crop phenotyping, yield forecasting, quality inspections, and reducing food waste. These technologies are now integrated into Driscoll’s systems to support their sustainability efforts.

DISCOVER THE COMPANY
Creating AI Solutions For Greenhouses: The Story of Source

Rien Kamman (Right) & Ernst Van Bruggen (Left). Image provided by Source

Rien Kamman is the CEO and co-founder of Source.ag, a company providing AI solutions tailored for vegetable growers. Rien Kamman and his co-founder, Ernst van Bruggen, launched Source.ag in November 2020, driven by a shared vision of leveraging AI to address modern agricultural challenges.

Early Beginnings and Vision

Kamman and van Bruggen met during their studies and combined their expertise to establish Source.ag. Rien Kamman’s background includes a significant tenure at Boston Consulting Group, where he led data science teams developing custom AI software for global corporations. Kamman holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from TU Delft and an MBA from Columbia University.

Transforming Agriculture with AI

Source.ag’s core technology aims to provide growers with AI-powered solutions to manage and expand their farming operations efficiently. The company’s solutions, including the Source Plant App, Source Track, Source Irrigation Control, and Source Cultivate, are designed to digitize greenhouse operations, enhance data collection, and improve insights into cultivation to allow for smarter decision-making. Kamman explains, "We aim to empower growers and facilitate their work to ensure their success."

The Source Plant App helps to track plant measurements; Source Track offers a centralized platform to compare and analyze greenhouse data, Source Irrigation Control automates irrigation management for optimal crop growth, while Source Cultivate consolidates vital data, simulates plant growth and development based on real-time measurements, ensuring accurate yield forecasts, making the job easier for growers. "Our technology offers the ability to make future projections based on current data, helping growers plan better," Kamman states.

Expanding Global Footprint

Since its inception, Source.ag has expanded its reach to over 2,000 hectares of high-tech greenhouses across 15 countries. The software primarily focuses on critical crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. The team, which includes over 110 employees, collaborates closely with growers to create solutions that best fit their needs. This collaborative approach, according to Kamman, helps increase adoption rates.

Challenges and Adaptations

Implementing AI in agriculture presents several challenges. Recommendations based on historical data can vary significantly from year to year. However, Kamman notes that Source.ag’s technology can predict yields 3-4 weeks before harvest, aiding growers in contract negotiations and planning. "The use of AI is complicated as recommendations depend on historical data, but it helps predict yields and manage volatility," Kamman elaborates.

Future Outlook

Looking ahead, Kamman envisions a future where variable inputs, such as climate conditions and water use, become more volatile and expensive, posing challenges for growers. He believes technology will be crucial in optimizing operations, making them more predictable and efficient. "In 5-10 years, we expect variable inputs to be more volatile and expensive, making tech crucial for optimization," he says.

By 2030, Kamman aims for Source.ag to be a trusted partner for growers worldwide, helping them control yields and revenue across 1,000,000 hectares of greenhouses. "Our goal is to ensure that growers can have better insight into their greenhouse operations and yield, to control better their revenue making Source.ag a trusted partner globally," Kamman asserts.

Conclusion

Source.ag is positioned as a significant player in agricultural innovation, providing AI-driven solutions that empower growers and enhance productivity. Under Rien Kamman's leadership, the company is focused on transforming the agricultural landscape, ensuring sustainability, and fostering global growth. Kamman concludes, "We are committed to supporting growers in navigating the challenges of modern agriculture through innovative technology."

LAYOFFS
John Deere Announces Layoffs Affecting 610 Production Staff in Illinois and Iowa & Plans To Move Production in Mexico

According to a report by Fox Business, John Deere, the world’s largest seller of tractors and crop harvesters, has announced another wave of layoffs. The layoffs will affect around 610 production staff at plants in Illinois and Iowa.

Details of the Layoffs

The layoffs will affect approximately 280 workers at John Deere’s East Moline, Illinois plant, 230 employees at a factory in Davenport, Iowa, and about 100 production employees at the company’s Dubuque, Iowa plant. The layoffs will take effect on August 30 due to reduced demand for products and rising operational costs. John Deere stated that these changes are necessary to best position the company for the future.

Support Measures for Affected Workers

The affected workers will be offered Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB), which will cover about 95% of their weekly net pay for up to 26 weeks, depending on their years of service. Additionally, they will receive profit-sharing options and health benefits to support them during this transition.

Shift in Manufacturing Operations

John Deere will move the manufacturing of skid steer loaders and compact track loaders from its Dubuque facility to Mexico by the end of 2026 as part of their strategy to evolve the business model, address rising manufacturing costs, and improve operational efficiencies.

VENTURE FUND
Tall Grass Ventures Closes Inaugural Fund at $32M to Advance Agriculture and Food Sectors

Tall Grass Ventures (TGV), an early-stage venture capital firm focused on advancing agriculture and food globally, announced the successful close of its inaugural fund, totaling $32 million. The fund was upsized due to significant investor interest, reflecting confidence in TGV’s approach and potential impact on a sector vital to the Canadian and global economies.

Diverse and Committed Investor Base

Tall Grass Ventures Fund I attracted interest from a diverse range of investors, including Manitoba First Fund and Farm Credit Canada, leading institutional investors. Other limited partners include grain and livestock producers, financial service firms, private equity investors, technology founders, and executives from various sectors.

Strategic Investments in AgriTech

Tall Grass Ventures Fund I invests in pre-Series A technology companies in Canadian agriculture. So far, TGV has invested in 11 companies across gene editing, biological solutions, software, and hardware in specialty crops, plant-tissue sampling, and grain grading.

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INVESTMENTS IN R&D
Syngenta Announces 9.6M Euro Investment in Almería’s R&D Facilities

Image provided by Syngenta

Syngenta has announced an investment of 9.6 million euros to expand and equip its R&D facilities in El Ejido, Almería, with the latest technology. This follows the expansion of its research and development centers in El Ejido and Murcia last year, valued at 2.4 million euros.

Expanding Research Capabilities

The new funding aims to expand existing research lines and establish a new Plant Innovation Center. This facility will research various crops grown in greenhouses and outdoors. The goal is for the center to become a global reference in leafy horticultural crops, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and melon.

OTHER NEWS
Major Developments in AgTech: Tenacious Ventures Closes Second Fund, Biome Makers New Alliance, eAgronom & Aurea Imaging’s Funding, and More!

Detasseling Corn in Central Illinois

💰 Tenacious Ventures, a specialist agtech venture capital firm, has garnered $18 million in commitments for the first close of its second fund, with a target of $50 million, as reported by Startup Daily. Noteworthy investors include Tesla chair Robyn Denholm and RBA board member Carol Schwartz.

📉 In 2022, the European Union (EU) witnessed a significant decrease in the use of mineral fertilizers, with a total of 9.8 million tonnes of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers used in agricultural production. This marked a sharp decline of 10.3% compared to the previous year and a cumulative drop of 15.9% from the peak in 2017.

🎋 Biome Makers has been selected as a partner in an alliance to promote sustainable and profitable sugarcane production. This initiative includes collaboration with the Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the National Union of Cane Growers (UNC-CNPR), Syngenta, Bonsucro, and Biofábrica Siglo XXI.

🌱 Agrology, a Public Benefit Corporation, has partnered strategically with three leading produce growers: Bowles Farming Company, Braga Fresh Family Farms, and Taylor Farms. This collaboration aims to advance soil health as a fundamental aspect of farming’s future.

☀️ SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. announced that its technology has been chosen by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, for an innovative research and demonstration program. This initiative explores the potential of dual-use agrivoltaics, which combines agricultural production and solar energy generation on the same land, benefiting farmers across New Jersey.

🍇 VineView announced today the launch of its innovative PinPoint RTK Handheld GPS Receiver. This new device is tailored to optimize vineyard operations through precise field data collection.

🌾 Evogene subsidiary Lavie Bio Ltd., announced the commercial expansion of its bio-inoculant product, Yalos™, to winter wheat. Following successful trials, this expansion will provide winter wheat growers across the United States access to the product for the 2024-2025 season.

💴 eAgronom announced the successful completion of its Series A2 equity round, securing €10 million. This includes €4.2 million raised during a booster round last year, now converted into equity, plus an additional €5.8 million raised this year.

💵 Aurea Imaging, secured EUR 2.8M in its Series A funding round. The investment will help scale up its TreeScout technology and support the development of new applications. The investors include Pymwymic, ROM Utrecht Region, Knop Ventures, Goeie Grutten Impact Fonds, and BarUni Family Fund, bringing valuable expertise in agtech and impact investing.

🔊 In shaping the next European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP10), Euroseeds, along with 109 European associations representing key European RD&I stakeholders, urges EU Institutions to increase the current budget for FP10 significantly.

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