Partnering For Regenerative Agriculture 🌱

Expanding Sustainable Farming Practices Across Eastern Europe

Hello there, from Amsterdam!

In this week’s AgTech Digest, we report on several exciting developments in the industry, including a new partnership in regenerative agriculture in Europe, several advancements in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), and our featured company of the week: Groundwork BioAg.

REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE
ADM & Bayer Expand Collaboration to Promote Regenerative Agriculture in Europe

Who Is Partnering?

ADM (NYSE: ADM) and Bayer have announced the extension of their collaboration to promote regenerative agricultural practices in Europe. This initiative seeks to drive the adoption of sustainable farming methods to curb carbon emissions, increase biodiversity, and improve soil health.

What is the purpose of this partnership?

In the next phase of the program, ADM and Bayer will expand their efforts to include a wider range of crops and extend geographically across Eastern Europe. Farmers participating in the program will receive financial and technical support to implement qualifying regenerative practices, and ADM will compensate participating farmers for each qualifying hectare. In addition to financial support, farmers will receive agronomic guidance from specialized professionals.

Commentary of leadership

Candy Siekmann, Director of Climate Smart Agriculture Origination at ADM, emphasized the importance of this initiative: “Regenerative agriculture is foundational to our leadership in sustainability and decarbonization, and rolling out a regenerative agriculture program in Poland is an exciting next step in our efforts. Our own research shows that a significant majority of consumers would be more likely to trust and purchase from retailers and brands that implement regenerative agriculture practices, and by coming together with great partners like Bayer, we’re helping farmers – who are at the heart of our business – meet that demand. We’re looking forward to working with Bayer to promote an economically attractive model, where business and farmers can work together to build a more resilient, sustainable supply chain with a lower carbon footprint.”

DISCOVER THE COMPANY
Pioneering Mycorrhizal Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture

Image provided by Groundwork Bioag

The Genesis of Groundwork BioAg

Founded in 2014, Groundwork BioAg emerged as a key player in the agricultural biotechnology sector. The company achieved a milestone by developing cost-effective mycorrhizal inoculants, addressing a need for sustainable soil health solutions. Dr. Yossi Kofman, the CEO and co-founder, is an experienced entrepreneur passionate about sustainable farming and climate change solutions. His background in founding successful Israeli start-ups laid the foundation for Groundwork BioAg's approach.

"Mycorrhiza, often called the 'Queen of Biologicals,' is vital for healthy soil and serves as a primary pathway for carbon sequestration," Kofman explains. The company's flagship product, Rootella®, represents decades of research and development, offering highly concentrated mycorrhizal inoculants intended to enhance crop productivity, soil fertility, and plant stress resistance while reducing fertilizer usage.

Expanding Global Reach and Crop Applications

Groundwork BioAg's influence spans 17 countries, including major agricultural regions such as the U.S., Brazil, India, and China. Rootella is applied to various crops, from soybeans, corn, wheat, and barley to vegetables, rice, sugar cane, peanuts, trees, nursery crops, tubers, and bulbs. According to Kofman, "This year alone, Rootella will be used on over 3.5 million acres."

In January 2024, the company launched the Rootella Carbon program in the U.S., which is described as a pioneering mycorrhizal carbon credit initiative. This program aims to create a sustainable revenue stream for farmers by leveraging Rootella to permanently sequester carbon in the soil.

Enhancing Productivity and Sustainability

Groundwork BioAg's production capabilities are intended to cost-effectively support large-scale agricultural demands. Mycorrhizal networks established in the rhizosphere foster a symbiotic environment, enhancing nutrient and water uptake and reducing the need for fertilizers. Kofman notes that mycorrhizae "also improve phosphorus solubilization, potentially cutting phosphorus fertilizer requirements by up to 50%."

Beyond nutrient management, mycorrhizae play a role in carbon sequestration and storage, which can boost soil organic carbon (SOC) levels, a key indicator of soil health. Kofman explains, "Up to 60% of all plant-derived SOC can be attributed to mycorrhizae, with a portion remaining stable even after decades of tillage. This stability is highly valuable in voluntary carbon credit markets, providing farmers a lucrative opportunity to sell carbon credits."

Addressing Carbon Sequestration and Credits

The industry recognizes carbon sequestration as a nature-based solution for Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). However, debates persist regarding what constitutes a premium carbon credit and the best methods for measuring and selling these credits to benefit farmers. Groundwork BioAg aims to set a high standard with the Rootella Carbon program, ensuring verified, premium carbon credits.

Kofman emphasizes, "We made the Rootella Carbon program easy for farmers—Rootella Carbon farmers simply apply Rootella during planting and maintain a minimal number of control plots. Groundwork BioAg handles all the project development tasks, including paperwork, soil testing, credit verification, and sales, returning up to 70% of net proceeds directly to farmers."

Vision for the Future

Looking ahead to 2030, Groundwork BioAg envisions a future where affordable mycorrhizal inoculants are available to farmers worldwide, contributing to climate change mitigation. The Rootella Carbon program is a part of this vision, aiming to remove gigatons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere. Kofman states, "This ambitious goal not only addresses climate change but also provides farmers with new revenue streams and core benefits, enhancing the sustainability and productivity of their farming practices."

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NEW PRODUCT
Canopy Farm Management Launches Canopy Compass

Image provided by Canopy Farm Management

Canopy Farm Management (Canopy) this week announced the launch of Canopy Compass, a web-based crop suitability mapping and farm analysis tool. This innovative tool is designed to support farmers in transitioning to regenerative agriculture by identifying optimal locations for perennial crops across U.S. farmland.

Importance of Perennial Crops

Perennial crops, with their extensive root systems, require more thoughtful consideration than annual row and vegetable crops when determining their ideal growing locations. These crops play a vital role in ecosystem health by supporting wildlife and pollinators, restoring soil and water quality, and storing carbon. Kevin Wolz, PhD, CEO of Canopy Farm Management, emphasized the dual benefits of these crops: “First, they can provide a whole new source of revenue for farmers and landowners. Second, they are good for the planet, sequestering carbon and holding soil in place. Canopy Compass enables access to the latest, best-in-class approach, developed by scientists and industry experts.”

Partnership with the Savanna Institute

Developed in collaboration with the Savanna Institute, a nonprofit agroforestry research organization, Canopy Compass leverages the most comprehensive and scientifically robust crop suitability maps available today. The tool features more than 90 maps from over a dozen sources, all freely accessible on the site. These maps provide critical data to farmers and landowners, serving as a crucial first step in evaluating new alternatives for their land.

PARTNERSHIP
Leaficient Partners With Sollum Technologies

Image provided by Leaficient

Sollum Technologies has announced a strategic partnership with Leaficient, specializing in precision plant measurement and lighting control technologies. The collaboration aims to advance lighting strategies and recipes by integrating precise plant growth data into Sollum’s algorithms, enabling real-time learning, adaptation, and optimization of cultivation processes.

Integration of Real-Time Plant Data

Leaficient provides continuous 24/7 real-time monitoring of plant production and health, adjusting lighting profiles according to plant needs. By incorporating Leaficient’s precise plant growth data into Sollum’s algorithms, the partnership seeks to create lighting strategies that learn and adapt to optimize cultivation in real-time. This integration is designed to tailor lighting to the plants’ requirements at every growth stage, enhancing productivity and efficiency.

Technological Innovations

Leaficient’s advanced computer vision technology offers detailed leaf-level tracking of plant stress and photosynthetic capability. This approach allows for precisely customizing lighting profiles, optimizing growth conditions while minimizing operational costs. The primary goal is to increase growth efficiency to produce higher yields and reduce energy consumption. Leveraging Leaficient’s measurement capabilities, Sollum’s dynamic lighting systems aim to provide growers with enhanced control and efficiency in agricultural operations.

OTHER NEWS
Major Developments in AgTech: CEA Census, Zespri Pilots, and New Partnerships Lead the Way

Detasseling Corn in Central Illinois

💭 Agritecture and CEAg World, a Meister Media Worldwide business venture, have partnered to conduct the world’s largest Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Census. Now in its fourth year, this initiative aims to gather comprehensive and accurate data from growers worldwide, contributing to a detailed global view of the CEA industry. Discover the survey here.

💰 Zespri, a leading global kiwifruit marketer, has announced the launch of its first three pilot projects under the newly established ZAG innovation fund. These pilots will focus on enhancing the color consistency of RubyRed kiwifruit, tracking the movement of kiwifruit bins, and exploring the use of biochar in kiwifruit orchards.

💧 At the recent GreenTech Amsterdam event, Ridder and Source.ag marked a significant achievement in their partnership, focused on providing growers with autonomous climate and irrigation control. This collaboration has advanced AI-driven solutions within the agriculture sector.

🤝 Cal.net, a California broadband provider, and Emergent Connext, specializing in wireless technologies for agriculture, have launched an Internet-of-Things (IoT) network solution for AgTech in California’s Central Valley. This partnership addresses the connectivity gap in agricultural fields and rural communities.

👨‍🌾 Pattern Ag announced its expansion into the Delta region and the addition of advanced predictive analytics for cotton diseases and nematode pressure to its Complete Bio panel. This enhanced service is now available to farmers, offering improved detection of soil-borne pests and pathogens critical for cotton production.

🖥️ Gardin, an innovator in optical phenotyping technology, is now available to growers using Ridder climate computers. This strategic integration marks a significant advancement in horticultural production, empowering growers with real-time photosynthesis insights to monitor plant health, measure farm productivity, and optimize their climate strategies.

🤖 Source.ag, a provider of AI solutions for fruit and vegetable growers, has announced the release of Source Cultivate, an AI-based tool designed to offer accurate yield forecasting up to eight weeks before harvest. This product follows the launch of Source Track and Source Irrigation Control, further expanding Source.ag’s suite of AI-driven agricultural solutions.

💵 In a concerted effort to achieve agricultural self-sufficiency, the African Development Bank Group, the government of Ethiopia, the Netherlands, OCP-Africa, and the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) have launched the Climate Resilient Wheat Value Chain Development (CREW) Project. This $94 million initiative aims to transform Ethiopia from a wheat importer into a self-sufficient producer and exporter.

💴 The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has announced $10.2 million in new grants to aid agricultural producers in implementing voluntary conservation practices across 14 states. These grants are part of the Conservation Partners Program and will be matched with more than $4.9 million in contributions, bringing the total conservation impact to $15.1 million.

🇳🇱 Infinite Acres, a technology-focused subsidiary of the American vertical farming company 80 Acres Farms, has announced the opening of a groundbreaking research center at its Dutch headquarters. This facility, known as the Infinite Acres Experience Center, is set to become a hub for industrial innovation and sustainable agricultural solutions.

👨‍💼 FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC) has announced significant changes in its leadership. The Board of Directors has appointed Pierre Brondeau as chief executive officer and chairman. This follows the resignation of Mark Douglas, who stepped down after over 14 years with the company. Alongside this change, Ronaldo Pereira has been appointed president of FMC Corporation.

🌱 BiOWiSH Technologies, Inc. has announced that its BiOWiSH® Crop Liquid has received regulatory approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This certification marks a significant milestone for the company, enabling the sale and use of its innovative agricultural product in Canada.

🌾 Savannah has launched RiceReach® FullPage® in India, aiming to revolutionize agricultural practices with this comprehensive rice cropping system designed for direct-seeded rice (DSR). The application integrates SmartRice® genetics, SQUAD™ seed treatment, IMI herbicide tolerance trait, and ADAMA’s Vezir herbicide to maximize crop performance.

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