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  • AgTech Digest: Varaha Bags a Series A, Trace Genomics Series B, CNH Invests in Bem Agro & More!

AgTech Digest: Varaha Bags a Series A, Trace Genomics Series B, CNH Invests in Bem Agro & More!

Dive into this week's top stories in agricultural technology, funding achievements, strategic partnerships, and more.

Welcome to this edition of Agtech Digest, where we explore groundbreaking advancements, significant funding rounds, and strategic collaborations in the agricultural technology sector.

Funding News

Varaha Banks Series A Funding: Varaha's impressive $8.7 million Series A funding round, spearheaded by RTP Global with support from Omnivore, Orios, Norinchukin Bank, AgFunder, and Octave Wellbeing Economy Fund, marks a significant vote of confidence from investors. Through its pioneering MRV platform, Varaha utilizes cutting-edge remote sensing and machine learning technologies alongside rigorous scientific research to quantify greenhouse gas sequestration and reductions accurately. This innovative approach to carbon credit generation is already making waves, with Varaha's operations expanding over 700,000 acres across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Kenya. The firm's diversified project portfolio, boasting the sale of over 230,000 carbon credits to major global companies, highlights its growing impact on promoting a greener future. The infusion of new funds will further bolster Varaha's technological and scientific prowess and drive its expansion into new geographies to meet the surging demand for high-quality carbon credits.

WeedOUT Secures USD 8.1 Million in Funding: WeedOUT's recent funding round of USD 8.1 million, backed by Fulcrum Global Capital, Bunge Ventures, and Clay Capital, underscores the agriculture industry's belief in the company's groundbreaking green solution for combating herbicide-resistant weeds—a growing threat to global food security. WeedOUT's innovative approach, targeting the reproductive systems of resistant weeds, presents a novel and eco-friendly solution to a longstanding agricultural challenge. Following promising trials in the US and plans for further expansion, WeedOUT's technology aims to redefine weed management strategies, boost crop yields, and reduce the dependency on chemical herbicides, contributing significantly to sustainable agricultural practices.

CNH Ventures Invests in Bem Agro: CNH Ventures' strategic investment in Bem Agro, a Brazilian startup specializing in AI-driven agronomic mapping reports, underscores CNH's commitment to advancing agricultural technology and sustainable farming practices. This partnership is poised to enhance decision-making for farmers by optimizing field operations, resource allocation, and yield improvement, contributing to increased machine performance, productivity, and cost efficiency. Leveraging a commercial partnership of over five years, CNH plans to introduce Bem Agro’s innovative solutions across its brands in Brazil, Indonesia, and Thailand, aiming to expand its precision agriculture services in these regions. The investment, driven by positive feedback from CNH's dealer network and customers, highlights the critical role of customer engagement in fostering innovation and strategic growth.

Trace Genomics Raises $10.5M in Series B Funding: Trace Genomics' successful Series B funding round of $10.5 million, led by S2G Ventures and Ajax Strategies with participation from Rabo Ventures, marks a significant milestone in the company's mission to advance sustainable agriculture and farmer profitability through cutting-edge technology. CEO Poornima Parameswaran highlights the funding's role in expanding commercial growth and broadening access to Trace's soil DNA intelligence solutions, which provide detailed insights into soil health, aiding disease prevention, fertility optimization, and sustainable crop management. With plans to deepen market penetration and enhance operational capabilities, Trace Genomics is set to transform agricultural practices by offering unprecedented soil health insights.

Partnerships

Replenish Nutrients Partners with Dark Horse Ag Ventures: This strategic partnership between Replenish Nutrients and Dark Horse Ag Ventures aims to revolutionize agricultural sustainability and innovation. Dark Horse brings advanced AgTech solutions like Paradigm, Harvest Zones, and Symbiosis, focusing on optimizing nutrient management and reducing farming costs through precision agriculture. The collaboration seeks to combine Replenish’s regenerative fertilizer solutions with Dark Horse’s data analytics to enhance soil health, increase crop yields, and support sustainable farming practices. This partnership is not just about product enhancement; it's a commitment to providing farmers with the tools and insights needed for more effective crop input management, thereby increasing profitability and promoting environmental sustainability.

AgPlenus and Bayer Partner for Crop Protection: The licensing and collaboration agreement between AgPlenus Ltd. and Bayer AG represents a significant leap forward in developing sustainable crop protection products. By targeting the APTH1 protein, this partnership aims to introduce innovative herbicide solutions that effectively combat weed resistance and support sustainable agriculture. AgPlenus benefits from upfront payment, research funding, milestone payments, and future sales royalties, highlighting this collaboration's commercial viability and developmental potential. This strategic partnership leverages AgPlenus' AI-driven computational modeling and Bayer's crop protection expertise to address the pressing challenges of pest resistance, climate change, and the need for regenerative agricultural practices.

Intelinair and CNH Enhance Digital Farming Connectivity: This collaboration offers farmers enhanced connectivity options, facilitating the efficient use of technology in agriculture and protecting yield potential. Through this integration, users of CNH brands like Case IH and New Holland can seamlessly export crucial farming data to AGMRI, enabling better management of their farms. Access to AGMRI's full-season agronomic insights and analytics allows for identifying and resolving potential yield-limiting factors, empowering farmers to make data-driven decisions that improve efficiency and yield outcomes for the upcoming crop seasons.

Syngenta Partners With Lavie Bio: Syngenta's partnership with Lavie Bio underscores a shared commitment to discovering and developing novel bio-insecticide solutions. This strategic collaboration aims to leverage Lavie Bio's unique technology platform for rapidly identifying and optimizing bio-insecticide candidates, combined with Syngenta's extensive research, development, and commercialization capabilities. Focused on mitigating the annual $70 billion loss caused by insects to crops worldwide—a figure expected to rise due to global warming and increasing insecticide resistance—this partnership represents a concerted effort to promote sustainable farming practices and develop effective, new modes of action against insect resistance.

CropX Technologies Collaborates With Syngenta: The strategic alliance between CropX Technologies and Syngenta aims to promote sustainability and increase yields for seed suppliers in the Midwest through innovative farm management solutions. The CropX system integrates real-time data from various sources for advanced agronomic analytics and offers critical insights into soil and crop health. An initial trial demonstrating the system's effectiveness in reducing irrigation water usage has led to its expanded adoption by Syngenta, showcasing the potential of this collaboration to revolutionize farming practices by enhancing sustainability and crop yields.

Expansion and Milestones

Jones Food Company Announces the Opening of JFC2: JFC2, the latest venture by Jones Food Company, introduces an innovative agricultural technology and sustainability model. Operating 24/7, 365 days a year, this vertical farm utilizes 90% less water and 100% renewable energy to produce 8 varieties of herbs and 11 varieties of salads. The farm's efficiency and productivity are unparalleled, making land 15 times more productive over an area equivalent to 56 tennis courts. Founder James Lloyd-Jones emphasizes JFC2's role in addressing major challenges such as climate change and food security, making it a pioneering model for future sustainable farming practices.

Indigo Ag Announces Expansion in Türkiye and European Markets: Indigo Ag's strategic expansion into Türkiye, in partnership with Galeri Ziraat, and further into European markets signifies a major step towards increasing sustainability in agriculture. This collaboration focuses on distributing Indigo’s innovative microbial seed coatings, such as biotrinsic® products, to improve crop efficiency and resilience. Recent data highlighting significant yield increases in maize, cotton, and winter cereals underscores the effectiveness of Indigo’s products, promising a brighter future for sustainable agriculture in these regions.

Pivot Bio Boosts Agriculture with Sustainable Nitrogen Practices: Pivot Bio's N-OVATOR™ program, which has already disbursed over $6 million to farmers for adopting improved nitrogen management practices, stands as a testament to the company's leadership in sustainable agriculture. Offering insets as an innovative alternative to traditional carbon offsets, the program rewards farmers for adopting more reliable nitrogen usage practices for each crop cycle. This initiative, which has seen its largest transaction involving the sale of 100,000 nitrogen credits, demonstrates the tangible environmental benefits of adopting sustainable practices. With plans for expansion in 2024, Pivot Bio aims to engage more growers and corporate partners, driving the broader adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.

Plant Research

Australia Approves GM Banana to Combat Global Threat: The Australian Government's approval of the genetically modified Cavendish banana, QCAV-4, represents a groundbreaking step in the fight against Panama Disease tropical race 4 (TR4). Developed by QUT's Banana Biotechnology Program after more than 20 years of research, QCAV-4 is the world's first GM banana approved for commercial production, offering a promising solution to a disease that threatens the global banana industry. With its safety for human consumption confirmed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand, QCAV-4 is a critical safeguard for Australia’s banana industry, ensuring job security and production stability.

Upcoming Events

Indoor Ag-Con | March 11-12, 2024 | Las Vegas, NV: This event promises to be a key gathering for industry leaders, innovators, and stakeholders in the indoor agriculture sector, showcasing the latest technologies and strategies for sustainable and efficient farming practices.

World Agri-Tech Summit | March 19-20, 2024 | San Francisco: A premier event for the global agricultural technology community, the World Agri-Tech Summit will bring together experts, entrepreneurs, and investors to discuss the future of farming and the impact of technology on agriculture, focusing on sustainability, innovation, and food security.

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