Green Bits

Ag Industry Brief: $2m Cannabis Tech Raise, Organic Hydroponics, NAFTA, more

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Cannabis POS System Raises $2.2 million

Green Bits, a point of sale (POS) software provider for the cannabis industry has raised $2.2 million from Casa Verde Capital, a cannabis-focused VC firm. Green Bits claims to have processed $1.5 billion in sales through its system and will be using the new funds to expand distribution in California, Maryland, and Nevada. Green Bits provides a retail platform built to address the unique needs of cannabis retailers, ensuring compliant retail operations with real-time, automated updates to state traceability systems and built-in controls that adhere to local laws.  The company was founded in 2014 and has offices in San Jose, California, and Portland, Oregon. Read more here.

Farm Dog Partners with USDA

Pest and disease management software platform Farm Dog has partnered with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The non-funded cooperative agreement (NFCA) with the agency will develop regional tools for pest and disease management.  The company recently monitored a successful growing season in South Florida, enabling a real-time outbreak map based on crowd-sourced pest and disease information from users, universities, and government sources. As part of the NFCA, researchers from the USDA-ARS Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida will provide additional analytical and geospatial expertise as well as extend reach to growers via a grassroots community-wide approach. Read more here.

Land Grant Deans Defend NAFTA

More than 50 deans from American land grant universities wrote to the US secretaries of commerce and agriculture as well as US trade representatives in the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations to defend the agreement.

The deans wrote: “Because of the importance of agricultural exports to both the farm and US economies, we, the deans/administrators of our nation’s public and land-grant colleges of agriculture, strongly support the continued robust export of US agricultural products to Mexico and Canada facilitated by NAFTA. We also urge our trade negotiators to seek opportunities to expand such trade in your upcoming discussions with representatives from Canada and Mexico.” Read the full letter here.

Yield Lab Adds Three Managing Directors

The Yield Lab, the accelerator program based in St Louis, Missouri, has added three new managing directors from Monsanto, John Deere, and S4 Agtech.

Sherri Brown, Ph.D., hails from Monsanto, where she served in a variety of technological and commercial roles, most recently serving as the vice president of science strategy.

Tomás Peña is co-founder of S4 AgTech; a company that provides agricultural risk insight to insurance companies, financial institutions, and agriculture companies. Prior to that, he spent almost two decades doing banking in Argentina at Banco Galicia.  

Pat Pinkston had a 40 plus year career at John Deere, where he most recently served as vice president of information solutions in the Intelligent Solutions Group. Read more here.

No Consensus on Organic Certification for Hydroponics

This week the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) discussed organic certifications for hydroponic produce on a public conference call after avoiding taking a formal stance on the subject for at least a year. A 2016 effort to approve hydroponic organic certification failed and board members have been kicking the can down the road due to the complexity of deciding which hydroponic methods and growing mediums could be acceptable. Public commenters on the call were divided and action at the next formal NOSB meeting in November is unlikely. Read more here.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • Bright Farms has made the Inc. 500 list of the US’s fastest-growing companies along with Door to Door Organics, Clif Bar and Chobani. See the full list from Inc.
  • The existence of massive fat globs in the world’s sewers is causing problems, not the least of which is a black market for repurposed cooking “gutter oil” in China, reports National Geographic.
  • The activist investment group thought to be responsible for Amazon’s pending purchase of Whole Foods has taken a stake in Blue Apron, reports Bloomberg Technology. Read about Jana Partners other activist investing here.
  • Target is getting into the same-day delivery game, says Fortune.
  • Hampton Creek is talking to ten global meat companies about licensing its lab-grown meat product, which as far we know does not yet exist, according to Food Dive.
  • The New Yorker dives into Driscoll’s dominance in the world of strawberries.
  • Trans-fats are almost out of our food supply ahead of the 2018 deadline, reports Bloomberg.
  • Lab-grown meat products actually making it to market is still hypothetical, says Gizmodo.

Photo: Green Bits

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