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Ag Industry Brief: Agrilyst Indoor Farming Survey Open, Climate Ventures 2.0 Cohort, Coca Cola Investing $1.7bn in India Ag, more

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Agrilyst Releases State of Indoor Farming Survey

In an attempt to gain a better insight about the current state of indoor farming, Agrilyst, which has developed an indoor farming software management platform, has teamed up with Cornell University, Urban Ag News, foodshed.io, the Association for Vertical Farming, and FarmersWeb to survey indoor growers from around the world. If you’ve got two cents to share, make sure you fill out their survey here.

Blue Apron Files for IPO

Meal-kit delivery startup Blue Apron has filed for an IPO. According to some reports, the company hopes to raise $100 million through the list. Filings indicated that the company’s net revenue grew from $78 million in 2014 to $795 million in 2016. Losses also increased, however, from $31 million in 2014 to $55 million in 2016. Read more here and here.

Hampton Creek Drops Three Top Employees Amid Rumors of Planned Coup

Eater reported this week that Hampton Creek, a San Francisco-based vegan food startup, fired three top employees after the CEO learned about a planned coup attempt. The coup allegedly involved an attempt to provide investors with more power, but Tetrick beat the three senior managers to the punch. Get the scoop here.

GoodCompany Ventures Selects Climate Ventures 2.0 Cohort

This week GoodCompany Ventures launched its Climate Ventures 2.0 accelerator, an innovation engine, funded by the William Penn Foundation and designed to apply private sector resources, and expertise to social entrepreneurs with innovations that can enhance climate adaptation and resilience efforts, particularly in the agriculture and water industries. Over the next five months, these companies will undergo intensive acceleration. Learn more about the accelerator and the cohort companies here.

Food Defense Bill passes House, Moves on to Senate

The US House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, sending the legislation to the Senate for consideration. The bill would make the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Health Affairs responsible for overseeing any departmental efforts protecting food, agriculture, and veterinary defense from terrorism. Read more here.

Coca-Cola to Invest $1.7bn in Indian Ag Ecosystem

In collaboration with fruit suppliers and processors as well as bottling partners, soda giant Coca-Cola will contribute $1.7 billion to boosting India’s agribusiness throughout the next five years. Much of the investment will be used to expand its juice portfolio as well as procuring processed fruit pulp and fruit concentrate for its drinks. Read more here.

Rabobank Announces Winners of the 2017 MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize

Rabobank and MIT announced this week that Cambridge Crops, Ecospray, and WISRAN have taken home the top honors at the second annual Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize, a student food and agribusiness plan. This competition is sponsored by Rabobank and supported by the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) and the MIT Food and Agriculture Club. On May 2, seven finalist startups and teams from MIT and other universities, including UC DavisStanfordHarvard, and Tufts, pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prizes and in-kind support valued at over $50,000. Read more here.

Jury Trial in ‘Pink Slime’ Lawsuit Kicks Off

Opening arguments in a $1.9 billion lawsuit projected to last eight weeks began this week. The trial involves a dispute between a beef processor against television network ABC claiming that the network violated South Dakota’s Agriculture Food Product Disparagement Act. Specifically, the processor claims that the network made almost 200 false statements through broadcasts and publications referring to the company’s lean finely textured beef product as pink slime. Get up to speed and follow along here.

University of Missouri Unveils Acoustic Monitoring System to Learn About Bee Behavior

The University of Missouri recently published a study featuring its newly developed inexpensive acoustic listening system to monitor bees in flight through small microphones that collect data. The study, published in PLOS ONE, shows how farmers could use the technology to monitor pollination and increase food production for a growing world population.

FFAR Seeking Applications for Farm Animal Welfare Research Grants

The Accelerating Advances in Animal Welfare initiative is a new program at the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to support farm animal welfare research. The initiative has launched a request for applications for research funding designed to support producers’ ability to adapt to a changing animal production landscape, partially driven by consumer demand for products such as cage-free eggs and increasing global demand for pork.

Cultivando Futuro Wins Thought For Food Global Summit Grand Prize

Colombian team Cultivando Futuro took home the Grand Prize at the Thought For Food Challenge, and a cash prize of $10,000. The startup’s technology involves an information and agro-commerce platform that leverages open data to analyze market trends and provide key information to farmers, wholesale buyers and organizations, while facilitating direct sales between farmers, buyers, and exporters. Read more here.

Farm Bureau Chimes in on Impact of Border Adjustability Tax on Agriculture

A relatively new proposal for a tax system that imposes taxes where a good or service is consumed rather than where it is produced, could be a mixed bag for farmers and ranchers, says Farm Bureau. Under the system, known as the border adjustability tax, US exports, including the 25% of farm and ranch goods sold overseas, would cost less, making them more appealing to foreign buyers. On the flip side, products imported into the US, like many of the inputs farmers rely on, would cost more. Read the rest of Farm Bureau’s assessment here.

Domain Timber Advisors Purchases Timbervest’s Fund Management Business

Domain Timber Advisors, a registered investment advisor and an affiliate of Domain Capital Advisors headquartered in Atlanta, has purchased Timbervest’s fund management business. Domain Timber is focused on discretionary investment management of timberland and timberland-related investments for public and private pension plans, corporations, foundations, endowments, and high net worth individuals. The purchase included the acquisition of the Timbervest infrastructure and personnel responsible for managing a 530,000-acre timberland portfolio with a market value of approximately $1 billion across the major timber producing regions of the U.S. In addition, the portfolio is also comprised of environmental restoration projects including mitigation and conservation banks across the US, with a market value of approximately $200 million.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • The USDA says that it is ‘still on track, but a little behind’ when it comes to the impending mandatory GMO labeling law, reports FoodDIVE.
  • Seattle has joined the ranks of many other US cities in passing a tax on soda and other sugary beverages, reports The Seattle Times.
  • Whole Foods opened a new full-service restaurant called The Roast. Here’s a look at the menu.
  • Fortune delves into why Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams just invested in a frozen food startup.
  • Fourteen Chefs are getting ready to attend and learn about food system policy advocacy skills at the James Beard Foundation 12th Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change.
  • Major pork producer Smithfield has launched its first-ever Spanish website to engage Hispanic consumers, reports FoodDIVE.
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