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Ag Industry Brief: Agtech Accelerators Launch & Expand, Syngenta Launches AI Challenge, Vestaron’s New Hire, more

February 3, 2017

Nuritas Founder Named Woman of the Decade at Women Economic Forum

Founder and chief scientific officer at Nuritas, a digital biotechnology startup, received the Woman of the Decade in Business and Leadership award at the Women Economic Forum EU event at The Hague. Read more about the award at the two-day event aggregating 400 people from around the region here.

Syngenta & AI for Good Foundation launch new AI Challenge to Tackle Global Hunger with Machine Learning

Global agricultural chemical maker Syngenta and the AI for Good Foundation have partnered to launch the Syngenta AI Challenge, a new international competition focused on leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for use in seed breeding. The competition is accepting submissions from applicants who are ready to put their programming skills to the test for the chance to win $7,500.

Rabobank and RocketSpace Add Six Global Corporations to Terra

Terra, a food and agtech accelerator, has added six global corporations to participate in its inaugural cohort.

  • AgroFresh (U.S.A.) – a global horticultural producer
  • Beta San Miguel (Mexico) – a  leading sugar company in Mexico
  • Givaudan (Switzerland) – manufacturer of flavors and fragrances
  • Griffith Foods (U.S.A.) – customized food ingredient systems
  • Grupo Azucarero Mexico/CULTIBA (Mexico) –  vertically integrated sugar and bioenergy company
  • OSI Group (U.S.A.) – value-added protein item supplier for foodservice and retail brands

Read more here.

New Mexico State University Launches New AgSprint Accelerator

AgSprint is a new five-month accelerator program through Arrowhead Technology Incubator at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, which is the economic development engine of the university. Funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, AgSprint hopes to align a vast array of resources to support innovation in agricultural technology. Read more about the program and how to apply here.

Foodworks Shakes Up the Food Space with Digital and Physical Hub to Help Food Businesses Launch

Foodworks, a Brooklyn-based resource has launched offering physical cooking space and digital infrastructure to help nascent food entrepreneurs, is hoping to change how the food industry connects not just businesses, but wholesale buyers, production facilities, and potential investors as well. The company currently operates its first kitchen called Brooklyn Foodworks, a 10,000-sq. ft. incubator kitchen and commissary space in Bedstuy. Read more about the company here.

AgLaunch Announces 2017 Programs, Applications Now Open

Applications are now open for AgLaunch’s 2017 accelerator offering $50,000 of investment. This year, the program has developed three models: AgLaunch Accelerator, AgLaunch Farmer Network, and AgLaunch Startup Station. Learn more about each and apply here.

Vestaron Adds Agricultural Deal Making Expert to Team

Vestaron Corporation has added technology acquisition and business development expert Dr. Andy Renz to its Executive Team. Renz has more than a decade of experience in international deal-making for agricultural solutions companies – both from a multi-national corporation and a start-up company perspective. Read more here.

Judge Rules California Can Require Cancer Warning for Glyphosate Containing RoundUp

A judge in Sacramento ruled that California can require Monsanto to label its Roundup product as a potential cancer threat despite insistence by the St. Louis-based company that the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, poses no risk. Read more about the ruling here.

Hormel Catches Heat for Undercover Video Showing Alleged Animal Rights Abuses

An animal rights group released an undercover video this week allegedly showing employees at a pig raising facility beating and dragging the pigs. The facility provides pigs to Hormel, a major pork products maker. Hormel has denied the allegations, but has suspended its purchases of pork from the facility and has sent a third-party certifier to investigate the practices used at the facility. Read more here.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • A lawmaker in Montana is making another push to legalize unpasteurized milk, reports Food Safety News.
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro reports success in hydroponics sector and has no plans to slow down, reports The Cannabist.
  • Impossible Foods plant-based burger is now being served at a Michelin-starred restaurant, reports FastCo Exist.
  • Coconut water maker Vita Coco is rumored to be exploring a sale at a $1 billion valuation, reports Reuters.
  • The rise of Agrihoods could help spawn the next frontier of urban revitalization, says Civil Eats.

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