Ag Industry Brief: Drones and Ag Inputs See M&A, Indoor Growers Form Safety Working Group, Corporate VC Staff Shift, more

Ryan Rakestraw Joins Temasek From MGV

A venture principal at Monsanto Growth Ventures since early 2015, Ryan Rakestraw has joined Singapore state fund  Temasek. Rakestraw will focus on agriculture and food-related venture capital investments in his new role. Temasek is an investor in Perfect Day Foods, Calysta Energy, Zomato, Impossible Foods, VoloAgri, Modern Meadow, among others.  Read more.

AgEagle Aerial Systems Merges with EnerJex

The drone imagery collection and analytics company AgEagle Aerial Systems finalized its merger with EnerJex Resources, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. EnerJex will operate under the AgEagle Aerial Systems name and begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange as UAVS. AgEagle analyzes aerial images of crops through an algorithm that evaluates plant health based on near-infrared light reflection and provides data for farmers to make decisions about chemical inputs and nutrients. Read more.

Croda Acquires Plant Impact


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Global manufacturer of specialty chemicals and technologies Croda Europe has acquired Plant Impact Plc. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Plant Impact will retain its identity and operate as a subsidiary of the company. Plant Impact makes crop enhancement inputs (also called biostimulants) using synthetic chemistry in contrast to the growing number of startups researching biological alternatives. The global investment bank GCA Altium advised Croda on the terms of the acquisition. Read more.

Indoor Growers Form Safety Group

Controlled-environment agriculture will have its own food safety group come June 2018. Brightfarms, AeroFarms and Little Leaf Farms have formed a coalition that seeks to establish standards and protect consumer health. The group’s first meeting will be during the United Fresh 2018 Expo in Chicago. The United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association support an initiative that would develop food safety standards. Read more.

Front Range Biosciences Partners with Frinj Coffee to Build Clean Stock Program

A new crop of coffee plants is coming to farmers in Central and Southern California thanks to a partnership between biotech Front Range Biosciences and coffee breeder Frinj Coffee. The biotech company specializes in tissue culture propagation, initially for cannabis growers, through cloning. Through a multi-year production agreement, FRB will supply Frinj with rooted cuttings from its Clean Stock certification program. Frinj aims to cultivate the specialty coffee industry in Southern California; the company currently supplies more than 25 farms in the state. Read more.

James Cook University to Develop Commercial Livestock Smart Ear Tag

Working in collaboration with industry partner Ceres Tag and two government organizations, Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation and CSIRO, Australia’s James Cook University is developing a smart ear tag for livestock. The tag will monitor location with implications for tracking and biosecurity. In effect, the device will provide a record of an animal’s entire life. The tag is slated for release in 2020. Read more.

Iowa AgriTech Accelerator Hosts First-Ever AgTech Day

Six startups gathered in Des Moines Iowa to honor National Agriculture Week at the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator’s first-ever AgTech Day. The Accelerator’s 2018 program begins in late May, applications are open through April 2.

Support for the program comes from DuPont PioneerFarmers Mutual Hail Insurance CompanyGrinnell MutualKent CorporationJohn Deere, Peoples Company and Sukup Manufacturing. The companies who showcased their work this month include:

Agrellus — An online and mobile agribusiness marketplace that brings together buyers and sellers of agricultural inputs and services.

ExpresSeed LLC — A point-of-use device that affordably and quickly detects and quantifies the presence of specific genes.

Krobel Corp — A device that tracks the respiratory patterns of an individual hog and notifies farmers of a potentially sick animal via an LED.

Terva (dba FarmlandFinder) — A search engine for farmland information and an online marketplace for agricultural real estate.

The FarmElement — A website that connects farmers looking for competitive offers on inputs with agribusinesses looking to compete for their business. 

U.S. Design Consultants — An innovative approach for dispensing granular products.

Read more.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

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