Ag Industry Brief: FBN Makes Moves in Canada, Bayer Sells Digital to BASF, more

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Bayer to Sell Digital Assets to BASF Ahead of Monsanto Deal

After getting what is likely the final go-ahead from the US Justice Department, Bayer will sell its digital farming business to BASF ahead of taking over Monsanto. The sale is a concession to either European or US authorities’ monopoly concerns, though Bayer is not saying which. Read more.

FBN Acquires Canadian Retailer

Farmers Business Network, a farmer-to-farmer digital network offering data insights, input procurement, and crop marketing services, has closed the acquisition of retailer Yorkton Distributors of Yorkton, Saskatchewan. The company’s first physical asset in Canada is the start of an effort to expand FBN’s distribution capabilities across Canada. Read More.

Fujitsu to Study AI Application in Ag with Kyushu University

Kyushu University and Fujitsu Limited are beginning joint research this month with the goal of increasing the stability and sophistication of agricultural production using artificial intelligence. In this research, Fujitsu and Kyushu University will take plant growth status data and a proprietary plant growth model and integrate it with a Fujitsu-developed AI engine able to predict information including growth rate and harvest periods, in real time. Read More.

Campbell’s Names New COO Ahead of New Accelerator Program Launch

Luca Mignini has been named the new chief operating officer at Campbell’s core business after a major reorganization that united the company’s soup, ready meals, and snacks portfolios. The company is also launching an accelerator program to develop new business models, incubate innovative small businesses, and identify products which will “shape the future of food”. Read More.

senseFly Appoints New CEO

Gilles Labossière has been named the new CEO of senseFly, a provider of professional mapping drones and a commercial drone subsidiary of Parrot Group. Labossière will continue to hold his position as executive vice president and COO of Parrot Group. Parrot makes drones and software to aid in decision-making in surveying, agriculture, engineering and humanitarian aid. Read More.

Former US House Speaker Joins Cannabis Board

In a 180-degree turn from his previous position, former speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner has joined the board of Acreage Holdings, a cultivator, processor, and seller of legal cannabis in 11 US states. Boehner told Bloomberg  in 2011 that he was “unalterably opposed” to marijuana legalization but now says his views on the plant have “evolved.” Read More.

Hatch Aquaculture Accelerator Launches First Cohort

Hatch, an aquaculture startup accelerator launched by Carsten Krome of Alimentos Ventures with investment from Aqua-Spark, a dedicated aquaculture VC based in the Netherlands, has announced its first cohort. The three-month immersive program will be held in Bergen, Norway, and teams will be housed at the city’s technology transfer office. Each team will receive €25,000 ($30,600), along with mentoring from Hatch’s network of industry connections. Companies that Hatch deems have high potential will also have access to an additional €25,000 loan upon completion of the program.

The cohort includes:

AlgaePro – Norway

AlgaePro promotes industrial production of microalgae and sales of the algal biomass for end products, such as nutritional supplements, animal feed, cosmetics, feedstock, bio-plastic, and fertilizer.

Aqua Connect – India

Aqua Connect’s Omnichannel marketplace provides Indian aqua-farmers with access to quality hatcheries, suppliers, and export markets and addresses the sustainability issues of a $5.7 billion aquaculture products marketplace.

Finless Foods – USA

Finless Foods is producing high-quality seafood without mercury, plastic, antibiotics, or added growth hormones by producing just the meat of an animal using cellular biology.

JALA – Indonesia

JALA is a shrimp farm solution where farmers can manage their farm based on data to boost yields and create a sustainable business. Jala provides farming assistance that combines monitoring devices with a software platform.

Manolin – USA

Manolin brings a digital solution to accelerate the sharing of resources between companies to better treat, manage, and prevent sea lice outbreaks in the salmon industry.

Sensaway – Portugal

Sensaway allows aquaculture companies to add sensors to their current network, aiming to improve sensor data quality, reduce maintenance costs, and empower the end-user with an easy-to-maintain solution.

Tradeit – UK

Tradeit is an online seafood marketplace connecting the seafood industry by providing a trading platform to allow importers and exporters to interact through a collaborative business model.

VerifiK8 – Thailand

Verifik8 helps to monitor and verify both social and environmental performances in the food supply chain. It provides data intelligence and analytics for robust suppliers’ screenings and monitoring international operations.

Other News That’s Fit To Chew

  • A new BMI Research report says that as climate change progresses, precision agriculture companies will end up the winner, reports Bloomberg.
  • According to Recode, Amazon spent $23 billion on research and development last year. No agriculture companies made it into the top 15 US companies ranked by R&D spending.
  • The AP looks at a group of farmers and scientists creating a new certification as a reaction to what they perceive as a loss of meaning and public esteem for the USDA organic certification.
  • A new ag robot for sifting rocks out of fields is being self-funded by a former software exec, writes GeekWire.
  • A new report, covered by Food Dive, says that food companies will continue to use M&A to add value and keep up with trends.
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