Ag Industry Brief: Olam Innovation Prize Open for Applications, DroneDeploy Launches Free Directory, Can Cannabis Join CSAs?

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Applications Open for Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security

The Olam Prize is one of four initiatives launched for Olam’s 25th anniversary in 2014, which also includes a scholarship program, a foundation and the Building Sustainable Futures Forum, which was held on September 15, 2016. Entries are now open for the second global Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security. The winning research project for the 2016/2017 edition will receive $50k of funding. The laureates may also have the opportunity to work with Olam to develop the practical application of their innovation with the company’s expertise in agricultural supply chains spanning 47 products in 70 countries.

DroneDeploy Launches Directory for Drone Operators

Field mapping service DroneDeploy has created a new directory to help professional drone operators find clients who would be interested in their services. Not everyone has time to complete the commercial drone certification. The new directory will allow farmers and other professionals to find a local drone pro to fly their fields for a fee. Although this has major implications for ag, it can also benefit other industries like construction and real estate. The directory can be accessed for free, but paying members can access additional features like creating maps to store in their portfolios or to send to clients as a final product.

Farm Bill 2018 Battle Begins with Proposed Conservation Requirements for Farm Payments

The Environmental Working Group released a report stating that farmers should be subject to mandatory water quality practices and other conservation measures if they want to receive subsidy and commodity payments. The position drew some clear opposition from farming groups as well as some conservation organizations, which emphasized that farmers have a vested interest in employing water quality measures. Either way, any policy in the next Farm Bill that creates conservation-related strings attached to support payments could create serious demand for smart irrigation and moisture sensor technologies. 

Californian Farmers Want to Add Medical Cannabis to CSA

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a program that allows subscribers to get a fresh box of vegetables delivered to their door or a pick-up point each week. The in-season produce is an easy way to support local farmers, try new vegetables, and skip the grocery store checkout line. Now, Californian farmers want to roll out the country’s first cannabis CSA featuring locally-raised and freshly harvested cannabis alongside the typical vegetable fare. HappyDay Farms in Mendocino County, which cultivates six types of cannabis alongside countless other vegetable crops on a 20-acre plot, is championing the change. The farm has partnered with Flow Kana, a Bay Area-based startup that helps medical cannabis users find local cannabis and have it delivered to their home. The duo hopes to start shipping cannabis in CSA shares in 2018.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • The World Health Organization has come out in support of taxes on sugary beverages, on Scientific American.
  • A new documentary about so-called “clean meat” follows Memphis Meats on its journey to create lab-grown meat substitutes, on GFI.
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