Ag Industry Brief: Perdue to Re-Evaluate GMO Reg Changes, Fish 2.0 Announces Winners, Bosch Partners on Driverless Tractor, more

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Ag Secretary to Withdraw and Re-Evaluate GMO Regulation

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced plans to withdraw Obama-era revisions to biotechnology regulations involving genetic modification and editing. The Secretary took the advice of some 80 bipartisan lawmakers, as well as agrochemical companies that asked him to rework the proposal in order to better account for new and emerging technologies like gene editing. BIO, the industry body, said that although the Obama administration’s proposal was a “positive step,” it contained “significant flaws” that would have made it difficult to implement. It would also have created uncertainty for technology companies using these tools.

Fish 2.0 Awards 8 Sustainable Seafood Businesses

The seafood business competition Fish 2.0 held its Innovation Forum last week announcing the eight winners out of the 184 seafood ventures that applied. The winners are “simplifying supply chains while increasing income for fishers and farmers, bringing to market creative approaches to aquaculture production and traceability, and getting consumers excited about seafood,” according to a release. The winners are below with their category in brackets:

Sustainable Fishery Trade (Chile and Peru) – a social enterprise that works with artisanal fishers to provide high-quality, traceable seafood direct to restaurants.

Real Oyster Cult (New England) ships fresh oysters from all over North America direct to consumers overnight.

Didds Fishing Company (Pacific Islands) – a social enterprise that enables island communities to fish for premium bottom-water species offshore, relieving pressure on in-shore fisheries.

EnerGaia (Southeast Asia) – farms spirulina, an algae superfood, on urban rooftops and in rural communities for use in a variety of food products.

Panacea Oyster Co-Op (South Atlantic and Gulf Coast Shellfish) – restoring oyster farming in Apalachicola Bay by creating a unified brand and guaranteeing purchases to farmers.

Northline Seafoods (U.S. West Coast) – a unique floating processing facility eliminating waste and extending the shelf life of sustainable wild salmon.

ThisFish (Transparency and Traceability) – traceability software that helps seafood enterprises around the world record key supply chain data.

NovoNutrients (Supply Chain Innovation) – using food-grade bacteria to make fish food from industrial carbon emissions.

Vinsight Assesses Fire Damage to Vineyard in California

Vinsight, the satellite imagery startup offering vineyards analytics on their operations, has assessed the damage of the wildfires in California last month, that cost 42 lives and damage exceeding $3 billion. “We found that an estimated 1.6% of all vineyards were within fire boundaries for Sonoma county and 2% for Napa county,” reads a Medium post by the startup. “Based on total vineyard acreage for each county, this resulted in roughly 800 acres in Sonoma and 700 acres in Napa affected by the fires.” Read more here.

FBN Launches E-Commerce Store for Ag Inputs

Farmers Business Network (FBN), the well-funded agribusiness marketplace and data analytics startup, has launched an e-commerce platform for farmers to buy “all their favorite inputs.” The ‘FBN Direct Online Store’ offers transparent, national pricing and a wide selection of both generic and brand name herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, adjuvants, seed, and fertilizer, according to a press release. Read more here.

Sustainability Metrics Org Partners with MyFarms Software

Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a provider of sustainability metrics for the agriculture industry, has partnered with farm management software provider MyFarms. The partnership involves the integration of Field to Market’s Fieldprint Application Programming Interface and seven sustainability metrics and associated algorithms from the Fieldprint Platform directly into  MyFarms software. Read more here.

SwarmFarm Partners with Bosch on Farm Robotics

Farm Robotics company SwarmFarm has partnered with Bosch Australia, the Australian wing of the multinational engineering and electronics company. The partnership is aimed at redesigning the Australian startup’s driverless Swarmbot for commercial production. SwarmFarm hopes to bring an autonomous tractor to market in mid-2018. More here.

Senior DowDuPont Scientist Wins Prestigious Accolade

DowPuPont senior scientist Philippe Horvath was awarded the Franklin Institute’s 2018 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science. He was particularly commended for his research on CRISPR Cas gene editing technology. Horvath’s initial article, published in Science in 2007 (Barrangou et al., 2007, Science 315, pp. 1709-1712), provided the first biological evidence that CRISPR-Cas constitutes an immunity system against viruses in bacteria. “Our findings, which were focused on the natural CRISPR-Cas system, will continue to have a significant impact in the fight against viral infections during food fermentations and are finding new applications in tools for genome editing, including opportunities in plant improvement and gene therapy,” he said.

Cannabis Association Creates Digital Industry Marketplace

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) has created the Cannabis Industry Digital Marketplace alongside online knowledge sharing networks company Brainsy. The marketplace aims to provide a directory of businesses in the growing industry under a range of categories including Accounting, Advertising & PR & Marketing, Greenhouse, CBD products and many more. Find out more here.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

    • The majority of consumers want more transparency about food sustainability, according to Food Dive.
    • Postmates, the restaurant delivery company, is promising to undercut Amazon with its new grocery delivery service, according to Bloomberg.
    • New York’s sanitation bureau is searching for food waste innovations, according to Fast Company.
    • A rare truffle worth €2,000 was just discovered in Britain—by a puppy, in The New Food Economy.
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