Ag Industry Brief: Trimble Acquires Precision Ag Co, Accelerator Announcements, Do Food Delivery Drivers Need Food Safety Rules?

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Trimble to Acquire Müller-Elektronik to Extend its Precision Agriculture Capabilities

Trimble recently inked an agreement to acquire Müller-Elektronik, a German company specializing in implement control and precision farming solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed. Founded in 1977 and now with more than 375 employees, Müller is a pioneer in precision farming, known for developing, producing and selling Electronic Control Units (ECUs) and embedded software that provides vehicle and implement control for tractors, combine harvesters, field sprayers, drill machines, seeders, spreaders and slurry tankers to improve the management of inputs such as seed, fertilizer and pesticides. Müller was a key contributor in the development of the ISOBUS communication protocol, which allows agricultural machinery and equipment to communicate regardless of the manufacturer. Read more here.

Apply Now for the Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge

The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. Rural entrepreneurs compete for $145,000 in startup funds. Ten rural entrepreneurs will share $145,000 in startup funds. The deadline is June 30. Learn more here.

China’s Bits x Bites Food Tech Accelerator Unveils Startups in First Cohort and Opens Application for Cohort Two

Bits x Bites, China’s first food tech accelerator VC, has invested in three startups for its first cohort. Alesca Life builds cloud-connected indoor farms to enable local food production by anyone anywhere. Bugsolutely creates silkworm-based food products. Fruggie manufactures a beverage that puts the whole salad in a bottle. Applications are now open for the second cohort. Apply here by June 30 for the program which starts in August.

915 Labs Production Capacity Systems Hitting Shelves

915 Labs, which hopes to offer a new, healthier way to process and package food, has launched its first product onto the market. The company’s microwave-assisted thermal sterilization (MATS) offers what the company describes as a safe but gentler way to process and package food. By reducing exposure to high heat, MATS allows the natural nutrients and flavors in food to remain intact while also eliminating the need for artificial additives, preservatives, and excess sodium, says 915 Labs. Read more about the new technology here.

THRIVE Announces Finalists for Upcoming Demo Day

On June 28, 10 companies will pitch during the THRIVE DEMO Day event in Salinas, CA.

  • AgroSmart, the precision irrigation and management software.
  • AgShift, an end-to-end platform that combines machine learning, image processing, the internet of things and mobile technology.
  • Arable, the sensing, IOT, and data analytics startup.
  • Farmwise, a weeding robot company.
  • EZ-Lab, a digital hub that manages, certifies and shares agri-information.
  • Farm Dog, a precision agriculture platform particularly for pest and disease management.
  • MicroGen Biotech, a microbiome technology to increase crop yield and health while protecting food safety by remediating pollutants and improving soil fertility.
  • Tortuga Agricultural Technologies, an automated greenhouse startup.
  • UAV-IQ – a full-service data collection, analysis, and management firm for agriculture that leverages remote sensing and drone technologies.
  • 3Bar Biologics, a crop inoculant system in a disposable bioreactor that is easily activated by the farmer.

Do Food Delivery Drivers Need Food Safety Rules?

Food safety has been a hot topic for both startups and consumers. As food delivery becomes more popular, some folks think that perhaps these delivery drivers and peddlers need their own set of food safety guidelines to ensure that clients dine safely. Read more here.

USDA Releases Details of China Beef Deal

It seems like US trade officials have reached some favorable terms in a new proposed agreement that would open China to US beef exports. The details cover things like the age of animals, specific products allowed, and traceability requirements. Get the scoop here.

MassRoots and Grownetics Partner to Analyze Data from Cannabis Supply Chain 

MassRoots, a publicly-traded cannabis technology company, and Grownetics, a cultivation automation and optimization solutions provider for the cannabis industry, are partnering to aggregate data collected throughout the cannabis supply chain to provide reports and analysis to cannabis businesses. Grownetics, which is headquartered at the Boomtown Accelerator in Boulder, is developing an automation system for cannabis cultivators that it describes as the potential future of agricultural artificial intelligence. Learn more here.

Consumer Coalition Calls on In-N-Out Burger to Reduce Antibiotics Use in Beef

Public interest, environmental, food safety, and consumer groups sent a letter calling on In-N-Out Burger, California’s iconic hamburger restaurant chain, to make good on its promise to stop selling beef produced with routine antibiotics. The groups delivered a letter to the company’s corporate headquarters urging In-N-Out to publicly release an update on its progress as well as a timeline for meeting its public commitment, made 15 months ago, to implement a strong antibiotics policy.

Team Shakeup at Village Capital

Whitney Muse, a senior manager in the agriculture division of Village Capital, is moving to farmland asset management firm Chess Ag in New York City.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

  • The American Farm Bureau Federation issued a statement indicating that farmers are at a low risk of being replaced by computers. Read it here.
  • A White House proposal would give police the authority to shoot down drones, reports The Verge.
  • Pepsi is experimenting with new protein sources like mealworm powder, reports PSFK.
  • According to The Guardian, the EU declared Monsanto’s weed killer, RoundUp, safe after intervention from US EPA official.
  • Canadian parliament voted against a mandatory GMO labeling measure this week, reports Food Navigator USA.
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