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Ag Industry Brief: Trump Supports Rural Broadband, Sodexo Gets into Delivery Game, Biotech IPO Back On, more

January 12, 2018

President Trump Calls for ‘Great, Great’ Rural Broadband

Following a speech at the American Farm Bureau annual convention, President Trump signed an executive order that paves the way for companies to locate broadband infrastructure on federal lands and buildings. Providing better ‘access to tower facilities,’ Trump said, would be a game changer for rural Americans. Others are not so sure – the biggest obstacle might not be infrastructure so much as population density.  Read more.

SafeTraces Inc. Brings DNA Tagging to Fertilizer

This week, SafeTraces, Inc. announced a deal with an unnamed manufacturer to bring its DNA-based traceability system to fertilizer bags. The company’s patented D-ART 3000 system affixes a DNA barcode to each bag of fertilizer, creating a link between the physical object and its digital certificates. The technology has implications for traceability and source assurance, particularly in commodity markets. Read more.

US-Israel Foundation Announces Nearly $8 million Investment in Joint Projects

The joint Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation announced funding for nine new collaborative projects between Israeli and American companies, reports NoCamels. Two agtech projects are in the mix:  Farm Dog Technologies and US-based Deere & Co. will develop a precision agriculture tool for pesticide application, and Taranis and Texas-based Advanced Microbial Solutions are working on detecting and preventing abiotic stress in crops. Read more.

Bioceres Refiles for a $100 million IPO

The Argentinian biotechnology company, Bioceres, filed with the SEC to raise $100 million via an initial public offering. It had previously filed confidentially in 2015. Bioceres targets drought resistance and cold hardiness in genetically modified seeds for soy, corn, and wheat, and produces a range of agricultural inputs. It plans to use new funds to drive its current business and explore minor acquisitions. Read more.

Pangaea Ventures Announces Impact Reporting Program

Pangaea Ventures wants to know more than financial metrics for its portfolio companies. The firm announced this week that it will begin to collect data on the sustainability and social impact of the projects it invests in, focusing on carbon dioxide reduction, fresh water produced or saved, food production increased, and lives impacted. Pangaea expects to set goals in each category for portfolio companies to meet by 2025. Read more.

Supreme Court Gets Wet in Florida and Georgia Water Fight 

A three-decade-long fight over the ­Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin that stretches between Florida and Georgia has reached the Supreme Court. The debate over whether to direct water towards farmers in southwestern Georgia or seafood producers in the Florida Panhandle has pushed the states into a complex and fierce conflict over who needs the water more, and who has the right to the resource. Read more.

Instacart Loses Target, Partners with Sprouts Farmers Market

When Amazon acquired Whole Foods last year, heads turned to Instacart, the delivery startup that partnered with the grocery store in 2016. Instacart is now reshuffling its partnerships—Target dropped the service, partnering with competitor Shipt. This week, the company announced a deal with the national chain Sprouts Farmers Market. Overall, Instacart has seen an uptick in interest from retailers looking to compete in the delivery game.  Read more. 

Sodexo Acquires Frech Delivery Startup FoodCheri

Sodexo acquired a majority stake in FoodCheri, a Paris-based online restaurant and food delivery startup, according to TechCrunch. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. FoodCheri had raised approximately €6 million ($7.2 million) in venture funding from investors including 360 Capital Partners, Breega Capital, Samaipata Ventures. Read more. 

H-2A Guestworker Program Applications Rise in FY2017

As President Donald Trump continues to push for limiting the number of foreign-born workers in the U.S., the success of the H-2A agricultural guestworker program is sending a different message. In fiscal 2017, the Labor Department received a record number of applications for H-2A visas – upward of 200,000 and an almost 15% increase from fiscal 2016. Read more. 

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

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