Ag Industry Brief: Gates Puts $40m Behind Livestock Vaccinations, Kroger Courts Alibaba, New John Deere Partners, more

Gates Foundation Pledges $40m to Livestock Rease

Following a trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Bill Gates traveled to Edinburgh to announce a $40 million investment in Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. GALVmed is a non-profit organization based in Edinburgh that makes vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics accessible to millions of the world’s poorest smallholder farmers. Read more. 

Open Prairie Announces First Close of $100m Fund

The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund, received a license from the USDA this week to operate as a Rural Business Investment Company, with initial commitments of over $55 million from investors and institutions, with a target of $100. The fund will support later-stage companies across the agribusiness value chain. Read more.

Kroger Reportedly in Talks with Alibaba


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In a move largely seen as a response to Amazon’s entrance into brick-and-mortar retail, supermarket chain Kroger is exploring a potential partnership with Alibaba. The Chinese e-commerce company offers both a wide range of products and online ordering, two areas Kroger has struggled to integrate into its business model. Read more.

Uber Eats Acquires Ando for Undisclosed Amount

Uber Eats has acquired Chef David Chang’s delivery-only restaurant in New York, Ando. The restaurant halted all operations this week, demonstrating the logistical challenges of running a food delivery business. Chang’s previous attempt at delivery Maple, in which he was an investor and advisor, sold to UK delivery giant Deliveroo. Read more.

John Deere Announces Compatibility with Ag Leader SMS Software

John Deere Generation CommandCenter Displays and Ag Leader SMS, software for spraying and other field applications are now compatible announced the companies this week. The development is designed to help farmers share and translate farm data between machines, software programs, and advisors. Read more.

IntelinAir Updates AgMRI Platform for John Deere Users

IntelinAir announced updates to its AgMRI software through the John Deere Operations Center – the data-driven platform alerts users to field conditions like early season weeds, nutrient deficiencies, weather damage, and more. Read more.

Medical Cannabis Sales Dropped in Colorado, Report Says

In 2017 Coloradoans bought less medical cannabis, according to a report evaluating 2017 sales tax collections in the industry. Following the legalization of the recreational cannabis, the drop in medical use hardly came as a surprise to industry experts and lawmakers. Read more.

Burger King Announces C-Suite Role Dedicated to Technology

To keep pace with the industry-wide push towards mobile ordering and digital services, Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King among other restaurants, created a chief technology and development officer position. Josh Kobza, who has been the chief financial officer at the company, will take on the role. Read more.

The Bee Corp. Receives $225,000 Grant 

The Indiana University-based agtech startup the Bee Corp. won an $225,000 SBIR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation to continue its research and development of products for the beekeeping industry. The company plans to use the funds to research threats to bee hive health and develop hive-monitoring tools for beekeepers. Read more

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