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Agricultural Technology – The Dollars Are In Philosophical Alignment

Blog 79-1
Blog 79-1
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The topic of agricultural technology is almost guaranteed to be prefaced with the statement that it is all about feeding the burgeoning population. In the world today, however, it is easy to confuse the primary goal of making money with practices that are best for people and the planet. One thing we do know is that a tsunami of capital is looking to capitalize on a world of growing food insecurity.  Agricultural technology is one of those venues which have attracted the attention of big dollars.

Recently, Western Growers Association (WGA) and SVG Partners (a venture capital firm) announced a plan to identify and speed up agricultural technology. WGA members produce half the nation’s fruit and vegetables and a third of the nation’s fresh organic produce.  Western Growers and some of its partners are putting up money to be managed by SVG Partners for the purpose of providing venture capital for new or promising agricultural technology ideas and inventions.

New ag-tech companies and inventors will be mentored by some of WGA’s 2,000 members from California, Arizona and Colorado. The WGA and SVG Partners hope this alliance between real agricultural producers and new technological ideas will provide solutions to pressing problems. WGA and SVG Partners will take an equity stake in any new idea or venture they provide financing for.

western-growers

New ag-tech companies and inventors will be mentored by some of WGA’s 2,000 members from California, Arizona and Colorado. The WGA and SVG Partners hope this alliance between real agricultural producers and new technological ideas will provide solutions to pressing problems. WGA and SVG Partners will take an equity stake in any new idea or venture they provide financing for.

Reporting on the agricultural technology movement, the Salinas Californian (a local paper) interviewed a few key players who provided interesting insights:

[quote]The ag-tech sector had a record-breaking year in 2014, with $2.3 billion invested across 264 deals,”[/quote]

Said Rob Leclerc, chief executive of AgFunder
An online equity crowdfunding platform for agriculture technology.

[quote]The big takeaway is that agriculture is being transformed by a confluence of new technologies drawn from many industries. The intersection of technology and agriculture will pave the way to solve the exploding food production challenge, as well as deliver an incredible investment opportunity in the twenty-first century,[/quote]

Said John Hartnett, CEO of SVG Partners.

Aaron Magenheim, chief executive of Signature Ranch Technologies in Salinas-  and three other start-ups – said that the Salinas Valley has the potential to be the sweet spot for ag-tech innovation with its proximity to the deep pockets of venture capitalists in nearby Silicon Valley and the growers in Monterey County that are adopters of new technologies. Ag is the next big thing in technology.”

Aaron Magenheim, chief executive of Signature Ranch Technologies in Salinas-  and three other start-ups – said that

[quote]the Salinas Valley has the potential to be the sweet spot for ag-tech innovation with its proximity to the deep pockets of venture capitalists in nearby Silicon Valley and the growers in Monterey County that are adopters of new technologies. Ag is the next big thing in technology.[/quote]

 

No doubt, there will be technologies that will need to be reeled in. However, other technologies may find a way into a more sustainable food chain. (Uploaded here is a short video done by a company that provides ag-tech solutions to Central California.) One must ask the question – will it be big agriculture and big money that feeds everyone?

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