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Gene editing: how agritech is fighting to shape the food we eat
February 9, 2019 | Financial Times | by Emiko Terazono in Norwich and Clive Cookson in London.
agriculture  agribusiness  bananas  biologists  Crispr  farming  food  fruits  gene_editing  monocultures 
february 2019 by jerryking
Firms That Bossed Agriculture for a Century Face New Threat: Farmers - WSJ
August 15, 2018 | WSJ | By Jacob Bunge

On any given day, Cargill’s global network may handle up to 20% of the world’s food supply, company officials estimate. Crops like corn, soybeans, wheat and canola remain the fuel for much of the empire.

“It’s the root of the Cargill company,” said Marcel Smits, Cargill’s chief financial officer. Still, he said, “it’s clear that everybody in the industry has had a difficult time over the past few years.”

Among the shifts: low crop prices, farmers with more capacity to store their grain and competition for crops from livestock operations and ethanol plants. Venture capital-backed startups are developing services that scan a wider range of grain buyers or connect farmers directly with food makers.

From 2012 to 2017, Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s ADM -0.33% profits in its grain merchandising and handling division fell 39%. Profits from Bunge Ltd.’s BG -0.26% similar agribusiness division dropped 76%. Cargill’s annual profits fell three out of those years, and the company has pointed to struggles in its own grain business as a factor......

A deeper technology effort is advancing inside Cargill’s corporate campus west of Minneapolis, where Justin Kershaw, the company’s chief information officer, is overseeing a multimillion-dollar investment in data science. The company is hiring technicians and building a “digital labs” unit that can knit together satellite imagery, weather-sensor data and artificial intelligence to get an early read on creeping droughts and places where foodstuffs may run short, he said.

Cargill expects the data-crunching unit to show how the company can run its own trading and logistics operations more profitably, Mr. Kershaw said. But Cargill also will use it to develop crop-planning and futures-market services for farmers.
ADM  agriculture  Bunge  Cargill  commodities  consolidation  grains  farming  threats  food_crops  informational_advantages 
august 2018 by jerryking
Trump, Niger and Connecting the Dots
OCT. 31, 2017 | The New York Times | Thomas L. Friedman.

It is easy to ignore the recent story of four U.S. servicemen killed in Niger, the giant state in central Africa, because the place is so remote and the circumstances still so murky. That would be a mistake. Niger highlights a much larger problem — just how foolish, how flat-out dumb President Trump is behaving.

Trump is a person who doesn’t connect dots — even when they’re big, fat polka dots that are hard to miss. ..... To understand why groups affiliated with ISIS and Al Qaeda are popping up in that region of central Africa, you have to connect a lot of dots, and recognize the linkages between a number of different problems....As defense systems expert Lin Wells once put it: To ameliorate problems in places like Niger, you must never think in the box. You must never think out of the box. “You must always think without a box.”

Why? Because what is destabilizing all of these countries in the Sahel region of Africa and spawning terrorist groups is a cocktail of climate change, desertification — as the Sahara steadily creeps south — population explosions and misgovernance.....Desertification is the trigger, and climate change and population explosions are the amplifiers. The result is a widening collapse of small-scale farming, the foundation of societies all over Africa. And that collapse is leading to a rising tide of “economic migrants, interethnic conflicts and extremism,”......Trump’s response to this reality? It’s to focus solely on using the U.S. military to kill terrorists in Africa while offering a budget that eliminates U.S. support for global contraception programs; appointing climate-change deniers to all key environmental posts; pushing coal over clean energy; and curbing U.S. government climate research.

In short, he’s sending soldiers to fight a problem that is clearly being exacerbated by climate and population trends, while eliminating all our tools to mitigate these trends.
That’s just stupid, reckless and irresponsible — and it evinces no ability to connect the dots or think without a box......Nothing Trump ever says has a second paragraph. His whole shtick is just a first paragraph: Build a wall, tear up the Iran deal, tear up TPP, defeat ISIS, send troops to Niger and Afghanistan to kill terrorists, kill climate policy, kill family planning, cut taxes, raise military spending. Every box just marks an applause line he needed somewhere to get elected. Nothing connects — and we will pay for that.
Donald_Trump  Niger  ISIS  climate_change  Tom_Friedman  destabilization  Africa  connecting_the_dots  the_Sahara  terrorism  the_Sahel  misgovernance  desertification  sub-Saharan_Africa  weak_states  failed_states  farming  population_growth  U.S._military  mismanagement 
november 2017 by jerryking
Private equity firm offers farmers relief
Joelle Faulkner may have grown up on a dairy farm, but she never thought that she would end up in the agriculture business.She studied at Oxford, Stanford and the University of Western Ontario. She
private_equity  Rhodes  farming  women  agriculture  Oxford  UWO  venture_capital  Joelle_Faulkner 
april 2016 by jerryking
Ontario Tender Fruit Lab
October- December 2014

Found by Googling "challenges import exotic fresh produce ontario"
Ontario  fruits  fresh_produce  branding  organic  agribusiness  agriculture  farming  retailers  supermarkets  grocery  MaRS  sustainability  challenges  problems  solutions  farmland  local 
august 2015 by jerryking
The COST of FREEDOM
November 28, 2014 | Report on Business Magazine | JAKE MACDONALD
farming  agriculture  agribusiness  grains 
july 2015 by jerryking
Wiping out California’s almond industry won’t fix the water crisis - The Globe and Mail
OMAR EL AKKAD
Wiping out California’s almond industry won’t fix the water crisis
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
PORTLAND, ORE. — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 21 2015, 11:08 AM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Apr. 21 2015,
California  droughts  water  scarcity  farming  agriculture  water_footprints  almonds  Omar_el_Akkad 
april 2015 by jerryking
AGRI-TREND Blog: BOOK RELEASE: The Agriculture Manifesto By Robert Saik - AGRI-TREND®
THE AGRICULTURE MANIFESTO
Author: By Robert D. Saik, PAg, CAC - CEO, Agri-Trend Inc., Posted: 2014-05-20
books  agriculture  trends  farming 
august 2014 by jerryking
Citizen Walmart | Harper's Magazine
July 2012 issue
Citizen Walmart
The retail giant’s unlikely romance with small farmers
By Dan Halpern
Wal-Mart  agriculture  farming 
august 2014 by jerryking
Clare Hasler-Lewis on the Future of Agriculture - WSJ
By CLARE HASLER-LEWIS
July 7, 2014

I also see a steady stream of new farming technologies, practices and ideas that are increasing our ability to use limited resources efficiently—particularly water. And that promises a future agriculture that can feed the world, sustainably, for generations to come.

Smart Winery
Capturing, recycling and reusing water will become the rule rather than the exception in food production and processing. Processing the food we eat every day makes up 50% of our total water footprint. It is not difficult to imagine most consumer products of the future bearing a "Water Footprint" rating.

A glimpse of that water-efficient future is already visible at the University of California, Davis, where my colleagues recently opened the world's only LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified winery, brewery and food-processing facility.
agriculture  farming  future  water  scarcity  water_footprints  food 
august 2014 by jerryking
Developing a Farm Based Traceability System
By Wythe Morris, Extension Agent, Commercial Horticulture
Virginia Cooperative Extension
farming  agriculture  howto  traceability 
august 2014 by jerryking
Sponsor Generated Content: 4 Industries Most in Need of Data Scientists
June 16, 2014 12:00 am ET
4 Industries Most in Need of Data Scientists
NARRATIVESby WSJ. Custom Studios for SAS

Agriculture
Relying on sensors in farm machinery, in soil and on planes flown over fields, precision agriculture is an emerging practice in which growing crops is directed by data covering everything from soil conditions to weather patterns to commodity pricing. “Precision agriculture helps you optimize yield and avoid major mistakes,” says Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation, a think tank in Washington, D.C. For example, farmers traditionally have planted a crop, then applied fertilizer uniformly across entire fields. Data models allow them to instead customize the spread of fertilizer, seed, water and pesticide across different areas of their farms—even if the land rolls on for 50,000 acres.

Finance
Big data promises to discover better models to gauge risk, which could minimize the likelihood of scenarios such as the subprime mortgage meltdown. Data scientists, though, also are charged with many less obvious tasks in the financial industry, says Bill Rand, director of the Center for Complexity in Business at the University of Maryland. He points to one experiment that analyzed keywords in financial documents to identify competitors in different niches, helping pinpoint investment opportunities.

Government
Government organizations have huge stockpiles of data that can be applied against all sorts of problems, from food safety to terrorism. Joshua Sullivan, a data scientist who led the development of Booz Allen Hamilton’s The Field Guide to Data Science, cites one surprising use of analytics concerning government subsidies. “They created an amazing visualization that helped you see the disconnect between the locations of food distribution sites and the populations they served,” Sullivan says. “That's the type of thing that isn't easy to see in a pile of static reports; you need the imagination of a data scientist to depict the story in the data.”

Pharma
Developing a new drug can take more than a decade and cost billions. Data tools can help take some of the sting out, pinpointing the best drug candidates by scanning across pools of information, such as marketing data and adverse patient reactions. “We can model data and prioritize which experiments we take [forward],” Sullivan says. “Big data can help sort out the most promising drugs even before you do experiments on mice. Just three years ago that would have been impossible. But that's what data scientists do—they tee up the right question to ask.”
drug_development  precision_agriculture  farming  data_scientists  agriculture  massive_data_sets  data  finance  government  pharmaceutical_industry  product_development  non-obvious  storytelling  data_journalism  stockpiles 
june 2014 by jerryking
Schumpeter: Digital disruption on the farm
May 24th 2014 | | The Economist |From the print edition

Its story begins in 2006 with a Silicon Valley startup, the Climate Corporation. Set up by two former Google employees, it used remote sensing and other cartographic techniques to map every field in America (all 25m of them) and superimpose on that all the climate information that it could find. By 2010 its database contained 150 billion soil observations and 10 trillion weather-simulation points...The Climate Corporation planned to use these data to sell crop insurance. But last October Monsanto bought the company for about $1 billion—one of the biggest takeovers of a data firm yet seen. Monsanto, the world’s largest hybrid-seed producer, has a library of hundreds of thousands of seeds, and terabytes of data on their yields. By adding these to the Climate Corporation’s soil- and-weather database, it produced a map of America which says which seed grows best in which field, under what conditions.
disruption  farming  Monsanto  agriculture  Climate_Corporation  massive_data_sets  digital_disruption 
may 2014 by jerryking
Putting More Stock in Agricultural R&D
March-April 2013 | THE FUTURIST | Rick Docksai.

Praxis Strategy Group
agriculture  innovation  farming  R&D  sub-Saharan_Africa 
may 2014 by jerryking
From bushel to bread: How Canada’s wheat feeds the world - The Globe and Mail
ERIC ATKINS
STANDARD, ALTA. — The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, May. 17 2014,
grains  farming  agriculture 
may 2014 by jerryking
The Triumph of the Family Farm
CHRYSTIA FREELAND | JUN 13 2012 - Chrystia Freeland - The Atlantic - Chrystia Freeland - The Atlantic

In 2010, of all the farms in the United States with at least $1 million in revenues, 88 percent were family farms, and they accounted for 79 percent of production. Large-scale farmers today are sophisticated businesspeople who use GPS equipment to guide their combines, biotechnology to boost their yields, and futures contracts to hedge their risk. They are also pretty rich.

“It definitely is not just your father,” Jason Henderson, the vice president and branch executive of the Omaha branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, told me. Henderson is essentially the Fed’s top analyst of the agricultural economy. “In the U.S. and Canada in 2010 and 2011,” he said, “farm incomes have been booming. U.S. net farming incomes rose more than 20 percent in each of those years. Farmers are flush with cash.”...Big Money has noticed these trends, and is beginning to pile in. “We are seeing a tremendous uptick in allocations and interest in farmland,” says Chris Erickson of HighQuest Partners, an agricultural consultancy and investor. Erickson told me that big institutional investors—pension funds, insurance companies—have recently been making investments in farmland ranging from “the several hundred millions to the billions.” Erickson said this broad interest is new, and is driven by the fact that “the fundamentals are changing dramatically.”

Jim Rogers, who co-founded the legendary hedge fund Quantum with George Soros, told me he believes farming is “one of the most exciting professions” in the world—and that the recent boom is likely to continue for a long time. “Throughout history, we’ve had long periods when the financial sectors were in charge,” he said, “but we’ve also had long periods when the people who have produced real goods were in charge—the farmers, the miners … All of you people who got M.B.A.s made mistakes, because the City of London and Wall Street are not going to be great places to be in the next two or three decades. It’s going to be the people who produce real goods.”...Most encouragingly, the agricultural boom shows that globalization really is a two-way street, and not just for the geniuses at Apple and Goldman Sachs. The rising global middle class wants hamburgers—which is where farmers come in—but it also wants hundreds of other middle-class comforts, and as it grows richer, it will be able to afford more of them. Helping to fill these wants is where many of the rest of us should look for opportunity. And you don’t have to work for a corporate behemoth or have a venture capitalist on your speed dial to take advantage of the changing world economy. One of the most surprising aspects of the farm story is that its heroes are self-employed entrepreneurs, albeit ones who own a lot of land.
prosperity  farming  agriculture  Chrystia_Freeland  precision_agriculture  sophisticated  farmland  private_equity  agribusiness  innovation  investors 
may 2014 by jerryking
Why some see big potential in tiny farms - The Globe and Mail
Doug Saunders

Oxford, England — The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Apr. 12 2014,

TechnoServe, a long-established Washington-based non-profit whose 1,400 employees provide technical assistance to small developing-world farmers....Those small farmers don’t produce much food in part because they can’t afford to buy decent seeds and fertilizer. They can’t afford seeds or fertilizer because they can’t borrow money based on their future crop sales. And, Mr. Masha notes, that’s because lending them money can be so expensive: Interest rates on tiny loans are already, by definition, very high; add to that the cost of servicing loans across regions, and the considerable cost of hedging those loans against volatile developing-world currencies, and, he says, “you’ve priced them right out of the credit market.”

Banks and micro-credit agencies are also reluctant to lend because small farmers often have no collateral: Property ownership is ambiguous and few countries have small-claims courts to deal with defaults. (Brazil, an exception, owes a lot of its development success to the creation of such institutions.)

While the potential in these farms is huge, few want to take the risk of building agricultural supply and value chains in the developing world. Such investments take many years to generate returns, which tend to be very modest – rendering them uninteresting to corporations and venture capitalists, but increasingly appealing to Chinese state enterprises and a few people with local knowledge.
farming  agriculture  size  scaling  institutions  Doug_Saunders  TechnoServe  poverty  tacit_data  supply_chains  value_chains  fertilizers  seeds  SOEs  China  interest_rates  microfinance  microlending  property_ownership  developing_countries 
april 2014 by jerryking
Big Data Comes to the Farm, Sowing Mistrust - WSJ.com
Feb. 25, 2014 | WSJ | By Jacob Bunge.

Some farmers have discussed aggregating data on their own so they could decide what information to sell and at what price. Other farmers are joining forces with smaller technology companies that are trying to keep agricultural giants from dominating the prescriptive-planting business.

The owner of one small company, Steve Cubbage of Prime Meridian LLC, says his Nevada, Mo., company's independence from the seed, machinery and chemical industry "adds credibility," giving farmers an alternative with "their overall best interests in mind."
massive_data_sets  farming  agriculture  Monsanto  DuPont  Dow_Chemical  data_driven 
february 2014 by jerryking
Buzz off
January 31, 2014 | Report on Business Magazine | David Berman
With bees in trouble, could there be a day without almonds?
agriculture  farming  honeybees  food  agribusiness  pollination 
february 2014 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Big Data Startup Bought for $930M by ... Monsanto? -
October 2, 2013 Liz Gannes - News - AllThingsD Liz Gannes - News - AllThingsD.

Climate Corporation had built a network of insurance sellers for both crop insurance and weather insurance, and offered Web and mobile tools for farmers so they could make decisions about how to do their work. It has thousands of customers with many millions of acres in the U.S.
Monsanto  Climate_Corporation  Silicon_Valley  analytics  farming  agriculture  crop_insurance  weather  insurance 
january 2014 by jerryking
When data meets agriculture: Monsanto to buy Climate Corp. for $930M — Tech News and Analysis
Oct. 2, 2013 | GigaOM | By Stacey Higginbotham.

Monsanto, the giant agricultural company, says it will acquire data analytics firm the Climate Corp. in a cash deal valued at $930 million. This deal is an obvious extension of data analytics into the world of big agriculture, but it’s also a perfect example of how the combo of data and the internet of things is going to disrupt established industries in a way that traditional computing never could.

Climate Corp offered targeted insurance policies to farmers that incorporated all sorts of data about historical and current agriculture and weather....as climate change disrupts historical weather patterns, this boosts the risks to farmers that weather events might destroy crops, but it also changes the types of crops they should plant. Thus the data analysis that Climate Corp. offers is not only valuable to farmers today, but also to Monsanto as it tries to create crops that will thrive as the climate changes.
data  Monsanto  Climate_Corporation  agriculture  farming  weather  insurance  climate_change  risks  risk-management 
january 2014 by jerryking
FarmLogs Gets $4 Million to Help Modernize Agriculture
January 15, 2014 | Masahable | By Todd Wasserman.

Seeing an opportunity in the largely analog world of agriculture, investors have sunk $4 million into FarmLogs, a startup that brings real-time data to farming.
agriculture  farming  Farmlogs  start_ups  data  real-time  analog 
january 2014 by jerryking
App links farm data, info stays close at hand 
 - The Western Producer
Jun. 8th, 2012 by Michael Raine No Comments
Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on email Share on print More Sharing Services 1
Farm_at_Hand  mobile_applications  farming  agriculture 
january 2014 by jerryking
CPPIB buys Saskatchewan farms in $128-million deal - The Globe and Mail
ERIC ATKINS

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Dec. 12 2013

The portfolio of land generates returns through leases, price appreciation and some production-sharing agreements with growers. Agricultural commodities are expected to enjoy new demand as incomes rise in emerging markets and diets shift to more protein and high-value crops such as canola. At the same time, farmland has become prized for low price volatility.
CPPIB  Saskatchewan  farming  agriculture  private_equity  farmland  portfolio_management 
december 2013 by jerryking
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