Adam did his PhD at Stanford developing plant growth forecasts with luminary Joe Berry
. Joe more or less invented the modern understanding of photosynthesis and plant water usage and was a pioneer in using satellites to look at Earth from space. Put that together with some fancy statistics and you have a powerful set of tools for monitoring and forecasting crop growth and yield.
While a lot of clever people are dedicated to developing forecasts for exchange-traded crops like corn, we saw a need for tools for forecasting specialty crops
, which happen to be the lifeblood of California agriculture. And while most forecasts are meant to empower a broker in Chicago, we wanted to put the power in the hands of growers and processors.Our Visit to the Nebraska Water Balance Association
Last month we participated in a workshop in Curtis, Nebraska sponsored by the Nebraska Water Balance Alliance.
There, we met up with the precision agriculture specialists Crop Metrics,
the energetic grower Roric Paulman,
and the advanced Cosmic Ray Probe technology of HydroInnova
to learn more about the dedicated work of the Nebraska Natural Resource Districts, like the Lower Republican.
At the workshop, we met up with Roric Paulman, the NEWBA Chairman and a highly successful farmer, who has been a true force for good in linking technology with commercial agriculture to the benefit of both Nebraskan farmers and the water resources they depend on. We are fortunate to engage with such progressive growers as it helps us ensure that our products meet the needs and applications of the actual end-user.HydroInnova
is an extraordinary innovation that uses absorption of cosmic rays (the “nova”) by water in the ground to estimate soil moisture at kilometer spatial scales. We were introduced to this work by Trenton Franz,
the first grad student of founder Kelly Caylor, who went on to work with Gary Womack, the inventor. The company is developing a commercial variant to use in agriculture, which would complement the point-based measurements collected by our own Pulsepod.Connecting with the AgTech Scene in the UK
Adam got to visit Cambridge in January to meet growers and researchers helping stoke the AgTech innovation ecosystem in the UK. We met a lot of great people, but these two really inspired us!
Belinda Carlisle is the dynamo behind Agri-Tech East,
a unique facility connecting the people developing technology with the people it’s suppose to help: the farmers. Belinda puts on a great number of “pollinator” events to bring people together to help design technologies with the end goal in mind, which helps drive the economic power of UK’s breadbasket around Cambridge.
We learned more about Agrimetrics,
an organization developing a data science platform aimed at de-risking investment opportunities in the food and farming industries, which make up around $139Bn of the UK’s economy. Their new CEO, David Flanders, cut his teeth at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford about 20 years before Adam, where they both collaborated with some of the same heavies that pioneered plant biotechnology. David brings a rich history of biotech entrepreneurship to Agrimetrics, certain to make this effort a success.