Future of Agriculture
We discuss the increasing demand for high-quality, sustainably produced products and the potential for farmers to capitalize on this trend by adopting innovative agtech practices and technologies that can enhance crop yields, reduce resource consumption, and minimize environmental impacts. We also delve into the role of precision agriculture and digital farming tools in optimizing production efficiency, enabling farmers to make more informed decisions and improve overall farm management.
In addition, we examine the emergence of alternative crops and novel agricultural practices, such as vertical farming and indoor agriculture, expanding the possibilities for producers and consumers. These new methods can potentially address some of the industry’s most pressing challenges, including the need for increased food production to feed a growing global population while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint.
Join us in this engaging Deep Dive as Craig Herron, iSelect’s Vice President of Venture, provides a comprehensive overview of the firm’s perspective on agtech investing and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for the industry. Gain valuable insights into the trends, innovations, and agtech solutions poised to shape the future of agriculture and discover the potential for long-term growth and prosperity in this rapidly evolving sector.
This is not a presentation for investment nor are we providing an investment place of any sort?
This is merely our presentation about our views on how the future of agriculture may evolve. We’re gonna give you a brief overview of Iselect talk about how we think about agriculture in general, and then possible futures we see in agriculture over the next ten to twenty years.
What is I Select?
We are in a venture capital firm that invests at the early stage of company’s development. That is typically a Series seed through Series B round would be the first place as we would put money or invest money into a company.
Typically, a seed round would be pre revenue or early revenue.
NAB company should be in fully in revenue and have significant growth trajectory. There are exceptions to this with some therapeutics or biotech products, but typically that is the what characterized is a seed A and B business.
And then we will invest throughout the life cycle of the company, had we invested in one of those earlier stages.
We’ve made over thirty investments in four sectors, agriculture and agriculture and food, health care, IT, and resource see these are a few representatives of our our investments. The top two rows represent our agriculture investments. The next two rows represent some of our healthcare investments. And then the bottom row is some other investments in IT and resource efficiency. Also of note, the four on the left hand column, the top in the left hand column are all recent award winning companies that receive significant recognition for how they are shaping agriculture and healthcare.
Why do we invest in startups? We invest in entrepreneurs and startups in order to grow the grow the economy, young companies account for nearly all net new job creation. So we think it is the the investing in innovation and entrepreneurs place significant role in how the the certainly, the US and the global economy will develop.
We invest with a disciplined strategy with very strict investment criteria.
A startup must either be referred by a trusted partner or sourced directly by Iselect, have raised two hundred and fifty thousand dollars or more previously.
As I mentioned, it needs to be a seed, a, or b stage business.
With meaningful early traction.
We look for a very specific industry geography and valuation fit and then make sure that the company has clear milestones and a path to follow on capital and has articulated a clear exit strategy and we are we only co invest. So we are what is referred to as syndicate capital, and we only invest with well known, other well known venture capital firms.
Our process yields a very high quality, diversified portfolio.
We see over a thousand deals a year.
On deals that are gonna move forward with the platform, we’ve put in over one hundred hours of diligence.
And what that means is that we’re very selective and we narrow it down to less than three percent of the deals we see actually make it onto the I Select portfolio.
We do leverage it outside the industry experts as part of our diligence process.
Our advisors are global experts from around the world with significant domain experience and they’re given field.
They do serve as an additional layer of diligence outside of the diligence we provide internally.
And we do not make a a recommendation to move forward and put a company on the I Select platform without both the ventures team and the selection committee having gone through extensive diligence and having given the green light on the transaction.
Now, onto our thoughts on agriculture.
So what needs to happen in the next twenty five years in agriculture?
You know, I I am not a farmer.
I am not in the ag supply chain. I am a venture capitalist, and, you know, my background is in high growth companies.
And basically, my job is to help read the taro leaves and, you know, become a little bit of a fortune teller and make educated guesses about how the future of an industry is likely to involve on the basis of macro trends. So what are some of those macro trends?
Certainly that, essentially, by twenty fifty, we need to have doubled agricultural production with essentially no additional arable land. So We certainly need increased productivity that can come in a variety of solutions.
Also, one of the the major consumer trends right now is enhanced nutrition, whether that’s be nutrient density in in food or new new foods that have enhanced nutrient content, or the bioavailability of food, then that can come about in a variety of different matters.
But being having the ability to digest more of the nutrients that are in the food and use them is also critical.
And then sustainability is a key focus going forward. Ag uses seventy percent of freshwater, and it’s the second largest contributor to climate change. So things that we can do to make ag culture more sustainable is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for the farmer because it tends to make a more profitable farm.
So we believe innovation is gonna be the answer for some major macro problems.
Certainly, innovation has contributed significantly to agriculture production in the last seventy years.
And whether it be, you know, initially in hybrids or biotech or farm automation and, you know, tractors and farm equipment.
All of these have contributed significantly to the to the significant increase in year old that the we’re experiencing or have experienced, excuse me.
How do we think about future innovation in ag?
You know, there’s a lot of discussion around the protein gap that is gonna occur.
And, you know, essentially, that is that we need to double the agricultural production. In the next fifty years.
And, you know, if we think about protein and what’s produced currently, there are really, you know, three beneficial means whether that’s crop livestock or and we’re seeing alternative sources of protein production, whether or not that’s from a bioreactor or new sources that, you know, may be very non traditional, for example, crickets.
We also think that there are, you know, essentially four ways that you can think about solutions.
Genetics play a significant role and the genetic engineering has, you know, definitely a attributed to the significant increase in yield that we’ve seen, but there’s still a lot of opportunity there. Biologics are an emerging area. This is a field where you make use of the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of microbes that exist in the soil and in plants in order to enhance their growth and nutrient content and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides.
And they’re, you know, it’s it’s organic and typically and all natural.
So it it tends to enhance soil health, not not detract from it.
Then there’s, you know, additional technology available, whether it be precision agriculture, or population masks for herd health or tech that is making reducing food waste and extending the life — life of food in the retailer and up there at home.
And there’s also, you know, certainly a a bioreactor in manufacturing proteins out of a bioreactor would certainly qualify as a as a technology. So and then, you know, there are alternative there are new crops out there whether they be sunflowers with a high protein content or dandelions that have the ability to make natural rubber for Sandy Lion.
There are new species of of livestock being considered that have higher nutrient content and a lower environmental footprint.
There are alternatives in aquaculture. And as I mentioned earlier, certainly alternative protein sources such as crickets.
And you may laugh, but, you know, and I don’t expect the American consumer to be consuming crickets at home anytime soon.
But it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see chickens or other store livestock using crickets as a as a lot of feed.
No. Noticenoticeably absent from the solution list is captured.
We think that we’re gonna see a decline in the use of chemistry.
Going for it. It’s certainly a sector that is under pressure right now from somebody From certainly from the environment groups.
The consumer consumer is certainly something that the at least the the American farmer needs to pay attention to.
You know, the the the consumer and the way that millennials is different than it has been in the past.
Whether it be a Bessie Burger, and what I mean by that is a burger that you you know came from a single cow, and that is something that Amazon is promoting right now on their site. Or higher protein or higher nutrient content foods delivered straight to their doorstep. It’s it’s a different a different world with today’s consumer that everybody needs to pay attention to. And what it’s meaning is that that consumer is getting ever closer to the actual farm.
This does ultimately create opportunities for farmers.
Super demanding sustainably produce food and are willing to willing to pay for it.
We think that this will certainly open up opportunities in new crops better for new crops and functional foods, Asahi, quinoa, the name of sunflower, to name a few.
And, you know, with the the different trends and traits that are being put into crops, we think that there’s a much gonna be a much greater opportunity for contract farming, which often, you know, can bring a premium price. And some of these other alternative crisis at the at the farm level too.
So as I said, are in the last slide too, that consumers are running sustainably sourced food, and they’re willing to pay more for the sustainably sourced food.
And not only that, but sustainability also means fewer inputs. So if you have lower inputs to higher prices, Ultimately, that it leads to an increase in farmer profits.
And this isn’t and sustainable And sustainable food isn’t just a whole foods phenomenon.
Kelloggs, PepsiCo, Unilever, are just a few that are demanding sustainable food. Forty eight of the Fortune Top fifty have sustainability goals around their supply chain.
And you know, so it’s It’s very prevalent nag and something that that people really need to to pay attention to. I do wanna point out this doesn’t necessarily just mean organic. Organic has done the best marketing job to date, but consumers want free from free from food, free from harmful chemicals, free from GMOs, free from pathogens, what’s safe food, You know, and again, this is a lot of this is being marketed as specific identification, a single cow burger, A single cow burger sells for fourteen dollars and and fifty cents a pound.
Organic beef is nine dollars a pound.
Regular beef is five seventy five a pound.
So, you know, for the it’s it’s that kind of significant premium that is potentially available when you are delivering a sustainable, a transparent, a traceable food product to today’s consumer.
So, you know, what this also means is that you know, this whole concept of transparent and traceable.
A lot of farmers today view this as as a threat. We actually think it is its opportunity.
Certainly from the farm perspective, farm consumers need to eat. And the if the farmer and the consumer are getting closer together, it actually means that potentially everybody in between there and the supply chain are the people at risk.
So You know, we are seeing an increase in contract farming. Often, this comes with premium pricing. We also think that future that food companies will likely have their own seed with enhanced nutrient content. So imagine high protein corn producing high some cornflakes or tostitos.
And, you know, you could be buying seed from kelloggs or Pepsi not from Monsanto or DuPont, you know, going forward.
So let’s talk a little bit about possible futures in in food and agriculture.
You know, Gexx have played a pretty significant role in crop productivity.
The yellow the yellow dots that you see across the bottom from, you know, roughly eighteen sixty to, you know, the late nineteen thirties.
There wasn’t a whole lot going on in in Certainly, this this graph represents corn.
And then the the red dots you see within the activity were the advent of hybrids.
And then, you know, all of a sudden, and that was obviously a, you know, breeding.
But then all of a sudden, you start to see, you know, other genetic modifications Jerry Hanks was coming into play, and you, you know, you really start to see the the yield curve take off.
And the significant improvement in the in, you know, corn yields.
But, you know, there still remains significant opportunity.
Innovation has currently been limited to just a handful of companies and crops and really isn’t keeping pace with demand. So, you know, essentially, a significant portion of the innovation has focused on corn, sweet, and soybeans.
And it’s been being done by, you know, essentially the the big five multinationals.
But you know, we need to not only continue to enhance those five, but we, you know, and need to look at what we can do for other crops.
And if you think about it, whether it be through, you know, natural you know, genetic selection over time or the significant role that people have been looking at for corn in the last, you know, twenty, thirty years, you know, other just haven’t gotten that much attention.
There there are still huge opportunities for looking at, you know, some non staple staple crops and, you know, improving their yield improving their nutrient content. So we think that there’s we are gonna see a lot of activity in in in enhancing yield and nutrients through, you know, kind of the non staple crops and outside of You know, in that context, we invested in in Benson Hill, who in Benson Hill uses data and analytics to guide an accelerated crop improvement.
They can do it essentially across any crop.
They can do it with any target, so yield, drought resistance, disease resistance, enhanced nutrition, enhanced taste, flavor profile, you know, texture, and they can do it using any tools.
So they can do it using by just breeding. They can do it with genetic modification, or they can do it with gene editing.
And, you know, the it’s really an an innovative collaborative platform for the acceleration of crop and and seed development.
And the best and helpful benefit is that it really seeds, excuse me, speeds seed development. Through their crop OS system, through leveraging known genetic traits, using some proprietary crop models, and being able to do trials globally, they’ve been able to decrease time to market fifty percent and decrease product development costs by seventy five percent.
So, you know, so it is this kind of technology that’s gonna allow Kelloggs or PEP Zico to own to have their own seed.
Or, you know, as we talk or laugh, but internally imagine that at some point in time, they’ll be kid friendly lettuce that has the nutritional content of kale.
And it’s the Benson Hill tip technology that is gonna enable that going forward.
Before we move on, we’d like to and a second talking about GMO, gene editing, breeding, you know, GMO, genetically modified foods, you know, there’s the the there’s been a consumer revolt might be a strong word, but certainly some negative consumer backlash. About traits they’re being put in to crops using genetically modified techniques.
The you know, and it wound up ready, certainly, the the the prime example.
But so far, they’ve really been blaming the technique and and not the not the result.
And the, you know, it’s you know, g m o is I’m not gonna they’ll opine one way or the other on what GMO is or isn’t.
I think it’s, you know, obviously, the the bonuses have been absolutely significant.
But, you know, the consumer again is gonna make the choice.
And, you know, GMO you know, your car doesn’t care that it’s ethanol was produced with g m GMO corn.
The cow doesn’t necessarily care if it’s feed was GMO.
There certainly are some consumers who want non GMO beef and a portion of consumers that don’t care about GMO.
They want low cost food.
But there is a portion that really does care, and they’re willing to pay for it.
But so far, Malena also have not had a negative attitude about gene clinic.
As a matter of fact, they want to use G and A to eliminate genetic disease as they look to have kids. And, you know, G netting can be used in in two ways. It can be used to insert GMO or non native, non or foreign traits to a plant. It can also be used just to accelerate breeding. So instead of cross breeding multiple times to get into the right of the endpoint. You just cut to the chase and insert that trade right into where it needs to be.
Significant reduction in plant and product at the very seed development time and an increased time to market.
So there are decreased time to market, there’s increased speed to market. So But so sorry.
To I’m sorry.
So on to Biologics. So, you know, biologics are a hot topic right now.
They improve productivity and they improve sustainability.
I struggled to understand why biologics have not gotten significantly greater adoption.
If Monsanto walked up to, you know, most farmers and said they had a chemical or GMO, They could increase yield by ten percent and reduce water and other inputs by three percent.
Most farmers would be lined up to get higher yield with reduced inputs.
So I don’t understand why they aren’t buying bi biological.
Clearly, there have been snake oil salesmen out there in the past selling things that aren’t necessarily up to snuff. But the science has gotten better, you know, the the product that’s out there today is consistent and has year excuse me, years of of behind it.
And, you know, it it’s been shown to increase yield, reduce inputs, you know, enhance the need to be free from chemicals, improve sustainability, and ultimately improve profits. So I I gotta ask the question again.
At this point, why aren’t you buying biologicals?
And we think that, you know, biologic, we’ve made a bet so far in volcanics, and we are and a whole panics has a eight hundred plus microbe solution that, you know, does all those things and also as biopesticide. It’s a bionomatocyide and can cost effectively solve nematode ish or grow crops.
And can be used across row, specialty, and across to to deliver benefits. But there are there are lots of other biologics in there, and there are lots of other biologics technologies that we’re currently evaluating.
And, you know, seeing how these can help create a more sustainable future going forward.
And actually, I’ll step back a second too.
Some of these these quotes that get into the plant actually, you know so one of the things is that these microbes help benefit nutrient uptake. So what we’re seeing hearing is that there is some of these microbials have the ability to enhance the nutrient content of the the the plant that’s being grown with the microbes. So that’s how and we talk about enhancement content earlier. And then also some of the the the microbes that are in there are actually making the the those nutrients even more viable to to the the animal or the person consuming it. So, you know, it has the potential certainly for a double whammy, and we look forward to seeing how digital research plays into that over the next several years.
So a lot of data and technology on the farm. And and, you know, I think the the point of this slide is that it it it will, like, I I I think if I were a farmer today, I would have, you know, a great deal of difficulty really, you know, trying to find a way through which of these three many solutions are are right for me, and I and I also give credit to CB Insights for putting together such a great chart.
But, you know, the the reality is is that data and technology are gonna increase farm productivity.
And you need to go out and find the solution that works for you on your farm.
We placed a bet on what do you call it?
They, along with Benson Hill, we’re are two per footings that were named to the Thrive Global Top fifty AgTech startups.
We invest in Niagaraable because it is a complete supply chain solution for economics and sustainability.
Because of the linkage through supply chain, we believe they can also apply traceability and transparency, transparency, excuse me, traceability and transparency without, you know, any additional software.
So That is if you remember the forty eight to the fifty the fourteen fifty have sustainability goals and, you know, CPG consumer packaged companies are already paying to get this sort of sustainability data.
So, you know, effectively this reduces the cost of our two firm growers and building the bottom that farmer and grow over with and improve profitability, you know, have a platform that can be viewed by public. Crowers as a prescriptive and aeronautical.
And buy ag retailers and ultimately CPTs and food processors to meet their varying needs.
And as such, they’re, you know, connecting from the customer all the way back to the farmer and back forward. So again, it is helping to enhance that direct relationship that we talked about earlier from a customer to the farmer.
And we really do believe that sustainability is not not a choice anymore, but a necessity to help improve farm profits.
So you know, you can increase bushels, you can reduce nitrogen, if you can do soil health, if you can you know, reduce water usage, reduce energy usage, chemical usage, you know, improvements in any of these areas represent an opportunity increase farm farm profits.
So that’s you know, again, a key area as to why we really like the agrable solution.
And data is the the key to sustainability.
You know, if you have the data be able to make the right decisions at the right time, you know, and and pick the right seed and know what the right time based on the weather and and your, you know, what you put down and put down the right fertilizer.
Or, you know, get alerts as to when, you know, you’re gonna need pesticide.
And, you know, have an accurate prediction of what your harvest looks like so that you can, you know, hedge or or sell as appropriate.
You know, again, all of these things are the key keys to post sustainability into profitability.
So the you know, again, this data is valuable to the CPGs firms.
This is the farmers.
They they’re very, you know, admirable to come out and tell you that, but they do activate data in order to be able to provide farmer student teachers and research.
If with better data on on the supply chain.
We wanna talk a little bit about blockchain. And and the blockchain the biggest buzz words out there. Everybody and their brothers heard about cryptocurrencies and anything out. And and that’s great, but that’s not where blockchain is gonna be applicable in agriculture.
What you do hear about blockchain agriculture right now is transparency and traceability.
And the fact that if you know, the lab is gonna enable the ability to make it much easier to know where your food came from and how grown. And that’s great. But where we really see the the innovation or the the potential in blockchain and smart contracts is ingest on that transparency and traceability side, but we think it has the ability to improve form financing. So if a smart contract can give comfort to the retailer or the banker or the firm that you’re doing what you’re saying you’re doing on the farm, there’s a likelihood that you’re gonna get pay fair or that you will, you know, make it a higher advance rate, you know, and an expert related the ability to speed all of that through the export supply chain as well and accelerate you know, certainly any sort of export transaction.
So we think, you know, again, it’s great for transparency, traceability, but, you know, the the the core component when it get back to production, Ultimately, we think is is related to farm finance and and speeding financial transactions.
So automation is coming.
You know, the it it it’s subtle it has to and, you know, we’re gonna give our our two targets. From the companies we see.
It is either, you know, how do I go about reducing labor?
And, you know, having for a farm to become a twenty four seven operation, and, you know, reduce reduce labor costs or reduce inputs. So how do I make, you know, use robotics and computer vision and sensor technology to enhance in my ability to only put the right chemical down at the right time and when it’s needed to plan You know, we’ve we’ve talked to one startup for claims that they can reduce fertilizer usage by ninety five percent.
Over what’s being done today.
And that that’s game changing for absolutely a lot of a lot of things going forward. When you think about we, you know, mentioned before that, you know, think chemical input supply suppliers are could be under significant pressure. If you think about a pretty good pressure from the biologics, as well as from some of this automation technology. So absolutely a game changing thing for for them going forward.
A question we talk about a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot is will electric vehicles kill the ethanol market.
So, you know, look, the electric cars are are out there.
The and you’re gonna get ten different answers, and you ask ten different people about what’s gonna happen with electric vehicles and and ethanol.
And, you know, there are a couple different ways.
To think about it.
So, you know, if everything, you know, this this chart obviously talks about electric vehicle thirty five percent of new vehicle sales by twenty forty, you know, but you still have a big install base of of vehicles. So you know, I don’t think oil’s gonna go away anytime soon.
And you know, so I I I to that end, I’m not sure if ethanol’s gonna go away anytime soon.
You know, to enhance the, you know, the keys that electric vehicles taking off are really gonna be their battery capacity and then infrastructure for so they don’t belong to a charging station to the utilization to pull up the audacity.
Neither one of those are are available. It it you know, right this second.
So there’s still a lot of work to do for EVs’s to really take off and have significant impact on ethanol.
And then, you know, the what’s also gonna happen is you’ve got these growing well, so as electric vehicles come on, on on them is do is drive down the cost of used gas vehicle.
And so, you know, what you end up may end up seeing is that, you know, the used car market sticks around for a soon to be a longer period in time, which will, again, continue to fuel the need for for gasoline. And then, you know, once the the the US market goes to you know, a higher percentage of electric vehicles and if the used car market starts to stall, then, you know, with the emerging middle middle class economies in parts of Asia and Africa in the Middle East, which you’re gonna see is those cars getting shipped overseas.
So while the the market may not be as robust US for ethanol, there there’s likely to be a robust you know, the potential for our robust market for ethanol in in some foreign countries. Now all of this, you know, also says that there are no other changes in farm policy or something else you know, the the the mix mixing requirements for for fuel additives or for fuel and ethanol right now. And there are regulatory risk in there too, and I’m I’m by no means a regulatory expert, but you know, certainly something to keep keep an eye on.
So you know, the but we do think that you know, if if corn doesn’t die off in ethanol, that corn is at risk in feed production.
You know, there are we think that there are there’s a high potential for disruption in in livestock feed right now. And whether or not that comes from some sort of proteins being produced in a bioreactor, You know, an an example would be Kalista right now in doing that for aquaculture.
And there are other companies out there like NIP Bio that’s also trying to to do that.
And, you know, the the the reality is is that There are more efficient alternate proteins that have the potential to disrupt corn and soy as livestock feed, crickets.
So, you know, one hectare of land and I apologize when data came from Europe, so we’ll we’ll use, you know, if I’m be talking in hectares. But the one hectare of land yields one metric ton of soy protein, but the same amount of land can produce a hundred and fifty tons of insect protein.
So, again, I don’t expect that the US consumer is gonna be chopping down on on pro on insect protein bars anytime soon. But, you know, again, back to the chicken and the fish, you know, insects are are natural sources of protein for them. So, you know, it certainly developing those protein sources cost effectively, certainly makes sense. And there are other benefits too to build it to growing some of these proteins indoors.
You know, it typically as less land, less water consumes carbon versus adding to the carbon footprint, and there’s absolutely no seasonality to to the production cycle.
And we think that it’s obviously not just livestock feed that has the potential to move indoors, where you’re gonna see higher value crops move indoors.
You know, this chart is from the national geographic.
It’s a little hard to read, but I’ll tell you what it says. It says it’s basically the the green line to the far left is yield you know, per square mile for the Netherlands.
And their their tomato yield excuse me.
Their tomato yield in the Netherlands is five times greater the next closest country, which are you know, basically the Spain and the US, which are neck and neck. And and, you know, this is an instance where most of the tomatoes grown, and the Netherlands are grown indoors. So if they can get five x the productivity, in a controlled environment indoor setting, then why wouldn’t you see you know, tomatoes and leafy greens and strawberries and and, you know, other especially produce rapidly move indoors.
So we think it’s, you know, a natural there And, you know, as as I talk about some of these things being produced in bioreactors or moving indoors, you know, what it and what it does do is free up more of this this arable land to produce crops that that that need to be consumed.
And relates back to how do we get more crop production with no more arable land. While we free up some of the arable land that’s being used today, you know, certainly will help help contribute to that.
You know, the other thing we’re we’re looking at is alternate crops.
So the you know, both from an industrial crop standpoint and from a a human consumption standpoint, point. So the, you know, the the company called Stony Creek Colors that we’ve had significant conversations with, that has come up with a an indigo seed that has enhanced indigo dye content in it, and it they’ve got a a a proprietary harvesting that harvesting an extraction method to extract that indigo content and turn it into a dye to replace synthetic dots and are using it to make high end consumer branded jeans.
And, you know, doing doing a great job.
We have a company we’re invested in called cultivate that is growing Russian dandelions that have a high latex content in their root structure, and have proven that they can the rubber that’s coming out of the latex rubber that’s coming out of their data lines is applicable for tires.
It can be used in the tread sidewalls of tires. And, you know, it’s exciting because Russian Danny lions can be grown, and I think it’s forty two states across the US.
So, you know, another high value crop for potentially for farmers to be growing.
You know, there are there are other high value foods that are out there. Penole is a super food that the that gets the aztecs or the mayans.
And, you know, it consists of purple maize and cacao and cinnamon But, you know, there’s another potential alternative crop.
Just yesterday, we met of the group that had, you know, was had figured out how to to mill sunflower.
So that you got, you know, not just a mush out of it, and it could actually be used as flour as a replacement, gluten free, and a high protein.
And then we’ve looked at companies that are using, you know, crops like tobacco to produce squalene, which is a high value commodity that is used in cosmetics and in vaccines.
So, you know, other, you know, nontraditional crops and and and uses for crops that present a lot of opportunity going forward.
We’re we’re cautious about the long term export market. In the short term, we think exports will continue to to grow.
And, you know, we think is as long as trade policy can be worked out. We think there’s significant opportunities and experts But, you know, the reality is is that most countries excuse me, most countries view food as a national security issue.
And, you know, if you think about it there’s really no way that China is gonna allow the US to control its food supply.
You don’t have to look any further than why come China bought Cingenta. So, you know, the whether it be you know, something like that where the Chinese are gonna figure out how to make their own seed, or the other, you know, big players months, sandals of the world are gonna go figure out how to make the right seed for China and India, and it’s gonna work, hopefully, Benson Hill will do it.
And partner with innovative ag businesses over there.
But the the reality is is it it the ultimately the the protein that’s being gonna be consumed by India and China and Africa are gonna need to be grown in those in those countries. And, you know, it it will there’ll be a point in time where you know, the US just does not have access to a a robust export market. In the interim, though, we are looking at things that make that exports more easily accessible to the average farmer. And so that the average farmer can, you know, take advantage of of what’s going on there and perhaps extract a, you know, a higher price for for some of what they’re they’re growing and certainly have a market for what they’re growing.
So I wanna leave you with a few points.
You know, the only certainty is is that things will change.
And so as, you know, what we’re what we certainly think about is that you know, how how do we take advantage of that change?
Change brings both risk and opportunity, and what what matters is how you manage it.
And, you know, the and and I select, we look to figure out how to manage that change in order to create economic opportunity for a variety of stakeholders.
And you know, that’s the the concept of our market networks. And, you know, the agriculture market network that I select is, you know, five thousand strong.
We’ve got over five thousand global customers Early adopter customers whether they be farmers or food companies or others that are buying agricultural products. We have industry experts and advisors who are more than willing to share their their wealth of knowledge. We have investors who are looking to invest in the future of agriculture, and we have entrepreneurs that are in an incredible talent pool. And we would invite you to join our culture network.
Because the more we have, thinking and debating the future of ag, the more robust and and beneficial that that network is in helping to drive a positive outcome for everyone.
I also do want to mention that there are several other opportunities to get engaged. With I select weekly with the the Van Trump report, Kevin van Trump and and the great team at the Yield lab We have a we put on a weekly webinar series called Agri food conversations.
And, you know, so far already this year, we’ve We’ve hit on biologics and ag tech, and we are about to launch into genetics. Here in the month of March.
So we you know, in the future, we’ll we’ll cover such diverse topics as aquaculture and livestock and specialty crops indoor farming.
You name it. So that’s that’s one opportunity on a weekly basis.
We also produce an standing conference saying, I hate to blow my own our own horn here, but it really is. It’s two hundred of the leading farmers to ag entrepreneurs, industry executives, and investors talking about the future bag in and it’s in in Memphis in from May fifteenth to seventeenth at the historic Peabody Hotel, and in conjunction with the Memphis on the May barbecue. So you get to come sit, talk, have a highly interactive engaged discussion about the future of ag, and then go down to the river and drift there any barbecue.
Who could ask for more?
So we’d encourage you to to look at I select fund dot com slash davos delta twenty eighteen to learn more about the davos on the delta delta conference.
So thank you very much for your time. This is I I hope that you’ve learned a little bit more about how I selected this thinking about the future of agriculture. This is my contact information.
Please feel free to to reach out at any point time with questions about it or if you wanna debate it, if you think I’m grossly wrong, I I would love to have that conversation. If you think I’m right, love to have that conversation.
If you have some particular insight into, you know, one of the the topic areas we covered today, That’d be great.
If you’d like to become a customer for Benson Hill or Agraver Agribul or or Holganics, please let us know that as well.
So, you know, we are, again, the the only certainty is that things will change. And we are trying to figure out how to how they’re gonna change in agriculture over the next twenty five, thirty five years and are placing select bets on on that and and working to to make sure those those bets come true and there’s a favorable outcome our our stakeholders, and we’d love to have you be be part of that that stakeholder stakeholder group.