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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Note from Founder

In 1810 my family cleared land, built a barn and began farming in what was, at the time, undeveloped forest in upstate New York.  A century later, my great grandfather, Ellis Reed, used his Cornell Agriculture School education to commercialize hybrid technology as an early pioneer in the cabbage business.  His passion and curiosity, as well as his lectures and book, not only improved yields for farmers and lowered prices for consumers; it led to the founding of a successful small business – Reed’s Seeds.  My father, Donald Reed, also a graduate of the Cornell Agriculture School, built on the family tradition by introducing cutting edge technology and innovative business practices to expand the breeding program and globalize distribution.

My family has had a front row seat for the massive changes that have taken place in agriculture over the last 200 years, but none of these changes are as far reaching as what we will witness in this generation.  By 2050 the world population is expected to reach 9 billion.  This 40% increase in population, combined with rising per capita income in developing nations, is projected to increase the global demand for food by 70%.  At the same time, the amount of land available for agricultural production will decrease while the cost of the non-renewable resources such as phosphorus and fossil fuels that drove the production gains of The Green Revolution will increase.  There is also a spreading awareness on the part of producers and consumers that the techniques used to grow, transport and store the food they eat have an impact on their health and on the health of the environment.

As I sit in my office and look at the gas fired slide projector that my great grandfather used to teach about the benefits of new technology (the projector itself was cutting edge technology at the time), I realize that the same principles that have driven my family for generations – innovation, passion, curiosity, hard work and integrity – are more important today than ever before.

The original barn my family built still stands.  Renovations and improvements have allowed it to adapt to a constantly changing world.  Our industry is growing and changing as well.  I know that I alone do not have the intelligence, the knowledge or the skills necessary to confront the seemingly overwhelming challenges that face the global food supply.  However, by working with a team of smart people to build Seedstock, I hope to provide the information, the tools and the inspiration to foster a self sustaining ecosystem of innovation, entrepreneurship and investment, which will help others to develop and commercialize technologies and methodologies that address the vital, long term issues of sustainable agriculture.

Jason T. Reed, Founder