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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Ag Technology

Croatian Startup Offers Cloud-based, Data-driven Dairy Farming Tool

March 28, 2014 |
Farmeron co-founder Matija Kopic (left) with fourth generation farmer and rancher Jeff Fowle of Etna, California (photo by Dave Saunders Director of Sales and Business Development, Farmeron)

Farmeron co-founder Matija Kopic (left) with fourth generation farmer and rancher Jeff Fowle of Etna, California (photo by Dave Saunders Director of Sales and Business Development, Farmeron)

Years of observing and assisting his father on his family’s farm in Croatia informed Matija Kopic about the intricacies of running a dairy farm.  The problem Kopic identified is not a shortage of data, dedication or diligence – but time.  After leaving the farm and gaining information technology expertise, Kopic set out to remedy the problem with powerful software and a start-up he named Farmeron.

Founded in Osijek, Croatia, the capital of the country’s well-known farming region Slavonia, Farmeron is a cloud-based comprehensive management tool for dairy farmers.

Farmeron’s American presence includes a headquarters in Palo Alto, California and offices in Columbus, Ohio and Minneapolis, Minnesota, with plans to expand into the southeast and southwest. Read More

Fisheries Biologist and Mechanical Engineer Collaborate on Maine Aquaponics Farm

March 13, 2014 |
Image courtesy of Fluid Farms

A variety of greens are seen growing at Fluid Farms’ greenhouse, an aquaponics facility in North Yarmouth, Maine. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Gaudet)

Agriculture is an ecosystem and needs to be treated as such.

That was the conclusion reached by business partners and former college roommates Tyler Gaudet and Jackson McLeod, who grow greens and raise fish at Fluid Farms.

Fluid Farms grows in a 5,000-square foot aquaponics greenhouse in North Yarmouth, Maine. The farm sells a variety of greens to area restaurants, and will sell their first fish (tilapia) this year.

The pair avoids the “sustainability” moniker, due to their belief that no form of production agriculture is 100 percent sustainable. Instead, they strive for a system that is not strictly dependent on inputs and outputs. Read More

Indiana Software Company Employs Mapping Technology to Help Rowcroppers with Sustainability

February 19, 2014 |
Daryl Starr (right) shares Optimizer with local farmers. Photo courtesy of Advanced Ag Solutions

Daryl Starr shares Optimizer with local farmers. Photo courtesy of Advanced Ag Solutions

In a world where it seems technology and the natural world are at odds, Lafayette, Indiana’s Advanced Ag Solutions is finding common ground by coupling technology and agriculture in its mission to make farming more efficient for the modern farmer.

Founded in 2006 by Daryl Starr, the agronomy software company helps farmers to build viable businesses with data and integrated crop management tools, with a simple mission to equip farmers to feed the world.

“Our primary services revolve around soil, seed and weather data management and the resulting recommendations,” he says. “We do everything from pull GPS soil samples to aggregate weather data for each field to help refine crop scouting observations.” Read More

How Learning to Grow Food in Space Can Help us Here on Earth

January 29, 2014 |
One of NASA's seedling experiments to discover how low pressure and oxygen affects the growth of Arabidopsis.  Photo courtesy of Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul.

One of NASA’s seedling experiments to discover how low pressure and oxygen affects the growth of Arabidopsis. Photo courtesy of Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul.

Mitch Hagney is Chief Executive Officer of LocalSprout, a hydroponic farm based in San Antonio, Texas. 

The seed has been planted for agriculture in space.

We’ve grown Swiss chard and zucchini on the space station, and next year NASA hopes to grow the first crops on the moon  in a can.

As space travel becomes more feasible, scientists have found that agriculture will be just as foundational to actual spaceships as it is to “spaceship earth,” an old concept that calls for our planet’s inhabitants to view themselves as a single harmonious crew. Read More

Planning App Takes Guesswork Out of Small-Scale Urban Gardening

January 8, 2014 |
Image Courtesy of GrowVeg.com

Image Courtesy of GrowVeg.com

Jeremy Dore was banking on the idea that everyone can use a little help when it comes to planning next year’s garden when he came up with the idea for the Garden Planner app.

The idea for the app was sparked when he and his family started growing more of their own food in 2005. Read More

Seeds of Tomorrow Project Brings Fresh Produce and Ag Education to Remote Guatemalan Town

December 17, 2013 |
Image Credit: Seeds of Tomorrow Project

Image Credit: Seeds of Tomorrow Project

When Casey Houweling traveled to Tactic, Guatemala in the summer of 2012, he saw firsthand the poverty, illiteracy, and hunger faced by the people in a country torn by decades of civil war. Houweling, President and CEO of Houweling’s Tomatoes, made the trip at the behest of his daughter Rebecca, a nursing student who had served there alongside the staff at a school run by Impact Ministries.

Rebecca was convinced that Houweling’s Tomatoes had the resources to help improve life for Tactic’s residents. Houweling had his doubts, however. Read More

Enterprising Brothers Build ‘Rowbot-ic’ Delivery System to Stem Nitrogen Waste In Corn Production

December 12, 2013 |
Image Credit: Rowbot

Image Credit: Rowbot

With each passing year, 100 million acres of corn are sown in the United States. As these acres are fertilized, an estimated 50 percent of the nitrogen applied is wasted due to runoff and other factors, so that half of the hefty sum spent annually by corn farmers to feed their fields might as well be poured down a drain or tossed to the wind.

The enormous scale and consequence of this waste is what motivated a team of three very bright brothers with expertise in environmental science, dairy farming and robotics to devise a solution called “Rowbot.” Read More

Container Farming System Co. Aims to Take Strain off Agricultural System while Improving Yields

December 9, 2013 |
eartbboxpost

Image Credit: EarthBox

In 1994, Mickey Lynch was working on a project in Florida to turn waste products from landfills into usable materials. This project brought him into contact with many farmers, including Blake Whisenant, who had recently lost a large tomato crop due to flooding and was developing a raised system to protect the crop and offer more control over the growing environment. The pair began a collaboration that resulted in EarthBox, a container farming system that reduces waste and takes the guesswork out of farming.

Frank DiPaolo, general manager of EarthBox, credits much of the success of the product over the years to its simplicity. Water is reserved at the bottom of the container. Layered over the water is an aeration screen, which prevents root rot and mold, and over that is a peat-based growing media, which draws up the water as it is needed. The EarthBox also works with a fertilizer strip and a mulch cover, which prevents weeds and conserves water. The system requires about a third of the water and half of the fertilizer as in-ground methods, according to DiPaolo. Read More