This year’s Top 5 podcast episodes from Agtech…So What?

December 15, 2021

It’s been another big year for the agtech industry, and we’re proud to have captured some unique stories, lessons & tips on the Agtech…So What? podcast.

As a quick recap on the stats, we released 30 episodes featuring guests from 6 countries. Our 48 guests represent a cross-section of the various actors in the agtech industry: farmers (15%), startups (35%), investors (10%), researchers and authors (10%), and a hodge-podge of agribusiness executives, consultants, agtech ecosystem players, and industry groups (30%).

We’re also excited that we released our 100th episode and have *nearly* hit our goal of 10,000 downloads per month. So, a BIG thank you for listening and supporting the show. We love watching this global community of agtech enthusiasts grow!

Before we take a short break for the holidays, we wanted to look back on the top 5 most popular episodes from the last 12 months. If you’ve missed any episodes, you can catch up here.

#5 Breaking into agtech when you’re not from a farm and “don’t look the part”

Published: January 14, 2021

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How do you get a career in agriculture or agtech, when you’re not from a farming background? In this episode, we meet four women who’ve become agtech leaders, despite not having grown up on a farm. At the intersection of two largely white and male-dominated industries (agriculture and tech), they have succeeded despite, as they say, ‘not looking the part’. You’ll hear how they first got their foot in the door (from scoring discounted tickets to conferences, to setting up their own networking events, to making elevator pitches to gain on-farm experience), and what challenges they’ve had to overcome to thrive. This episode is for employers looking for talent, as well as anyone looking to get into agtech and agriculture who isn’t sure where to start!

On the podcast:

#4 Did Silicon Valley Kill Agtech?

Published: 19 August, 2021

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The Silicon Valley “model” for innovation has worked famously for many software-based companies, such as Facebook and PayPal. However, when it comes to agtech, the Silicon Valley template for startup success hasn’t translated very well. This template, of either “user is the customer” or “user is the product” is rather limited in agriculture, where the farming population is small (restricting scale) and the stakes are high.

This episode features Rob Trice, the founding partner of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl, along with Sarah Nolet and Matthew Pryor, co-founders of Tenacious Ventures. All three guests have a solid tech and business history in Silicon Valley and discuss why the business models typically used by venture-backed software companies, can’t just be copy-pasted to agriculture.

They also dig into:

  • The early days of Silicon Valley, the dot-com boom and bust and where Agtech 1.0 went wrong.
  • How understanding the whole supply chain and embedded incentives , will be critical to success.
  • How financing models from venture capital to SPACs can better fit with the agtech revolution (or evolution), as well as the positive signs for the future growth of the industry.

You might also like our recent article: “How Silicon Valley Set Agtech Back a Decade”

#3 What’s the incentive? Drivers and barriers to turning soil carbon into a commodity

Published: April 8, 2021

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Experts and tech companies alike are claiming that soil carbon payments hold huge potential as a new revenue stream for farmers and a weapon against climate change. Yet, others say it’s all hype. One thing is clear though: it’s a confusing and rapidly evolving space, with new technologies and incentive schemes emerging weekly.

In this episode, we feature a panel of experts from across tech, policy, and corporate agribusiness. We tackle issues and barriers in soil carbon, and the potential benefits and consequences of moving from practice-based to outcomes-based approaches to measurement and verification. We also discuss why a focus on accuracy in soil carbon measurement is actually holding the industry back, as well as the role of big food companies in soil health.

On the panel:

This episode was recorded at a live AusAgritech Meetup sponsored by FoodBytes! by Rabobank.

#2 Farmers and Startups: Lessons and Tips for Collaborating

Published: 7 October 2021

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The divide between farmers and startups can seem like a chasm. Tech culture and agriculture have evolved from completely different backgrounds, and even seem to have their own languages. So how can agtech bring together two very different groups?

In this episode, you’ll hear practical tips from farmers and agtech experts on how to build mutually beneficial relationships. For startups, this includes approaching farmers as partners, rather than ‘customers,’ and understanding ‘grower economics’. And for farmers, it’s about finding opportunities to access and help shape new products as the startup iterates. This might look like an equity partnership, an advisory relationship, or even becoming a co-founder.

On the panel:

This episode is an edited version of an AusAgritech Meetup, sponsored by Foodbytes! by Rabobank.

#1 100th Episode Special: our most popular guests on soil carbon, regen ag, and the future of agtech

Published: 23 September 2021

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For our 100th episode (hooray!), we’ve brought back some of our most popular guests to check in on what’s changed in their businesses and in agtech since we spoke, and the new technologies and opportunities we can all be looking out for.

These guests were popular for a reason:

  • Mark Wootton — dubbed the ‘carbon neutral farmer,’ Mark is a pioneer in measuring natural capital… yet, he’s also highly skeptical of the regenerative agriculture movement.
  • Stu Austin — manager of Wilmot Cattle Co, which recently secured a landmark deal to sell $500,000 worth of soil carbon credits to Microsoft.
  • Sarah Mock — sometimes controversial, but always well-researched in her views, Sarah is an agricultural journalist and author, who just released a book examining what makes a ‘good farm’
  • Derek Norman — VP of venture investment at Leaps by Bayer, Derek shares the latest on emerging technologies in agtech, including in fertilizer and soil carbon.

This podcast also features insights on the future of agtech from YOU, our listeners! Thank you to all who sent in voice messages.

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Thanks again to our listeners and collaborators, and to all our fabulous guests. For regular podcasts, research & insights on all things agtech, subscribe to our newsletter

Happy holidays!