Agtech Seedlings: BrightFarms owner wants to scale indoor farming with new concept

By Staff
4 Min Read

Agtech Seedlings is a weekly roundup of the latest in agriculture technology news, digging into venture funding, product announcements and other innovation milestones. Have news to share? Email us here.

Cox Farms launches to scale vertical farming

BrightFarms owner Cox Enterprises will incorporate the greenhouse grower into a new business called Cox Farms, which aims to expand indoor farming “at a scale never seen before.”

Cox Farms’ portfolio includes Mucci Farms and BrightFarms, making it one of the largest greenhouse operators in North America. BrightFarms CEO Steve Platt said in a statement that the move will allow the companies to leverage “shared resources and vision to build operation capacity.”

Cox Farms anticipates revenues approaching $1 billion and a workforce of nearly 2,500 employees. The business plans to pursue additional ventures and investments in the vertical farming space.

“We are excited to build and scale a better future for farmers and consumers by ensuring a safe, secure and sustainable food supply, regardless of calendar or climate,” said Steve Bradley, president of Cox Farms. “This is a significant milestone for us, as we are disrupting traditional agriculture and bringing the promise of indoor agriculture to fruition at a scale never seen before.”

Bayer and Trinity team on carbon monitoring

Bayer will use UK-based Trinity Agtech’s platform to measure farms’ carbon emissions, part of the crop science giant’s efforts to scale regenerative agriculture in Europe.

The cloud-based platform, called Sandy, allows farmers and project developers to aggregate data and assess a farm’s carbon balance and options to drive down emissions. The tool will be used for monitoring as part of Bayer’s European Carbon Initiative, which rewards growers for adopting climate-smart practices.

“Our collaboration with Trinity offers many benefits for farmers and for our partners in the food value chain that want to deliver against their carbon reduction commitments and want to support regenerative practices in agriculture,” Lionnel Alexandre, carbon business venture lead for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Bayer’s Crop Science Division, said in a statement.

Orchard Robotics raises $3.8M for precision crop management on apple farms

A startup that develops fruit-mapping robots snagged $3.8 million in funding to expand operations and serve larger farms.

Orchard Robotics, spun out of Cornell University, makes an AI-powered camera system that can be affixed to farm vehicles and collect precise data about fruit on each individual tree. The tech allows farmers to make specialized crop management decisions.

“Growing better fruit begins with knowing what you’re growing,” CEO Charles Wu said in a statement. “This is a monumental step forward from traditional methods, which rely on manually-collected samples of maybe 100 fruits.”

The fundraising round was led by General Catalyst, and included other investors such as Humba Ventures and Soma Capital.

HerdDogg secures financing for Bluetooth cattle ear tags

Livestock management startup HerdDogg announced a “significant investment” to accelerate commercialization of its remote-sensing wireless tags, which can help producers monitor animal health.

The undisclosed investment, from a fundraising round led by Serra Ventures and Wonder Fund North Dakota, will allow the startup to embark on its next phase of growth. HerdDogg’s Bluetooth ear tags and data platform allow beef and dairy farmers to automate data collection and keep tabs on animal health and welfare.

“The company’s unique hardware and data platform make it well positioned to be a game changer for animal health and traceability,” Rob Schultz, managing partner at Serra Ventures, said in a statement.

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