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Agenda outline

Thursday 8 September: Investing in Innovation

08:30 – 9:00 Registration

09:00 – 9:30 Embracing technology to respond to market demand: Current state and future challenges for the global fertilizer industry

Chris Lawson, Head of Fertilizers, CRU

9:30 – 10:30 Funding and Investment in Agritech: How to present your case

Venture Landscape for Ag Input Innovators

  • Where has venture capital gone through the past five years of funding early stage ag input startups
  •  Startups to watch and trends to monitor in the next 24 months
  • How USDA and other federal agencies are supporting early stage entrepreneurs

Matt Foley, Program Director, Invest Nebraska

    DBL’s approach to ag investments
  •  Trends we’re watching and where we see opportunities for investment, innovation, and partnerships in ag
  • Federal support for ag innovation
  • Making the case: what we look for in innovation and investments

Paula Uniacke, Director of Impact, DBL Partners


  • An Ag-Tech market map. And the events causing the sway and trends
  • What we look for in a company. How to think about disruption
  • A matrix for evaluating early-stage companies: for investors and those pitching them

Saurabh Suri, Managing Partner, CerraCap Ventures

10:30 – 11:00 Networking and Meeting Break

11:00 – 12:30 Experience exchange panel: Discussing requirements, challenges and success stories of innovation, tech-partnerships, and capital investment

Moderator: Chris Lawson, Head of Fertilizers, CRU

  • How incumbents within the industry are positioning to address the risks and opportunities of disruption
  • A realistic view on the timelines and levers for systemic innovation
    Geographic disparities within the sphere of agricultural innovation
    30 year view, not just the 5 year view

Samuel Taylor, Executive Director, Rabobank

  • Why partnerships are important
  •  Considerations for healthy partnerships
  •  Benefits to strategics and entrepreneurs in successful partnerships

Kim Nicholson, VP AgTech and Innovation, Strategy and Growth, Mosaic

Yara’s Agronomic API’s grows knowledge: The newly innovated suite of Agronomic APIs ensures 117 years of world leading crop nutrition knowledge is more broadly available beyond Yara’s own proprietary digital platforms, significantly increasing accessibility by farmers worldwide.
Courtney Yuskis, Incubation Lead, North America, Yara International

Additional panellists:
Zach Hedge, Director, Innovation & Analytics, OCP North America
C. Ryan Bond,
Sr. Director, Global Business Development & Innovation, Nutrien
Hadar Sutovsky,
Vice President External Innovation, ICL Group


13:00 – 14:30 Networking lunch


14:30 – 15:30 R&D initiatives to help improve crops' early growth, nutrient delivery and value over volume (3 x 15 min presentations + 5 for Questions)

  • The role of plant physiology and soil chemistry in improving nutrient use efficiency
  • Fertilizer innovations in stabilized fertilizers and naturally derived alternatives
  • Novel biofertilizer and its adoption in ag practices

Kuide Qin, Chief Science Officer, Verdesian Life Sciences

Supplying early-season nutrition

  • Germinating seeds rely solely on the nutrients contained within the seed
  • Nutritional seed coatings provide a supplement helping to maximize early season growth and yield potential
  • A product line offered by Koch Agronomic Services, is a seed delivered nutrition specifically designed to address the early season nutritional demands of crops

Greg Schwab, Vice President - Agronomy and Innovation, Koch Ag & Energy Solutions


The STEPS Center, a New Interdisciplinary Academic Research Center Dedicated to Advancing Phosphorus Sustainability

  • The importance of use-inspired basic research in developing new agricultural technologies
  • The role of the STEPS Center, a recently funded Science and Technology Center (STC) awarded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, in sustainable phosphate use 
  • Initial R&D projects on fertilizers, crops, and engagement with stakeholders

Jacob L. Jones, Director, Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center


15:30 – 16:15 Coffee Break

16:15 – 17:15

Why sustainable agritech investment is important to reduce environmental footprint, increase nutrient efficiency and ensure food security

  • Realising the importance of improving the functioning and long-term resilience of global markets for food and agriculture, including fertilizers
  • Environmental sustainability – including the need to promote sustainable agriculture and food systems
  • Aiming to resolve issues related to prices for food and production inputs, including fertilizers, along with trade restrictions, and increasing energy and transportation costs
  • Improving the policy environment for sustainable investment and trade to achieve progress on global public policy goals, from food security and nutrition to environmental sustainability

Edwini Kessie, Director of the Agriculture and Commodities Division, World Trade Organization

4R Nutrient Stewardship encompasses a large spectrum of practices and products that are determined by the specific needs of a farming operation. Innovation across the agricultural spectrum including; agritech, product innovation, environmental research, and practice implementation has and continues to proactively impact nutrient stewardship. The continued investment and focus on sound nutrient stewardship has been key to advancing the impact of 4R strategies across the country.

Peyton Harper, Director – Retail and Field Sustainability, The Fertiliser Institute

17:15 Plant based nutrition

  •  Bridging the fertilizer application knowledge gap
  • Optimizing NUE
  • Optimizing fertilizer application while minimizing cost and environmental impacts 

Oz Ben-David, VP, Growth & Business Development, Phytech

17:30 Networking and Drinks Reception

19:30 Close of Day One

Friday 9 September: Innovation Start-up Showcase

Agri tech companies will present to producers and investors explaining what they do, why they think they will be successful, talk about their perspective on partnerships, raising funds and how the industry can benefit from collaboration.

Digital platforms and carbon traceability

09:00 Opening remarks

09:05 Driving sustainability at global scale with evidence based data

  • Sustainability will be driven by incentives
  • Incentives need evidence-based data to happen
  • ucrop.it enables companies and farmers to share data and incentives to drive sustainability forwarducrop.it works with fertilizer companies to drive adoption of products that reduce environmental footprint, benefiting companies, farmers and the environment

Diego Angelo, Head of North America, ucrop.it

09:25 Managing price volatility in illiquid agricultural commodity markets: The Stable solution

  • The problem of volatility in agricultural commodity markets
  • The struggle for liquidity in risk management products
  • Sourcing liquidity for solutions to help farmers and businesses manage risk

Joe Brooker, VP Research, Stable Group Ltd

09:45 Encoding Fertilizer with Carbon Traceability Data

  • Sustainability expectations are driving bulk and commodity products towards differentiation
  • Directly BioTagging products allows for identity preservation and differentiation within agricultural supply chains that were not designed for this level of traceability
  • Index fortifies trust in supply chains by linking critical sustainability and performance data directly to products

David Singer, Co-Founder and VP of Sales, Index Biosystems

10:05 Coffee and networking break

Advances in nutrient use efficiency and sustainability

10:45 Channelling the future of sustainable ag

  • The importance of trust in agriculture
  • The dichotomy of simplicity in channel effectiveness
  • The challenges and opportunities for driving nutrient use efficiency through closed-loop inputs

Gaji Balakaneshan, COO, Midwestern BioAg


11:05 Renew. Revive. Replenish

  • Why synthetics won’t carry us into the future
  • Regenerative fertilizers offer farmers a choice to meet yield expectations and drive soil health
  • Who is Replenish Nutrients?

Keith Driver, CEO, Replenish Nutrients

11:25 Novel technology repurposes food processing co-products into sustainable high-performance fertilizers

Lucent Biosciences has developed a patented process that upcycles food processing co-products (cellulose) into a non-polluting fertilizer that outperforms conventional oxysulfates and sequesters carbon. These novel fertilizers are water-insoluble and work with the soil microbiome to release nutrients to crops based on biological demand. Leaching of nutrients into groundwater is eliminated. The cost of use is sufficiently low to allow growers to realize a significant return on investment (ROI) with use. Lucent (Vancouver) and AGT foods (Regina) have partnered to build a 20 TPD manufacturing plant in Rosetown SK

Peter Gross, Chief Technology Officer, Lucent Biosciences


11:45 Decarbonizing nitrogen fertilization with net soil carbon gain

  • Cover microbe that adds carbon and nitrogen to soil
  • Provides nitrogen independent and irrespective of crops
  • Improves water-holding capacity and soil health
  • Contributes to making agriculture a net-zero/negative sector
  • Seeking $7.5M total Series Seed round

Abhay Singh, PhD, Vice President-Research & Operations, MOgene LC

12:05 Novel alternatives to reduce the use of nitrogenous fertilizers without affecting production or yield

  • Macro and micronutrient fertilization to crops
  • Alternatives for high cost and low supply of nitrogen base fertilizers

Luis Miranda, General Manager, Mezfer Inc.


12:25 Networking lunch

13:50 Bridge building - renewable power and fertilizer

  • Problem: vulnerability of our global food system due to volatile natural gas prices, supply chain challenges, and a changing climate
  • Opportunity: locally made, electrified production of fertilizers
  • Catching lightning in a bottle: An overview of Nitricity's approach to decouple the production of fertilizer from coal and natural gas, produce fertilizer in the communities that need it, and emulate the same natural process as lightning-based nitrogen fixation

Nico Pinkowski, CEO, Nitricity Inc


14:10 Improving soil chemistry to increase farmer profitability

  • Why banking phosphorus in the soil is the wrong approach
  • Increasing uptake requires more than biologicals
  • Why selling less fertilizer can still be profitable for producers

Hunter Swisher, Founder & CEO, Phospholutions

14:30 Tiny microbes, big challenges - delivering more viable microbes to the field

  • New microbial technologies show promise to sustainably boost Ag production
  • Key constraints to commercialization involve scaling efficacy and shelf-life of microbes
  • Just-in-time fermentation reinvents biomanufacturing and delivery of living microbe products

Jane Fife, PhD, Chief Technical Officer, 3Bar Biologics


14:50 Do More with Less. Simplify Products and Build Resilient Soil & Plants.

  • Upcycling organic waste
  • Feed & Activate microbes
  • Improve soil and plant resilience
  • Shrink & decarbonize supply chain

Jared Criscuolo, Upcycle and Company

15:10 Plants Microbiota, the future of Agriculture

  • Importance of the Microbes in Agriculture
  • Yield in crops using plants Microbiota
  • Solve climate change with Microbes

Cristobal Fonseca, CEO, Microendo

15:30 Closing remarks

15:35 Close of conference