News Release: AgLaunch and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Will Continue Their Partnership to Support Field-Trial Projects

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (June 29, 2020) — AgLaunch is proud to announce their continued partnershipwith the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) to support field-trial projects with farmers and AgTech companies.

The three-year agreement between AgLaunch and TDA allows AgLaunch to continue developing their Farmer Network and Model Farms. Tennessee farmers who participate in on-farm scale trials of new technology initiatives have the potential to enhance educational outreach, create rural jobs and new investment opportunities, and leverage significant private sector investment. Model farms will help increase farm income by encouraging expansion, improvement, and diversification while highlighting best practices to be shared with other growers in the state and beyond. 

“Tennessee farmers remain on the cutting-edge stage of new technologies in agriculture thanks to AgLaunch,” Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “The products used in these trials could very well become the future of the agriculture industry.” 

The following field-trial projects have been confirmed for Summer 2020: 

• Ag BioTech – A company that uses biological-based solutions to help farmers make informed decisions about the crops they develop. They will test the efficacy of bioshot and bioseed products, especially as it relates to quality and yield, at Norwood Farms in Henry County. 

• Continuum Ag – A company that quantifies and improves soil health by integrating diverse soil data into an online platform. They will measure the efficacy and results of Continuum’s TopSoil tool against the traditional grid soil sampling approach. They will work with Growing Acres and Karl Forsbach Farm in Hardin County and Sneed Brothers Farm in Tipton County.

• Lepidext – A company working to suppress adult moths through corn earmworm pest control. They will test the efficacy of moth sterility in corn and cotton. The trials are part of a multi-state strategy for trailing the organic biocontrol method for minimizing corn earworm and cotton bollworm. They will work with Mid-South Family Farms in Lauderdale County, Sneed Brothers Farm in Tipton County, and D&J River Farms in Lincoln County.

• Growing Acres – An organization focused on developing, strengthening and inspiring local food culture. They will test new sorghum varieties for agronomic and nutritional properties in service of a food-grade sorghum industry in the Tennessee River Valley. These trials will be held in Hardin and Shelby Counties. 

• Rose Creek – A company focused on piloting technologies to facilitate more sustainable and economic production of vegetables. This farm, which is in its third trial year, will work to increase tomato yields grown undercover on Rose Creek Farm in McNairy County. This farm has novel tools for small-scale, intensive vegetable production, which allow season extension and yield improvements for high-value crops. It will serve as a model farm for other Tennesseegrowers to replicate. 

• GroGuru – An organization that is revolutionizing soil and irrigation management for agriculture through a monitoring system. They are in their third year of trial using predictive software to better inform irrigation decisions in corn, beans and sorghum. They are working on Norwood Farm in Henry County and Growing Acres in Hardin County. 

• EarthSense – A robotics and machine-learning startup that is currently providing robots to breeders to help them create better crop varieties faster by getting more accurate trait data from field trials. This company, in its third trial year, is focused on an increased agronomic understanding of cotton. They are using farms across the state but based in Lauderdale County with Mid-South Family Farms.

• Nori – A platform that makes it easy for farmers to get paid for storing carbon in their soils. This is a farmer-first carbon market that is developing new profit streams for farmers.

• Shepherd – An organization that is building tools to help growers everywhere get more done, faster and easier than ever before. In its second year for trial, Shepherd is developing a farm labor tool for row crop farms, tailoring the Shepherd app for small scale vegetable farms. They are working with Rose Creek Farm in McNairy County. 

Three of these companies – Continuum Ag, Lepidext, and Nori – are new to field trials. A panel of farmers chose these companies during the Row Crop Challenge at the Farm Journal AgTech Expo in December of 2019. In addition to support from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, these companies are also directly supported by an investment from Innova Ag Innovation Fund and AgVentures Alliance. 

Most of these trials will be conducted in Tennessee counties with economic challenges.  

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