Summit Highlights

The 8th edition of the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit on March 9-10, 2021 welcomed welcomed its largest audience to date with over 1,500 delegates from 49 countries.

The summit was joined by the world’s leading agribusinesses, food growers, technology giants, start-ups, and investors.

Check out our summit highlights below! Remember, there’s still time to sign up for the summit, follow up with new connections, reach out to anyone you missed for a 1-1 video meeting, and watch the content on demand whenever it suits you until April 10.

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“Rethink Events do an outstanding job of replicating as closely as possible the experience of an in-person event, providing useful and efficient tools to explore, connect, interact and meet with a wide range of potential partners and other contacts. Highly recommended.”
Director of Sustainability, ANUVIA

“The World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit is the stand out event with curated leaders, innovators and investors from across the AgTech landscape. The quality of content and diverse range of delegates makes this a must-attend event for anyone who is interested in understanding how the landscape is evolving and where the investment deals and dollars are flowing.” 
Partner, BETTER FOOD VENTURES

Relive the Action!

Key Takeaways

Welcome Address

“It’s incredibly important for us to understand the role that science and data will play in helping to drive a more precise agriculture, so we are more efficient and more productive. President Biden and Vice President Harris have challenged American agriculture to see a future where we have net zero emissions by 2050. That’s going to require a significant amount of understanding about the science of climate and the science of carbon sequestration.”
US SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, Tom Vilsack

Nature-Based Solutions for Climate

“Agriculture is one of the only industries that has the ability to regenerate itself, and I think if we start with that as a foundation there’s a lot of energy, enthusiasm and excitement that can come from that concept.”
Ruth KimmelshueHead of Business Operations Supply Chain and Chief Sustainability OfficerCARGILL

Corporates' Role In Driving Sustainability

“This is clearly the biggest challenge that society is going to face in our lifetime and no one organization or government can fix it themselves. We have to accelerate our thinking and our investment. We need to be one of the core companies on the planet that accelerates the drive towards sustainability and brings new products, services and technologies to the farm.”
Chuck MagroCEONUTRIEN

Innovating For a Sustainable Future

“Historically, we have spent a lot of time on productivity, and helping the growers grow more, but what we are seeing more and more is we have to figure out how we can help growers balance productivity and environmental responsibility. Once we get farmers to be economically rewarded for doing this, I think that will open up a lot of opportunities for start-ups and others to start innovating.”
Bob Reiter, Head of R&D Crop science, BAYER

Making Carbon Farming a Reality

Niall Mottram
Aldyen Donnelly

“Soil carbon varies so much by geography in within the field, there has to be a multi-sensor approach where you are going to need robust data from a range of different samples to build up something people are going to have a high degree of trust and confidence, particularly if this starts to get regulated in some way.”
Niall Mottram, Head of Industrial & Energy, CAMBRIDGE CONSULTANTS

“If we are talking carbon markets, this might be an historical opportunity to generate new revenues for food and fiber producers from the large energy and building product sectors and get a diversity of revenues for the food and fiber supply chain.”
Aldyen Donnelly, Director of Carbon Economics, NORI

Interview: Agriculture's Digital Future

“When you see a new phase of technology introduction there are a lot of false signals early on. However, what does remain true is that the velocity of the change sometimes tends to be overestimated but the magnitude of the change is something that we underestimate. No matter what, when all is said and done the current transformation taking place in the agricultural industry will have a more profound effect than any of us could have imagined.”
Greg MeyersGroup Chief Information & Digital Officer, SYNGENTA

Digital Ag To Bring A Full Service Offering to the Farm

“As we move more into the adoption of digital technologies and where healthcare was previously, we are going to see a real uptick in how data is optimized and then, more importantly, exchanged during the value chain overtime.”
Chris Terris, VP Global Strategy, TELUS AGRICULTURE 

“Looking through the farmer’s lens – what’s important to the farmer? Technology providers need to offer easy interoperability and data exchange between systems. The farmer owns the data and therefore it should follow the farmer’s journey. Software company providers must be collaborative and have a symbolic relationship that offers not only economic returns to the grower, but easy use of their own data.”
Kevin Kimm, Vice President, Commercial, OCP NORTH AMERICA

Traceability

“Recently, we have started to talk about companies labelling their products as premium because the product has been grown with the optimal amount of water or nitrogen inputs. We are seeing everyone across our customer base, from ag input companies, manufacturers, processors and traders to CPG companies, trying to help agriculture transform itself from part of the greenhouse gas problem to being one of the major solutions.”
Anastasia Volkova, Founder & CEO, REGROW

“From the standpoint of sustainability, there is going to be a patchwork of sources of funding and opportunities for farmers and people in the supply chain. In many ways, these sustainability programs can act as a catalyst for developing a lot of the technology.”
Devin Lammers, President, Crop Marketing & Financial Services, FBN 

Anastasia Volkova
Devin Lammers

Grower Spotlight

“The more challenging part is to harvest crops, because there are fewer people being born on the planet that choose to pick fresh fruit for a living. We are left dealing with that challenge in a way that requires us to reinvent our systems and add automation and mechanization.”
Dave Murray, Partner, GOOD FARMS 

Biology With Purpose

“We, with a great deal of humility, have an opportunity to learn from nature on how nature has solved problems at the molecular level, and collaborate with what at Zymergen we call biomanufacturing products that are in partnership with nature.“
John Warner, Distinguished Fellow, Sustainability and Green Chemistry, ZYMERGEN

Ag and Food’s Role in Direct Climate Investment Platforms

“With the focus on net zero agriculture, we are seeing regulators put pressure on institutional investors to think about the impact of climate risk on their portfolios. When it comes to food and ag and the decarbonization and potential role of carbon sequestration, a fundamental reallocation of capital will happen towards more climate-friendly solutions.”
Teresa O’Flynn, Managing Director, Global Head Sustainable Investing, BLACKROCK ALTERNATIVE INVESTORS

Closing Remarks Day 1

“As we think about innovation, the reality is most of the solutions are going to be done through partnerships and engagement with innovative scientists and companies we’ve heard from today. It’s what makes this exciting – being inspired by new thinking and making new connections.”
Sam Eathington, SVP & CTO, CORTEVA

Who Will Lead the Transformation In Food and Ag?

David LeeAdrian Percy

“I believe technology funded by early venture capital investors will lead, but the truth is, it will take young start-ups as well as the Fortune 100 players in the space, given the magnitude of the problem we face. Capitalism, consumerism and technology can be powerful forces for improving the industry we all participate in.”
David Lee, PresidentAPP HARVEST

“Across the industry, there is wide recognition that there needs to be a refresh of the approach towards new technology. Over the last 20 years, we’ve become incredibly efficient in developing new crop protection chemistry. But there are so many new technologies available to us, any corporate is looking to harness those, and some may cannibalize what we are doing but most will be incremental.”
Adrian PercyCTO, UPL

Biologicals Enabling the Concept of Sustainable Agriculture?

“To be honest, I don’t consider that how we interpret organic farming today is the solution – I don’t see how the nature is good and the technology is bad: Leveraging science and technology ethically, whilst respecting nature, is the solution.”
Giuseppe Natale, Co-Founder & CEO, VALAGRO

The Rise of Biological Products in Crop Protection

“There is an expectation gap when trying to make a direct comparison between biological crop protection and chemical crop protection products, but as we continue to evolve, we need to keep the basic principle of integrated crop management at the heart of the discussion for products we develop and bring to market.”
Ry Wagner, President, International Agribusiness, ALGAENERGY

Selling Outcomes to Farmers

“Farmers want their tech suppliers and channel partners to have more equal skin in the game with them. Outcome-based offers bring additional choice and benefits to farmers, drive the adoption of new technology and improve the environmental footprint. Embrace this type of AI and your ecosystem, and you’ll be in a good place to position your solutions in an outcome-based model. In the future we’ll be able to sell yield instead of nitrogen, to offer a weed-free field instead of herbicide, essentially selling what the grower is truly looking for.”
Tobias Menne, Global Head of Digital Farming, XARVIO, BASF 

Making Agriculture Smarter

“It’s been a long learning curve to get the market educated and to get growers to use digital. Today we are in a good place, where the agricultural world has an initial layer of digital. Now we can start looking at optimization, and prove that digital technologies can move the needle in critical areas.”
Daniel Koppel, CEO & Co-Founder, PROSPERA

The Exit Story in AgTech


“ESG is not something you’re going to measure quarter to quarter in terms of how you did against a macro investment strategy. At its core, sustainability is what it sounds like, in terms of being viable over the long term. The time horizon may be different, the risk appetite may be different but ultimately that long-term societal and environmental imperative is going to drive cash flow in a reshaped economy.”
Mark Thompson, EVP & Chief Corporate Development & Strategy Officer, NUTRIEN

“There’s $112M of SPAC budget out there looking for opportunities right now. That’s dry powder sitting there with a time clock on it! The SPAC environment is exciting as it can provide opportunity for companies to move fast, to talk directly to the financial partner, get more money and move faster – but the trade you’re making is volatility.”
Brook Cunningham, Managing Director, Head of Agribusiness and Nutrition and Co-Head of Midwest Advisory, LAZARD

Key Audience Insights

In several sessions, we invited the summit audience to get involved in some of the panel discussions using an audience polling system. The key insights from the audience are below.

Who Joined Us in 2021

Here are just some of the global players and industry leaders who joined us at the virtual World Agri-Tech on March 9-10, 2021:

Join us in 2022

Join us at the next World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in San Francisco on March 22-23, 2022.

Get in touch if you would like to help shape the content and be involved as a speaker, partner or exhibitor.

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World Agri-Tech 2022