9 AgTech Startups Using AI to Grow Smarter

NANALYZE:  We won’t spend too much time belaboring some obvious points when it comes to feeding future Earth. Basically, we’re pretty well screwed. Estimates from just a few years ago said we would need to increase agricultural production by 70 percent to feed nine billion people. A more recent estimate says we can expect closer to 10 billion mouths to feed by mid-century. You do the math (mainly because our MBAs flunked their pre-algebra classes). Throw in a few record-setting storms every year for the next few decades, and soylent green is starting to taste pretty good. Still, we’re an optimistic bunch at Nanalyze (a lucrative opioid addiction will do that for you), and we have found plenty of reasons to be excited about agriculture technology—or, in the parlance of our times, agtech—and its use of artificial intelligence to grow some smart solutions.

AgTech Grows Up

One of the big reasons we’re rooting for the future is that the world’s biggest tech fund, the SoftBank Vision Fund, planted $200 million in the biggest agtech funding round ever for San Francisco-based Plenty. That brought total funding for the three-year-old company up to $226 million. SoftBank basically bought a farm. A vertical farm. Plenty employs the latest tech like IoT sensors and machine learning to grow crops vertically indoors using only light, water and nutrients. Its system reputedly uses only 1 percent of the water guzzled down by conventional farming techniques. Plenty also maintains it can grow up to 350 times as much produce per square foot as Old MacDonald.  Full Article:

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