As the agricultural industry faces numerous challenges such as climate change, production costs, and an aging workforce, farmers are increasingly turning to agtech to find solutions. Agtech encompasses the use of various technologies such as sensors, robotics, machines, and information technology to aid farmers in their practices. These innovations have opened up a world of possibilities, from using drones to detect pest outbreaks to employing machine learning for crop improvement.
One company at the forefront of leveraging agtech for a more sustainable food system is Mineral, an Alphabet company based in Mountain View, California. Mineral focuses on utilizing breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics to address the pressing issues of crop health, sustainability, and agricultural digitization. Led by CEO Elliot Grant, Mineral aims to be a valuable resource for farmers by providing actionable insights derived from the overwhelming amounts of data generated by the digitization of agriculture.
Chief Commercial Officer Erica Bliss, who joined Mineral in its early years, plays a crucial role in driving the company’s mission forward. With her background in tech consulting and experience working with supply chain pipelines, Bliss understands the complexities of agriculture and the importance of collaborating with growers, breeders, and producers. One of Mineral’s key partnerships is with CIAT, a research center dedicated to transforming food, land, and water systems. By connecting with growers, Mineral can collect valuable plant data that accelerates breeders’ efforts to develop drought-tolerant varieties and other critical traits.
While some growers may be wary of partnering with big tech companies, Mineral’s approach of de-risking and transparency helps to build trust. The company has successfully collaborated with industry giants like Driscoll’s, utilizing AI for quality inspection processes. By starting with small proof-of-concept experiments, Mineral demonstrates its capabilities and establishes standards that benefit growers.
Bliss also emphasizes the importance of diversity in agriculture, particularly in terms of gender and ethnicity. As a minority herself, she strives to bring more women and minorities into the technology and agriculture sectors. By fostering a diverse workforce and supporting a broader range of crops, Mineral aims to bring about positive change in agricultural practices.
In the face of the daunting challenges that farmers currently face, innovative solutions are crucial. Agtech, with its power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, provides new opportunities for the agricultural industry. Mineral’s goal is to make these resources accessible to farmers while building trust and promoting sustainability for a food-secure future.
1. What is agtech?
Agtech refers to the use of technologies such as sensors, robotics, machines, and information technology to enhance agricultural practices and address challenges in the farming industry.
2. How does Mineral leverage agtech?
Mineral, an Alphabet company, utilizes breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics to provide actionable insights and solutions for crop health, sustainability, and digitization in agriculture.
3. Who is Erica Bliss?
Erica Bliss is the Chief Commercial Officer at Mineral. With a background in tech consulting and supply chain pipelines, she brings expertise in partnering with growers, breeders, and producers to address agricultural challenges.
4. How does Mineral establish trust with growers?
Mineral de-risks partnerships and emphasizes transparency to build trust with growers. The company starts with small proof-of-concept experiments to showcase its capabilities and establish standards that benefit growers.
5. What is the importance of diversity in agriculture?
Diversity in agriculture, including gender and ethnicity, brings a broader range of perspectives and voices to the table, contributing to positive change in agricultural practices. Mineral aims to foster diversity in both its workforce and the crops cultivated by farmers.