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The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

Near Central Indiana, Agriculture in the Classroom, a program founded by the Indiana Farm Bureau, helps inspire students from kindergarten through high school to better understand the evolution, opportunities and challenges of farming in the State. This is done with an eye to inspiring the next generation of farmers – and encouraging those interested in furthering their agriculture education at the nearby University of Southern Indiana. These days, that means focusing on a discipline that may not have been on the radar for their grandparent’s farms — a degree in agriculture and technology. 

Today’s agricultural environment is less about manure spreaders and irrigation and more about sophisticated technologies from Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT). All this with a focus on growing cleaner, greener and better crops in a more efficient and effective way, which allows for lower operating costs, and more efficient agricultural production.

With technological advancements in areas such as data analysis and robotics, the global food system is moving to become substantially more productive, resilient and engaging as a part of the solution regarding climate change instead of being a major contributor. Indoor growing allows today’s farmers to grow crops in a more controlled environment, which can mean using less water and other natural resources. A leading example of advanced Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is found at AgriFORCE Growing Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: AGRI). The company is committed to revolutionizing indoor farming with its AgriFORCE GrowHouse designed to produce in virtually any climate and optimize crop yields to as near their full genetic potential as possible. Their approach uses an integrated strategy that includes crops, operations, facilities, environment and systems – bringing all aspects together to maximize the crop’s potential from seed to table.

AgriFORCE has taken an innovative approach to CEA, designing an indoor environment that is as  close as possible to an idealized outdoor growing environment – allowing for as much natural sunlight as is possible to reach the plants. AgriFORCE developed the  GrowHouse to provide a fully sealed environment, blocking virtually all toxins and pathogens, removing the need for herbicides, pesticides and/or irradiation. 

The pursuit of intellectual property (IP) in the agriculture industry has become something akin to the space race – it is competitive and fast-moving. At AgriFORCE, IP development in partnership with their AgTech alliance companies is at the heart of their business strategy and their robust acquisition pipeline and success in engaging some of the world’s most forward-thinking companies into initial negotiations is evidence of the excitement around their vision. This is because the AgriFORCE team has an underlying approach  that others seem to have missed. 

AgriFORCE has a comprehensive approach for improving today’s AgTech. They are focused on a cohesive, integrated approach – and are committed to continuing the development and acquisition of agriculture IP that advances sustainable cultivation and crop processing across multiple verticals. Said CEO Ingo Mueller: “ We are focused on providing more sustainable and better quality food, plant based products and ingredients, and pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. This means we have to continue to develop IP in-house as well as identify the innovators that are out in the world – and work to acquire them.” He added:  “We want to work with people and companies that have a similar vision of making positive change in the world; people who believe that everyone should have access to good-tasting, nutritious food and clean, consistent quality supplements and medicine.”  

Another key player in the sector is German-based Bayer AG (OTCMKTS: BAYRY), which recently invested $45 million into  California agritech startup Sound Agriculture, which claims its products can cut 30% of global nitrogen fertilizer use. Sound equates this to removing 200 million cars from the road. Sound is also advancing to an on-demand breeding platform that they say accelerates plant trait development 10 times faster than current technologies without genetically modified organisms. 

AgriFORCE, in turn, has continued its IP acquisition and development model by entering into a material definitive agreement to acquire Idaho-based Manna Nutritional Group LLC’s intellectual property. Manna encompasses patent-pending technologies to naturally process and convert grains, pulses, root vegetables and other substrates, resulting in low-starch, low-sugar, high-protein, fiber-rich baking flour products as well as a wide range of breakfast cereals, juices, natural sweeteners, and baking enhancers. The AgriFORCE team is dedicated to creating a comprehensive offering of plant-based foods and products, and agricultural solutions through advanced AgTech solutions – on a global scale.

“The Manna IP has the potential to change the game, to redefine how people can eat what they like, but in a healthier way. Imagine eating pastries and not having to worry about the carbs, knowing you are getting healthy fiber? It’s what we all dream of – no guilt cupcakes and cookies” AgriFORCE Brands President Mauro Pennella said.

As the development and acquisition of IP becomes more and more important in the AgTech sector, we  can only wonder what the students of today – who will be the professionals of tomorrow – are working on in classrooms in Indiana and around the U.S. Innovation and vision are clearly key elements in addressing big challenges in the world – including around food supply chains, sustainability and making good tasting, nutritious food easily accessible to everyone. Today’s innovation must inspire all of us as we look to the future of agriculture in the world.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

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