Animal AgTech



10 weeks into writing the weekly Prime Future newsletter, I’ve been  wrestling with the where-are-we-going-with-this questions like, who am I really writing for and why?

The bleeding-edge livestock producer?

The soon-to-be founder?

The seasoned entrepreneur?

The investor considering the space?

The biz dev lead sourcing M&A targets?

For the last 3 months I’ve been quarantining at the farm where I grew up, working from the farm office. In addition to bass fish, (the perfect Zoom frame) on the walls are plaques for award-winning corn yields in 1984, my grandparents, and in 1949, my great-grandparents. There’s a 1964 announcement as my granddad began to sell a brand new financial product: crop-hail insurance. There’s a 1946 photo of my granddad and his brothers showing pigs at the Fort Worth Stock Show. In the last 3 months we’ve talked a lot about the stories of resilience in the face of hard times….not surprisingly, most of those stories involve the cattle market!

As I sit in this office thinking about what animal protein value chains could look like in 10 or 20 years, while surrounded by a family history of people who’ve built a life and a living raising livestock while building families and communities, I’m reminded how personal this is.

Agriculture is deeply personal. It’s personal for producers and for consumers.

And it’s a business. A business that has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, especially the last 10. Consolidation, volatile markets, changing consumer preference, increasing global demand, and more. An industry comparable in value to plant agriculture – highly valuable yet largely ignored by tech.

My desire to shape the future of animal agriculture stems directly from my desire to insure there *IS* a future of animal agriculture. 

…as someone who grew up on a farm.

…as someone who loves growth businesses and trajectory changing ideas.

….as someone who lives for a perfectly marbled Ribeye steak.

….as someone who knows firsthand how central livestock production is to rural communities.

For those of us who want to see a strong future for meat & poultry industries, here are three truths we must create:

  1. In order for animal agriculture to have a future, meat & poultry has to be relevant to consumers.
  2. In order for meat & poultry to remain relevant to consumers, we have to address The Big Issues like supply chain transparency, environmental impact & sustainability.
  3. In order for new technologies to be relevant to livestock producers, they have to fit into the practicalities of current production systems and practices while proving a demonstrable ROI.

The challenge will be threading the needle to increase relevance of business-improving solutions for producers while increasing the relevance of meat and poultry for consumers. 

It turns out, I’m writing Prime Future for anyone who shares an interest in accepting that challenge. 

Your turn. Why do you care about the trajectory of animal agriculture? 

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If you’ve never felt older than after reading that tweet, you are not alone.

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