Monsanto's Climate Corporation Acquires VitalFields to Expand Digital Agriculture Innovation for Farmers

The VitalFields team will join The Climate Corporation, strengthening the company's efforts to deliver industry-leading digital technologies to farmers.

The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company (No. 43 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list), announced the acquisition of VitalFields, a European farm management software company based in Tallinn, Estonia. The VitalFields team will join The Climate Corporation, strengthening the company's efforts to deliver industry-leading digital technologies to farmers around the world.


Founded in 2011 and available in seven European countries, VitalFields offers an easy-to-use tool for farmers to plan, manage and analyze their field activities, including simplified tracking and reporting of all crop inputs to help ensure compliance with European Union environmental standards.

"At Climate, our vision is to deliver one centralized digital agriculture platform to provide farmers with the tools they need to optimize their operations," said Mike Stern, chief executive officer for The Climate Corporation. "VitalFields has built a successful business spanning multiple European countries, and we see how their digital tools will complement our Climate FieldView™ platform offerings in the future. This acquisition marks Climate's first step into the European market, and we're looking forward to working with VitalFields to grow and enhance their current tools to help farmers maximize their return on every hectare."

VitalFields' tools will continue to be sold in Europe. Climate plans to expand the VitalFields user base to help European farmers uncover valuable field insights and use field data to improve productivity.

"We share The Climate Corporation's vision of providing one connected digital ag platform for farmers across the globe," said Martin Rand, chief executive officer and co-founder for VitalFields. "We look forward to the opportunity to expand the availability of the tools we've developed to help more farmers across Europe broaden their experience of the value digital tools can provide toward greater efficiency and sustainability."

Prior to this acquisition, Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV), the venture capital arm of Monsanto Company, saw promise in the developing company and was an early investor in VitalFields, incorporating it into the MGV portfolio that includes a wide-range of independent companies active in key areas of agricultural productivity.

Backed by the most powerful data science engine and most extensive field research network in the agriculture industry, The Climate Corporation's industry-leading Climate FieldView platform delivers customized insights that help farmers make data-driven decisions with confidence to maximize yield potential, improve efficiency, and manage risk. Officially launched in 2015, the Climate FieldView platform is now on more than 95 million acres across the United States and Brazil, with more than 100,000 U.S. farmers engaging in Climate's digital tools. In less than two growing seasons, Climate FieldView has quickly become the most broadly connected platform in the industry and has continued to expand into global regions, including recent expansion into Canada and Brazil.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The VitalFields team will continue operating in Europe.

For more information about The Climate Corporation and the Climate FieldView platform, visit www.climate.com.

Monsanto Company Awards $500,000 Grant to T-REX to Support New Resource Center for Geospatial Innovation

Currently more than 200 small companies and start-ups are housed at T-REX, which is also located about two miles away from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency construction site.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Monsanto.

In its continued support of geospatial innovation, Monsanto Company has awarded a $500,000 grant to T-REX, a St. Louis based non-profit business and technology incubator to support the creation of a new Geospatial Resource and Innovation Center.

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Monsanto and 2Blades Foundation Collaborate to Combat Devastating Soybean Disease


"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Monsanto.

Monsanto Company and charitable organization 2Blades Foundation (2Blades) have formed a new collaboration to discover novel sources of genetic resistance to Asian soybean rust (ASR). 2Blades will deliver resistance genes in further collaboration with The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL, Norwich, UK), the leading global institute for research on plant-pathogen interactions, and the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), a leading university in agricultural sciences in Brazil.

Asian soybean rust, a disease caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, results in yellowing and browning of soybean leaves and can lead to premature senesence and significant yield loss. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), P. pachyrhizi has spread rapidly and causes yield losses from 10 to 80% in Argentina, Asia, Brazil, Paraguay, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.1

"Asian soybean rust is an ugly and expensive disease that can devastate farmers' harvests," said Jeremy Williams, Monsanto's biotechnology and ag productivity innovation lead. "Current fungicide treatments can provide some control, but farmers need more tools – and the 2Blades research could help provide a durable solution as part of an integrated pest-management system."

2Blades' mission is to contribute to global food security by developing crops with long-lasting resistance to pathogens in order to reduce losses due to disease. By working with world-leading plant scientists, 2Blades seeks to discover new sources of disease resistance in nature and transfer them into important crops to extend the breadth of their immune system and secure yields.

"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL. "It is therefore exciting to see that our scientific expertise and knowledge on plant-microbe interactions will be combined with Monsanto's capacity to deliver solutions to farmers to tackle a key challenge in soybean cultivation."

"The management of soybean rust requires the integration of different approaches, including disease resistance. This collaboration will allow us to use cutting-edge technologies to speed up the identification of new resistance genes that can be used to deliver more sustainable solutions to soybean farmers, reducing the environmental and economic impact of ASR," said Prof. Sérgio H. Brommonschenkel at UFV.

In January 2017, Monsanto, 2Blades and The Sainsbury Laboratory announced a collaboration focused on tackling corn disease complexes such as stalk and ear rots that have the potential to significantly reduce yield. That research is ongoing and is independent of this new collaboration.

The ASR collaboration complements Monsanto's work to expand the global crop protection toolbox while enabling farmers to produce more with less of an impact on the environment. 2Blades retains rights to deploy new leads arising from the program in crops for smallholder farmers in the least developed countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Soybean is a crop of significant and increasing importance in Africa, with extraordinary nutritional, soil, and economic benefits. However, the presence of ASR throughout the African continent is a major factor limiting production.

Monsanto: Mark Edge on WEMA, the Fall Armyworm and farmers in Africa

Mark Edge, Director of Collaborations for Developing Countries at Monsanto, talks about WEMA, the initiative that uses Bt maize to eradicate a harmful pest and help smallholder farmers in Africa.

REUTERS

By Mark Edge

Originally Published by Monsanto.

My work at Monsanto over the years has offered me many new challenges – lately I'm working with a team on the complex issue of helping smallholder farmers in Africa get better seed to help them manage the threats to their maize crops.

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