SXSW Eco - Austin, Texas

  • Austin Convention Center Austin Suite 500 E. Cesar Chavez

Will AgTech Help Scale up Sustainable Food + Farming?

AgTech is hot. AgFunder recently reported that some 499 agtech companies attracted $4.6 billion in investments last year, nearly double the $2.36 billion in 2014, and up from about $500 million in 2012. U.S. companies raised just over half that total, or $2.4 billion, and about $1.65 billion of the 2015 global total was for food e-commerce companies alone. There’s also been a huge jump in investor and accelerators to drive new technology; Monsanto and Campbell Soup Co. both now have their own venture capital operations. Along with new biological applications, farm electronic technology, including sensors, robots and drones, and big-data approaches, are all the rage. But questions remain whether ag tech will actually help farmers, and especially those who farm sustainably. Beyond vertical farming, meal kits, and new-fangled food stuffs like Soylent, what practical applications can tech have to scale sustainability?