Farming is not a guy with a hoe and some seed. Agriculture is a big part of our economy.
Much less is done by hand, and there we’re seeing emerging technologies, like AI, satellites, IoT, blockchain for supply chain management, and better yields from fields in every region of the planet.
My friend and AgriTech specialist David Rockwood joined me for a live chat via Zoom. This episode is an edited version of that event, chock full of interesting information on where the money and tech are flowing into agriculture and a few great stories along the way.
See the YouTube version here: The Future of AgriTech
Listen to the podcast here:
The Future of AgriTech – David Rockwood
Warren Whitlock: [00:00:00] Warren Whitlock here, it’s Distributed Conversations, with David Rockwood of, AgriTech, global. And, Dave is a very old friend. You can see by looking at our faces.
We’re old at everything we do, but we were in Thailand back in the seventies.
Warren Whitlock: [00:00:29] And a boy we’ve been friends a lot longer than we were back then. For several years now we’ve been hanging out together and he does, anything that’s moving between, the US and Southeast Asia and then other projects as they come up, we could spend an hour just talking briefly about Dave’s resume.
But today we’re going to be talking about agriculture and the future. what’s a farm going to be like in the future. I remember when I lived in Thailand and what a farm looks like, David, do they look like that today?
David Rockwood: [00:01:02] surprisingly there, a lot of that old agric, old farms that we saw or are still in that operating mode.
What we’re trying to do is to help these farmers. In less developed countries, integrate precision agriculture. So the land is already good, the natural resources good. But with precision agriculture, we’re helping farmers make better decisions and, we help monitor their growth and run, imaging through our artificial intelligence to give them advice.
As to what they need to do next and what, and we tie into the weather forecast. So that just with a text message so they can query to find out what’s going on.
Warren Whitlock: [00:01:51] So in, I know now that I remember in the eighties, Oh no. The seventies, eighties, nineties. I go to the grocery store and I saw something like a mango shipped in from Thailand or a pineapple or something I’m going like, oh yeah, Thailand has lots of fruit.
But you described it, I think, as a breadbasket for the world. And so there’s must have been some change in how they do it. They’re more corporate agriculture going on, or
David Rockwood: [00:02:18] the essence just as what’s happened around the world, you have small shareholder farmers. that sometimes enter into a co-op and then there’s an agent that then gives them a contract for their produce.
And then brokers that with the large food processors, like doll, Syngenta, and a lot of these other, CP group Thai union. the advantage that’s happened in Southeast Asia is you still have the good land, but modern infrastructure so that they can export the high-value crops. Like I, I can guarantee you anybody walk into their store that there’s about an 80% chance that canned pineapple is coming from Thailand.
There’s about an 80% chance that the two to fish that you’re buying here in America, came from Thailand
Warren Whitlock: [00:03:18] and compare that, contrast that to what it was back in the seventies. When I learned it.
David Rockwood: [00:03:22] we didn’t have a global supply chain. Not too long ago. You could, you get them narrow? You couldn’t get a mango in offseason.
Warren Whitlock: [00:03:32] Yeah. And so well, I remember the joke over there was that the guy was traveling home and he stayed at a hotel in Hong Kong and he wrote back about the marvelous fruit he had because he found out it was an Apple. yeah. And you just knew that things were different. There were seasons when we, the fruit would not only be available at certain times.
And, that, boy we’ve taken care of back because somewhere in the world, somebody can grow anything you need, that and other tech that’s happened, but I still get this image of there’s a small landowner who doesn’t want to get along with anybody. Doesn’t have a computer just works the land and he’s happy they’re raising a family on the land.
Is that gone? or is..
David Rockwood: [00:04:16] that is totally gone. And I’ll explain to you why, but what is done is Warren it’s leapfrog from computers to tablets and cell phones. Okay. Southeast Asia has one of the highest capture rates of, FaceTime line and what’s that. And even if the FA mom and dad, the farmers back upcountry, their daughter that is working at a factory in Bangkok, she sends them a cheap smartphone, a cheaper Samsung or a Chinese brand so that they can communicate.
And, they’re, they stream and watch their Netflix on their handset. Yeah. It’s so what we, so
Warren Whitlock: [00:05:06] we’re, let’s see. When I was there, we got on the bike and rode for 15 minutes to get through the phone company
David Rockwood: [00:05:13] right
Warren Whitlock: [00:05:14] in line to make a phone call.
David Rockwood: [00:05:16] I remember I had an emergency at home. And, I literally had to make an appointment at the telephone company to call to the U S
Warren Whitlock: [00:05:28] yup.
Yup. I remember that. Yeah. I talked to the U S twice while I was over there and both times it was at a phone company
David Rockwood: [00:05:37] and now I have my Bangkok cell phone right here on my desk, running over Wi-Fi. And I, I accept calls 24 seven from my staff and my team in Bangkok and Philippines and Vietnam, because of the power of, internet and cheap communications.
Warren Whitlock: [00:06:00] we multiply this times, the, all the other places it’s happening, because we were writing billions rising, we focused on this one thing going on in Kenya, which was called M-Pesa. And so this was seven years ago and the later stats, I see show that they went from, nobody had banking to, they have now more M-Pesa accounts than adults in, in, in Kenya.
We’ve never heard of it, but Kenya has phones. The great I’m bank got bank. So now I think of that guy living in a hut on a small farm as he’s got a cell phone. Exactly. That means he can bank through the cell phone and he can check market prices. What I would imagine no fisherman goes out without a cell phone today.
David Rockwood: [00:06:50] exactly. Yeah.
Warren Whitlock: [00:06:52] So
David Rockwood: [00:06:53] it’s truly where technology has enabled and given more power to the grower. In the past you had a contract, you just kept in that contract, no matter what market prices were. So let’s
Warren Whitlock: [00:07:09] go, let’s now let’s start going forward. Then you’ve been working on, on satellite imagery and we want to cover that and, just trying to tick off what else is happening?
What, how’s the farm going to be different in 10 years?
David Rockwood: [00:07:23] we’re already seeing it now. Okay. and w the term is precision agriculture. So what I’m able to do is I, we use three different types of satellites. One is a hyperspectral imaging satellite, and what we do is we’re measuring the chlorophyll uptake of that field.
So to the natural eye, we don’t see it. Okay. The hyperspectral is near infrared and our satellite is a low earth orbit satellite. The satellite is about the size of a, of a shopping cart. So it’s these mini SATs and most of them have been launched by Elon Musk. With space X, the company is called planet.
And what we’ve done is for the technical people out there is this bait, basically a mesh network of smaller satellites spread out. There’s two to 400 of these birds out. one, in fact, one of the, one of the groups who’s called the dove satellite. And with that mesh capability, we’re able to operate at a lower altitude.
So we get higher resolution imaging, and then that imagery, we run through artificial intelligence so that we can measure the change from week to week of that chlorophyll uptake image that we get from the farm.
Warren Whitlock: [00:08:57] you’ve got, yeah, we’ve got just unlimited space for satellite. We get this information, you can tell exactly w how well the field’s doing and the pieces of the field.
And, and basically people can plant spend less money on fertilizer or
David Rockwood: [00:09:13] water or whatever, just like anything that’s increasing efficiency. So I, you, and I’ve had this discussion once before, so I have a, a 30 something daughter who was a vegan chef and very much into the, into the ecology as I am, but she said, dad, You’re helping all these Palm, these Palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Palm is really bad on the environment.
And I told her, I said, guess what deer with? They use our technology and become more efficient. They don’t have to take more forest to have output. So when you increase efficiency, we’re actually helping that existing Palm oil field have better yield, better results. The farmer makes more money and we don’t have to burn down more forests for more Palmer to
Warren Whitlock: [00:10:12] get the desired goal of less Palm oil, you would want to get less demand for Cuomo.
because you make that feel more efficient than the guys doing well and want to get more land as long as the demand for Palm oil is still there. So the only way to take care of things like better, healthier food is to make sure that people buying and eating food, are making those kinds of, decisions.
yeah, it’s, your daughter’s heart is in the right place.
David Rockwood: [00:10:42] and then the other thing too on this. So the same technology where we’re helping farmers become more efficient. We are working with some NGOs on measuring environmental impact of big industry on the neighbor
Warren Whitlock: [00:11:01] farm.
David Rockwood: [00:11:02] Yeah.
Okay. And with we help crop insurance companies, we help environmental protection agencies and people would be surprised, but these oil companies, these, power plants, cement factories that are. having an input into the ecology, they do want to monitor themselves as well. They want, if it’s a driver in our economy, now that we’re doing sustainable self-sufficient, industry and we can help monitor,
Warren Whitlock: [00:11:39] we want to get, yeah, no matter what the goals are that we’re going for.
killing the technology just never make sense. It’s there. and of course, somebody’s going to figure out how to do it. It’s like getting rid of guns or whatever. We just did a show with that, somebody was talking about what they were doing to make gun ownership safer.
and it’s okay, you got to get away from the, are we going to do it or not? And, people have guns. We got w that’s an industry. People bring gambles smoke. those are all industry. We burn a lot of oil and unless we do something about changing demand it, but the tools are there for anybody that’s using it, that satellites feeding, because what’s the limitations of where your satellite can pick up data.
David Rockwood: [00:12:25] and that’s the exciting thing we have customers and we’ve never been to their farm.
Warren Whitlock: [00:12:31] Yeah.
David Rockwood: [00:12:32] So they basically send me a GPS, coordinate. We take that and we do KML files that we went through our software. But one last point I wanted to talk about a little bit though, to, Warren, is that another thing that we can also do with my technology?
We’re doing carbon credit audits. So you take a forest, we can scan that for us with the three different satellites. And I’ll explain those a little bit more and measure the amount of oxygen that’s being created by that forest that they can now broker in the carbon credits.
Warren Whitlock: [00:13:14] It reminds me of something. I heard the argument about, Oh, it was back when we were just talking about global warming, not the climate change we talk about today, but the science was that, they were taking a temperature, reading all over the world and it turned out every place they took a temperature reading was on land.
Most of the world is sea. And when they figured out how to take temperature readings or what the. Surface of the ocean is in the middle of Pacific Ocean. Got some different things. I believe we had just been through one and an El Nino season and they said, there’s L El or LA Nina. El Nino. Yes.
And when it gets, when all the temperatures go down instead of up and it’s a completely different effect. And ever since then, I’ve had this idea, the earth. Dang big place and thinking that what we do in one place is going to matter all that much. Sure. Be a good boy scout, take care of the baby, the campsite better than you found it.
and so I’m an environmentalist from that. From that standpoint, but, and we have to look at it. There’s a big industry doing something wrong. we ought to change that industry, but, number one is by knowing exactly what’s going on.
David Rockwood: [00:14:24] boy, so we’re data driven and we’re science driven.
So digital readout to that farmer that used to have the little analog needles.
Warren Whitlock: [00:14:37] It’s just a better tool. Can you break, can you get how much algae is growing in
David Rockwood: [00:14:41] ocean? Exactly. Yeah. So our technology, we have many verticals and let me just I’ll loop back to the environmental impact on our property and credits.
So what we’re able to do, and as soon as this is very timely. So because of the Trump administration’s Ella advise trade war with China, what happens is it was like we did carpet bombing. Instead of sending seal team six, to solve the exact problem with China. So now we now have all these farmers that could not sell their crop.
And market prices plummeted. So we’re now giving that same farmer. That’s having crop sales problems. We can do a carbon credit from what they’re doing and that’s been able to help. So our technology is helping farmers in distress
Warren Whitlock: [00:15:38] to at least get some more income here. I got thinking of. And thank you for sticking with my policy of no politics on this show.
we have said that word, the T word, and now we have political commentary. but not that I don’t agree with you. but, anyway, it doesn’t matter, whatever it is you’re trying to do. The tool is what’s going to give you the right kind of information. and I know you get, you go down that path of what this doing.
AI can read your data, and
David Rockwood: [00:16:05] the, let me just go sit by sip a little bit, because, Our warrants, excuse me, we have three different satellites. So the first satellite is an image that is hyperspectral that I get those reflective values. The second satellite that I do is a radar satellite.
So I now come build a 3d model because when the satellite goes over, it doesn’t just take the picture streaming straight down. I get that full 180 degree horizon. Okay, so I can measure how tall your corn is,
Warren Whitlock: [00:16:41] okay. And if you can do that, then you basically have a virtual earth,
David Rockwood: [00:16:46] I’m building a 3d model of your farm.
In a data cube. Then the third satellite that I have is the G O M E two satellite. And what it does is it measures particulates in the atmosphere. Okay. So we can measure how much oxygen was generated from that forest, from your corn field. And how much moisture is in the atmosphere, as we regard to the strength, health, and vigor
Warren Whitlock: [00:17:22] of your phone.
So these arguments I’ve heard before about whether or not the, El Nino discussion we were having and, what we’re doing. And I just saw a piece of a documentary where, you know, the wind off of the Sahara Desert, Great. it’s actually bones, dead animals that wind up in the Amazon and make the rain us work.
and boy, before that, and I’ve known it for a few weeks. I’d heard of things like that before, but really sat down and watched it. It was 20 minutes and I’m going. I do not know how all this works and of course, no one else does, but it’s all there because like I said, thinking about three D and you could, you could start, putting agriculture on the side of a building and you would know what the.
Carbon credit was for the skyscraper,
David Rockwood: [00:18:09] how exactly
Warren Whitlock: [00:18:11] are taking good care of their gardens.
David Rockwood: [00:18:14] Exactly. and that’s the thing is we’re bundling all of that imaging so that my AI has more data. The more data that an artificial intelligence has, the better it gets and then we can do predictive.
So here’s another advantage that our competitors don’t do. We, because we’re using satellite imaging, there are historical images up to 10 to 15 years of your farm,
Warren Whitlock: [00:18:44] right?
David Rockwood: [00:18:45] So I can take those historical images, run those through my AI and show you areas of your farm. That have low water table, high water table wind problems because we’re feeding that into artificial intelligence so that now the farmers spending time on problems in the past might.
So I come from a small business family and an agriculture family. And a sugar factory family. So then I’m in the harmonic convergence here, Warren and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. so basically what’s happening is that we’re able, because now the farmer spends more time on what matters. So my cousins up in cache Valley, they would just put nitrogen over the whole farm.
Right now we’ll tell them, actually you only need to do the South five acres, the Southeast acres. That’s the only part that needs nitrogen, not the whole
Warren Whitlock: [00:19:50] farm. And you might actually even damage things by putting it on floor.
David Rockwood: [00:19:55] You have one example where we show one of our, one of our, cannabis growers was having a problem in this one area of his farm.
with our satellite imaging and analytics, after about a week or two, we showed him that the increased stress on his crop was all in one straight line. That meant that his water system had failed in that section, he would have never known that.
Warren Whitlock: [00:20:23] Yeah. You could show him exactly which pipe to fix.
David Rockwood: [00:20:27] Exactly. Because the plants where that was the stress was right along that
Warren Whitlock: [00:20:33] reply. It does seem to be, we got to bring up the thing. I really hate to talk about this part, the privacy part that this data is we’ve got to imagine that’s all being fed into whatever government secret agencies are looking at us all.
they really can tell whether or not, I,
what you did back can tell whether or not I run my pool filter.
David Rockwood: [00:20:55] Exactly. and you’re asking me about algae. So algae is a chlorophyll. We measured the chlorophyll in algae. So we’re scanning shrimp farms in Southeast Asia, and we can measure the health of that farm based upon the algae levels.
Okay. So I don’t look underneath the water, but I can see the reflective value of the algae off the pond. So we know if it’s got a good ecosystem
Warren Whitlock: [00:21:25] or not. Wow. And it’s, but it’s got to be, used for competitive intelligence or some sort of, surveillance
David Rockwood: [00:21:34] and set a
Warren Whitlock: [00:21:34] matter of how that tool is used and what restrictions we put on the government.
David Rockwood: [00:21:40] let me tell you something. So here’s the, here’s another issue. Okay. These are private satellites. We don’t ask permission. You don’t have to ask permission, right? We have a client. We are doing a census count of cassava fields and they want to know effect of solver is supplying their factory or somebody else’s
Warren Whitlock: [00:22:06] factory.
Wow. Okay. the same technology that is going to allow them to see where did the trucks
David Rockwood: [00:22:12] go?
Warren Whitlock: [00:22:13] What else happened? and
David Rockwood: [00:22:15] how am I going to go shut up today?
Warren Whitlock: [00:22:19] I’m going to splay core chlorophyll all over my, acreage. So it looks like something’s growing,
David Rockwood: [00:22:25] you just
Warren Whitlock: [00:22:25] can’t do it. bring it, go to the nursery and bringing some plants.
but I can see ’em now let me go to, what I think is one of the evillest types of organizations on earth and HOA. and
David Rockwood: [00:22:37] they decide,
Warren Whitlock: [00:22:38] my son just had a problem where it was HOA is telling them they would like some different colors on the houses. And so they picked a different color for his house and now he needs
David Rockwood: [00:22:48] to paint it and,
Warren Whitlock: [00:22:49] and he just upgraded and fixed the painting from the last edict that it got now, whether or not I’m getting the true story on there, it gets me thinking of.
Man, these people can just demand all sorts of stuff. We’re going to find you or whatever. And they’ve got, money that they can collect out of escrow
David Rockwood: [00:23:05] and
Warren Whitlock: [00:23:06] lean basically. But now somebody gets crazy. They
David Rockwood: [00:23:09] can tell you that we’re requiring
Warren Whitlock: [00:23:11] everybody in our
David Rockwood: [00:23:12] community to
Warren Whitlock: [00:23:14] have this kind of a plant.
and it’s got to grow well. So if you’re not keeping up to snuff on what kind of tree, they told you to put in your backyard, bell. No.
David Rockwood: [00:23:23] and, I think probably the cost of doing that right now is a tad bit high is you have to
Warren Whitlock: [00:23:29] order a report on one backyard, but theoretically, in all the other privacy concerns,
David Rockwood: [00:23:35] are you.
Yeah. Are you wearing
Warren Whitlock: [00:23:38] your swim trunks when you’re sunbathing?
David Rockwood: [00:23:41] Oh, that I do presentations at corporations. I tell everybody guess what? Anytime you step out that door, there’s been a picture taken. So as I remember, I used three different types of satellite technology with planet and that mesh or 400, two to 400, small satellites.
We circumvent every spot on the world twice a day.
Warren Whitlock: [00:24:08] Sure. Yeah. And then there’s the military one that does have infrared.
David Rockwood: [00:24:14] we are at three meter resolution, right? military spec is less than 50 centimeter. So
Warren Whitlock: [00:24:25] I can stick my arm out and they know that I did
David Rockwood: [00:24:31] light and drone, drone drones can get very but again, we’re doing this to help the farmer.
So if you remember his story, so the three different products I offer or a census or audit. Okay of your, of who’s growing. What? Okay. how much oxygen is being generated for a carbon credit? Okay, then we’re also doing historical analytics to advise you what you should plant, where when, and then we monitor the current grow and finally we can do predictive yield.
So up and down the supply chain who really wants my data, basically
Warren Whitlock: [00:25:15] growing pineapples in Thailand and the shrimp farms. And. Even to the allergist things. Those are all things that we know are industries that are pretty well set up. They have supply chains, the farm to table movement and everything is going to change some of that.
So we’re going to have more information on everything, but it could be getting a little bit broader. What’s going to happen for those of us that aren’t, aren’t using your technology, but want to have, what else, other things that are, where would we invest? What we do, who’s going to benefit most
David Rockwood: [00:25:43] cannabis.
right now, any high value crop. Okay. Because they can make a V if they make a mistake, it’s an expensive mistake.
Warren Whitlock: [00:25:54] Sure.
David Rockwood: [00:25:55] Okay. So high value crops, fruit. Cannabis, and big, important crop, Palm oil. We now we have competitors that do a lot of corn wheat soy. We’ve decided to be on higher value crop.
And, we’re much more than our competitors.
Warren Whitlock: [00:26:16] I saw one presentation that said, 50% of the seafood harvested is, is wasted in the supply chain.
David Rockwood: [00:26:25] So post-harvest management. Remember what I’m talking about? Precision agriculture, And precision supply chain management. So another one on my customers, Warren is AIG insurance.
They offer crop insurance, right? Okay. So let’s say that you’re a farmer down in Louisiana. And you just had a hurricane that’s
Warren Whitlock: [00:26:54] Louisiana farm, getting a hurricane easy to imagine.
David Rockwood: [00:26:58] We can pull up historical data of your farm and what your typical yield was. And to current of, while the crops that were destroyed to help the insurance company come up with a fair algorithm and settlement.
And so we’re that third party audit. So we’re confirming yes. Farmer X lost 200 acres and he has a thousand acres and his normal yield is X.
Warren Whitlock: [00:27:35] So much, it gets more predictable things to get more predictable, get more efficient, reduce friction, and get more profitable. it’s the certainty we’re all looking for.
David Rockwood: [00:27:47] And so AIG, didn’t send a person to go out and check it. They hired us.
Warren Whitlock: [00:27:53] I, and I see my favorite car per example, on high value is snow crabs. Got to be there, shipped living. And $110 a pound, I think is what the number I heard. And one of the companies I can solve this, doing that. And they’re going to, they’ve got IOT in involved, so they know when, if a, pallet gets dropped, they know that’s what killed the snow crabs.
And they can not only for the insurance purposes of it, but bigger yield because everybody knows exactly what’s going
David Rockwood: [00:28:23] on. So with seafood, the fishermen, they’re all running on GPS. Okay. They can send a signal to us to take a picture because this particular area of their pots have a good yield.
Okay. So rather than just the GPS coordinates, we will measure the reflective, nature of the sea around them and look for similar. Reflective values.
Warren Whitlock: [00:28:55] So there are some, doom and gloom coming out of, you, might’ve heard there’s a bit of a virus going around, and there’s some talk of, we’re going to have more problems with supply chains, not getting the food.
It won’t just be toilet paper next time. and, the other thing is with a large population, which is well over doubled in our lifetimes of the globe changes a lot of things. are we going to run out of food or we’re going to run out,
David Rockwood: [00:29:22] again, you hit the best part about supply chain.
So when we all talk up, we see starving people in this world, we have way plenty of our food. Okay. At first security is an issue. So the more exact we can be, and the more precision we are the better, but I help supply chain. So now Dole pineapple knows if those fields that they’re expecting to harvest in 30, 60, 90 days.
If they’re on process, we’re good. Okay. But let’s say that we had a storm or there wasn’t enough rain. We now can shift. Okay. To add more pineapple to meet their demand.
Warren Whitlock: [00:30:07] and that’s, near real time to where the fact is that you can look and see what your forecast is for harvest.
And tomorrow you look again and it’s different just because all the underlying data.
David Rockwood: [00:30:19] So we have a customer and I can’t divulge their name. I’m sorry. I divulged a couple of names before I forgot I can’t do that. But we have a customer that knew that the tomato crop in Europe was having a problem.
Okay. They tripled their output of tomatoes, right? In the middle East.
And made a chili.
Warren Whitlock: [00:30:45] Yeah. Wow.
David Rockwood: [00:30:47] So when you’re talking about intelligence, so I can monitor to see what’s good. What’s bad. What’s the impact.
Warren Whitlock: [00:30:55] sure if I’m a trader, I need this information. If know, what w what percentage of the economy is agriculture?
David Rockwood: [00:31:02] I’ll at least 20. Yeah. So here’s the thing people were asking us about COVID some of our projects got delayed just because people didn’t know what’s going on. But we are an essential industry.
Okay. So none of my projects canceled. In fact, some have doubled up of course, because everybody has to eat
Warren Whitlock: [00:31:27] Warren. Yeah. Yeah. it’s, that’s the interesting thing. I just read a number on the declining unemployment in my state. and it was like shocked at how much it had dropped from the high point.
But it still was, the same as with the 2008, problems. so we’re still looking at some bad times ahead, but the change was so quick. Yeah. With the way things adapt is just speeding up so much. I, that’s why I like to say we’re coming into the great acceleration. I think the twenties are going to be known for the accelerating abundance more than this.
A little problem we’re having with the coronavirus.
David Rockwood: [00:32:08] yeah. Careers exchanging
Warren Whitlock: [00:32:10] things, but there’s so much
David Rockwood: [00:32:12] good coming. So abundance,
Warren Whitlock: [00:32:14] plenty of to eat for anybody.
David Rockwood: [00:32:16] does it take care of anything with clean water? or give me an example, another interesting point. It’s
Warren Whitlock: [00:32:21] not your company.
David Rockwood: [00:32:23] Oh, we, the thing is we can monitor that.
Okay. And the fact that I’m using those three different types of satellites, I can measure how much. Moisture is in the atmosphere coming from the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic ocean, or the Gulf of Siam and the typical weather patterns to see if I should water my crop tomorrow, or is it going to rain?
Warren Whitlock: [00:32:53] That’s, that’s more effective
David Rockwood: [00:32:54] efficiency and reducing probably what we help the most. A warrant is water costs. So you live in Las Vegas. I live in Utah, two of the driest, agricultural States in the world, and, if you, if, when people are flying over America and you see those round things on the ground all over that’s round, because that’s how the irrigation.
Machine works. Okay. It’s motorized and goes in a circle, pumping water over the crop, depending upon where you’re at and depending on the size of your farm. Okay. Every time you water in water cost and energy can be as high as $250 per time. Wow. Okay. Now, if in my predictive models, I’m telling you that yes, your ground sensor is showing that you’re a little dry.
Okay. But your water table is still good because of the chlorophyll we’re getting up. And we checked with the radar of the weather radar, and you’re going to get rain in 15 hours. So don’t
Warren Whitlock: [00:34:09] water. yeah, we’re back to what I said, where else does this help? I go to Kenya and, the story of the, of, the last hunger season, it was a book we, I read while we work and I’m billions rising.
and I just, in fact I find myself recommending it more than my own book. I really loved for the stories in here. That the people didn’t know what day the rains would come or what day the planning season would start. And it was a big deal in their lives because they wanted to get a high enough yield because they were going to be, by the time the harvest comes, they’re starving.
They’re trying to pick, whatever they’re growing maize. So I guess unripened unwrapping mazes. but anyway, they want to go out and harvest something cause they want to eat the food may not taste good, but there’ll be some nutrients in it. And, but, and I remember the story just was going on for a few weeks of not knowing which day it was going to rain well with the kind of data that sound that shouldn’t be happening, it should be able to pretty much plan on it.
And know what’s going to happen and know whether or not to water and again, a lot less costs going on, but the information is still valid
David Rockwood: [00:35:20] if we make it all about efficient,
Warren Whitlock: [00:35:22] more profitable. And that means that they grow the billions rise. as we say, we know the biggest growth of the world in the next 50 years is going to be Africa, as a percentage kind of a thing.
Average has got a long way to go before it’s the economic powerhouse or anything, but you’ve got a billion people going to be 2 billion people in Africa. And, lots of places that are grow. The stories I was hearing was from Kenya in the Western valleys, which are considered to be one of the greatest places on earth, the most stuff.
and, and still people were starving on their farms and you’re like, wow, fix that. And you fix the, the age distribution that comes in dumps, maze on them that w what drops the price by two thirds. and it just really screws up their life in other ways. So what I, when I look at the technology, I started with the whole blockchain crypto thing.
Back when we were working on that book. And that was the idea that kept nagging at me was wiring money to a foreign country was just so hard. and, we have it relatively easy. Most of the time I can pay pal anywhere I want to go or something else like that. but allowing these people now with M-Pesa in, in Kenya where everybody can store money on their mobile phone.
they’ve got to be having more economic growth. I’ve got to go check back with that story to see how that works, but better farms, better incomes, more dependable, not having to worry whether or not you’re going to have a crisis because you starve to death two days before harvest time, being able to plan for the extra help you need, which actually is jobs.
David Rockwood: [00:37:00] so you’re talking about in very impoverished areas. We have another technology partner that we use called connect. And basically what they’re doing is they have a standalone satellite to sell hub. So we get the IP know. So the internet connection via satellite that is not cheap. But then we propagate from that one tower via a regular cell
Warren Whitlock: [00:37:33] network to
David Rockwood: [00:37:34] the farmers.
Okay. So that’s doing our FA haul and back haul. And in a place that has no connectivity. So when you share, so it’s a prime example of, I have the one, satellite uplink, but I’m spreading that out to a thousand and losers with a low cost, 3g cell phone.
Warren Whitlock: [00:37:58] So I was looking at the, The curves of, industry’s growing and things like that.
And there was a lot of stuff where we invest, you get into what you’re doing right now, whether or not it’s a particular company that does well or whatever ag tech is going to be bigger. But I don’t know, by what factor two 10 doesn’t matter. It’s going up no matter what we do. and, so that means, cause we’re going to have to feed more people and we’ll have to feed them better and we’re going to have to make the food more nutritious, more available and not harming the environment while we’re doing it.
And all those things say,
David Rockwood: [00:38:35] people are
Warren Whitlock: [00:38:36] going to be knocking on your doors for
David Rockwood: [00:38:38] a long time to come.
and I’m not that thing we’re doing Howard or, Warren is, we’re taking a lot of our technology, so that same imaging technology, I’m minimizing it in cameras, inside green. Okay. So that’s another thing.
So the whole urban garden, urban grow, take an old warehouse and turn it into a farm. Okay. That’s a new thing. Okay. So I
Warren Whitlock: [00:39:10] can’t be rented because of, people doing remote work. the commercial real estate could be filled up with agriculture.
David Rockwood: [00:39:17] Yeah, we could take an old mall that nobody’s going to run indoor agriculture in there.
And, so I’m adapting my AI to work with indoor cameras. Hyperspectral great. All of that. So
Warren Whitlock: [00:39:34] yeah, it’s, I’ve seen some things where you get something like a deep freezer or refrigerator, depending on that shape and size. And it’s something that’s going to be built into the kitchen because you’re going to be able to get fresh, fresh, crops right out off of it.
Grow your own herbs and grow your own tomatoes. I don’t know what, and I guess thinking about that’s pretty cool, I don’t care enough to be able to pick a ripe tomato, but while I’m making pasta sauce, but if my grocery store is doing that,
David Rockwood: [00:40:04] and we’re seeing that there are new.
there’s our company that are supplying all of the salad greens. Two Albertsons in the San Francisco area and it’s all grown in a warehouse.
Warren Whitlock: [00:40:19] So I go into warehouse
David Rockwood: [00:40:20] and try here.
Warren Whitlock: [00:40:23] Yeah. Yeah. I know. Let’s see food being grown in, Indiana. it’s not
David Rockwood: [00:40:28] a lot of old family, farmers are now growing shrimp because they can’t afford to grow dairy
Warren Whitlock: [00:40:35] cows.
And, but especially as you get into the idea of the urban, which cuts down on the transportation costs or available, but easily, like if I go to the mall that was gone, you don’t need to change, put the whole mall agriculture, you can put a single store, it’s certainly a single department store attached to a mall, could become all that sort of thing.
and then of course there’s the retail that goes with that. The jobs that go with that. That kind of a micro economy that goes on with their
David Rockwood: [00:41:05] shopping center right now. Urban agriculture is actually being driven by taste because especially with salad greens and tomatoes, the fresher, the better, And so their value proposition to getting that Albertson’s contract in California was quality taste and reliable supply
Warren Whitlock: [00:41:32] chain.
David Rockwood: [00:41:33] Okay. Yeah. So I wanted to touch on in indoor agriculture, more than just because that’s, that is a big thing. And we’re making a version of our analytics and advisory, but on the, I’ll be honest with you.
That’s driven from my indoor cannabis customers.
Warren Whitlock: [00:41:54] Of course. They are out ahead. they needed to be endorsed because, they didn’t want to be seen by a satellite. of course that’s changing with laws. any other, things in agriculture we should be looking for. you want to diversify?
David Rockwood: [00:42:07] I’m going to see, farm to table, authenticity.
Okay. I can track, where’s that. Corn from what field, with our system, that’s easier to do, with what we’re doing on environmental impact. it’s just IOT using, using satellite, using drone, using ground sensors. And with all of that data, we’re just helping farmers make better decisions.
Warren Whitlock: [00:42:37] Exactly. Exactly. That’s the heart of what you do. and they, and that information is out there regardless of who is, who’s doing something with it. So there’s that
David Rockwood: [00:42:47] agriculture is the hardest thing there is. Yeah, because it all depends on work. we can’t control the weather yet. And what I find interesting that I’m not standing on a political soapbox here, a Warren, but that all farmers will tell you there is an impact.
Okay. The world’s weather patterns are changing. Okay. And just look at the particulate of the fires from California,
I’m in park city, Utah at 7,000 feet. And I get the effect because of the jet stream. Yeah. And particulates in the air. Okay. Creates a problem for my crop.
Warren Whitlock: [00:43:31] So yeah, the protest and the soap box and the who’s passing laws and politics, all of that.
They’re worried about a whole different ideas about the approach or which attitude to take. but when you get right down to it, If we’re going to be alive in a changing planet, we have to figure out what’s working and how we can change it. If suddenly, Siberia becomes a great place to grow crops.
we’re going to need, we’re going to need your data. and you have it. You can tell me where, where the permafrost is gone and there’s a good place to planning is
David Rockwood: [00:44:02] like that. Even where you’re at in Las Vegas, not very far from you, there’s quite a bit of cannabis being grown. Yeah. and cause it’s actually lights dry.
and, we have clients there that we’re providing analytics for, but, that’s that difference now is we can go indoor fully, controlled environments, partially controlled environments, and then just make better choices in our outdoor grow.
Warren Whitlock: [00:44:29] Oh yeah. There’s a whole lot of issues that come up as we all live on tighter compounds and, and, get our food from either from our.
Our kitchen or our, our grocery store that’s been grown organically or whatever. it doesn’t matter what echo says we set up, but I was talking to somebody, earlier today, shisha, might’ve been you, we were on the phone earlier, about the idea of a connection that no matter what we are, no matter what we do, we need some kind of a connection and animal.
Could it be put together unless the, the court. Work, the little pieces of Adam’s the quantum we’re talking quantum physics here, the electron and the proton will work. If one of them was off by, a billion of what is on it. And that attraction between the two and spinning, and it makes the Adam is the very same thing.
That thing grows into how we get all the species and whether or not you, and I want to connect with people. And we came up with the idea of what would happen if somebody was in a basement. hacking, trying to code those, and I know there’s the personality, so they just don’t want to be bothered by anybody.
At some point, though, that computer’s got to be hooked up to something which has people, the product of what they’re doing. If they still, all my big point is still got to be, they got to, they got to interact with people to make something happen. So the need for connection, that’s just something for another show.
But, there, it’s good to know that I feel pretty safe, that we can figure out a way to get food enough calories to live on to every person on the planet. and then some, and so that’s not a reason to worry about the population.
David Rockwood: [00:46:10] a joke that I like
Warren Whitlock: [00:46:12] Gifford story.
David Rockwood: [00:46:14] I joke that I like to tell with people that have a little bit of gray in their hair, Soylent green is people.
Yeah, we don’t need to go there
Warren Whitlock: [00:46:27] thinking about, forget the, the gross, easy analogy. And I don’t want to spoil it for anybody that hasn’t seen it now. Nobody else is going to ever watch that movie. but, the, it doesn’t need, it applies in the philosophy of yes, soil.
You can’t food doesn’t work without people, even if you mechanize everything, you automate everything. The supply chain is all done by robots. The robots don’t want anything. we’re a long way off from a Cynthia and being, that’s going to wipe us all out, by the way, if they do not much we can do about it, they will be smarter, faster, stronger than us.
They already are. let’s leave that off the table and just say, the robots want our robot overlords want to be our friends. they’re there to help us, would do your job better. And so agriculture seems to be like the essential thing we’ve got to do. and not quite as sexy as you’ve got latest FinTech software, but the difference is it affects every living person.
Whereas, whether or not I do faster, better banking, can help, but it’s not, it’s not putting food directly on my table. that’s awesome.
David Rockwood: [00:47:36] One of our partners that we work with or, they’re they use, our subscriber base. And they offer them a market opportunity. So a E-bay of their crops.
Okay. And what’s happening is restaurants are now making that connection because when you pay a lot of money at a fine restaurant for a meal, do you want 80% of it is the quality of the raw material. Exactly the chefs. The recipe is awesome, but crap in crap out, right? You and I are old.
Warren Whitlock: [00:48:17] The whole thing is part of being a great chef is knowing which ingredients
David Rockwood: [00:48:21] exactly.
You don’t take it
Warren Whitlock: [00:48:24] just because somebody said you can get it.
David Rockwood: [00:48:26] We’re getting restaurant tours, work with us that then so that they have more connectivity to the better supply chain of better.
Warren Whitlock: [00:48:37] Okay, so let’s speak to one more current event. That’s not too political. Everything is today. Oh, you see these stories of the, crops being wasted, potatoes couldn’t be harvested, whatever the information that’s out there.
Then there are supply chain answers to that thing. Where if we in the future, we’re going to be able to take that excess food and send
David Rockwood: [00:48:59] it someplace. So the problem was the shock. Of that supply chain, right? Okay. Europe, potato grower. And normally every week X amount of trucks take out my potato stock.
those trucks didn’t come. Because nobody was working and the processing plant. Okay. For about eight weeks. but my plants are still growing. The plants didn’t do a COVID stay at home. But the plants are still growing. So what
Warren Whitlock: [00:49:33] happened ever seen a plant with a mask.
David Rockwood: [00:49:35] so you had yeah.
Warren Whitlock: [00:49:37] Post that in the comments,
David Rockwood: [00:49:39] this bubble of supply. And what’s also, we’re seeing happening is, one of America’s great things is real time, just in time. Okay. That tomatoes can be just in time to be able to send. down to your store. now we have to re-look at some of our supply chain and maybe half of my crop needs to go to a guy who makes tomato soup and not the grind.
the vine ripe tomato in your store. So farmers,
Warren Whitlock: [00:50:11] the other side, if I want, if I’m trying to buy the SU. I need to know that, there’s some backup to that. So those tomatoes, the potatoes, the whatever we’re talking about, that if they’re not going one place, they can go another place.
There’s got to be plants. Like we watch how quickly, GM plant was switched to making ventilators. that, it’s not optimal, but in a time when things are getting shut down and crops are being thrown away, I would imagine there’s people not have to go too far from where that potato farm is.
That would, I like to get 10 pounds of potato because they were starving. and of course you got to be careful, you can’t just give everybody free potatoes because that screws up the retail part of thing. But with more data, we can solve
David Rockwood: [00:50:55] a problem. so I was just addressing that particular problem we had in April may.
Okay. Was only because processing plants weren’t operating and the plant has to go somewhere and he can’t let it spoil. In the potato warehouse, the potato cellar. So you had to get rid of them.
Warren Whitlock: [00:51:16] Yeah. Yeah. But anything there’s the trucks aren’t coming. Great. Find other trucks, the processing plant is closed, finding out the processing plant.
Right? Whatever it takes or maybe somebody could take potatoes right off the farm and do something with the
David Rockwood: [00:51:31] scare of all that kind
Warren Whitlock: [00:51:32] of stuff. But it’s stuck when we have a supply chain that everything I grow goes to one place. and that’s
David Rockwood: [00:51:41] part of the problem. Part of the problem we’re seeing is this was a prime example that we can’t, we need to have more regional food processing and not so much.
Warren Whitlock: [00:51:57] Absolutely. All right then, this has been a fascinating time. Give us some information where somebody can find you. I’m sure you want to talk to people that are interested in investing in ag tech or have a connection that they want to tell you about
David Rockwood: [00:52:11] where do they go? I just go to hash AgriTech global America.
Warren Whitlock: [00:52:20] global America. Okay, great. And we’ll try to get that into the show notes and a fantastic, always good to talk to
David Rockwood: [00:52:28] you.
Warren Whitlock: [00:52:28] And, We’ll see you. We’ll see you next
David Rockwood: [00:52:31] time. Thank you very much, Warren, as always.
About David Rockwood ???????
Expanding our business in the Energy & Smart Farm & smart networks sector- Oil & Gas, Solar, Wind, Water & Biomass.
Skilled at bringing products and services from “concept stage to retail shelf”… A very wide range of experience in action sports, ICT industry, nutraceutical industry, energy development, direct foreign investment, and building great teams overseas.
A recognized leader in International Trade relations and working with both US and foreign governments on trade issues. A paid advisor to the Thai government to assist in trade negotiations and expanding into the American market. Promoting foreign investment in the United States and Thailand.