We’ve finally caught up after attending Indoor Ag-Con earlier this month and wanted to share some of our major takeaways. It was so nice seeing so many familiar faces from our industry and having the opportunity to connect in-person (safely). Our industry thrives on partnership and collaboration (see learning 9) and we’re looking forward to all of the innovation that will come from the attendees over the next few months and years.
- Conferences are back! We were so excited to spend time with our colleagues from around the world. Our panel was standing room only and so many growers took time to attend the show. We can’t wait to safely meet with folks at more conferences in the future.
- Large greenhouses are moving toward more sophisticated data strategies and pushing to have high level plans for how they collect, analyze, and implement learnings from data throughout their operations. Having a clear plan of action around data is a clear differentiator for the best operators. We’d love to help you create your plan of action if this is a priority for you.
- Food safety is on everyone’s mind. We know how difficult it is to wrangle all of the requirements for food safety and biocontrol on the farm. It’s clear that while everyone knows how important it is, it’s getting more and more difficult to stay on top of changing requirements and systems while still running day-to-day business operations.
- We see a strong desire from indoor operations to move toward fully integrated technology solutions. It’s difficult enough to try to learn a new system, staying up-to-date on all of the new innovation is harder than ever. The pace of development is at an all-time high. This is why we have focused on building out API-friendly connection points and encourage all technology companies to do the same. Let’s make it even easier to bring our solutions together and build solutions, not headaches for growers.
- It’s also clear that the pace of development of new technology means it’s less obvious what is fact or marketing in our industry right now. We had so many great conversations with growers who were excited about the potential possibilities from LUNA and Artemis and were even more excited to hear that our products are in the market (and have been for years) with proven results. Technology companies should be prepared to show case studies for their offerings and examples of how their products solve the problems growers are having in order to win in the market.
- We also heard from growers that adopting new technology is scary and sometimes overwhelming. Technology companies should meet growers where they’re at today and help build a plan for the future. We offer a full suite of offerings, from consulting to management software, all the way to automation. We believe in pairing the right technology up with the problems you’re trying to solve. To that end, we enjoyed hearing Adam, our CEO, talk about AI on his panel. We loved his quote: “Start with the problem, not the solution. Not every solution needs AI.”
- As our industry matures, so does the technology. A few years ago, we saw a lot of companies building graphing tools, and we saw the start of a conversation around APIs (we remember a panel Allison, our Chief Marketing Officer, spoke on when she was the CEO of Artemis along with the CEO of Priva where they first started talking about the opportunities APIs create almost 5 years ago!). Now, those elements are table stakes for companies. Companies that don’t include connectivity will be left behind.
- We also saw a lot of breeding innovation on the floor. Companies like Vindara, 80 Acres, and Unfold were present and shared that genetics R&D is the best place to invest. We’re so curious to see where this space goes in the next few years.
- We always love seeing how many universities come to Indoor Ag-Con and this year was no different. We believe that partnerships between universities and industry are critical for driving research forward.
- Last but certainly not least, it was incredible seeing the evolution of this industry on the floor of the show. Years ago, when we first started attending Indoor Ag-Con, the show was mostly focused on vertical farming and leafy greens. Now, we’re seeing major greenhouse growers and a crop breadth covering not just leafy greens, but strawberries, vine crops, and so much more. We’re entering the next phase of maturity of this industry, and it’s great to see how things have already evolved over the years.
Stay tuned for the 10 things we learned at MJBiz Con coming later this week. We can’t wait to see you at the next tradeshow!