by Chuck Stanley for Agri Investor

Private equity-backed precision agri company, Farmers Edge has brought on former Syngenta executive Scott McKinnon to oversee the company’s efforts to expand in Australia.


McKinnon is the latest in a string of big-ag veterans to spearhead an aggressive growth strategy in the Americas, Australia and Russia by the company, which is backed by Mitsui, KPCB Green Growth Fund, Avrio Capital and Osmington.


In March, the company hired former Monsanto executive Lucas Trindade to head efforts to grow its presence in Brazil, including the opening of a regional headquarters in Campinas, a city in São Paulo State. In June, the company announced former DuPont executive, Jim Borel, had joined its board of directors which includes Steve Mills, formerly former executive vice-president at Archer Daniels Midland Company, and Dayna Spiring, former chief strategy officer for the Canadian Wheat Board, now known as G3 Canada.


“As the precision agriculture space matures, the battle for top talent to differentiate product offerings and drive customer adoption is fierce,” Farmers Edge investor Avrio Capital’s managing director Aki Georgacacos told Agri Investor.


Farmers Edge chief executive Wade Barnes has previously told Agri Investor the company’s focus on providing farm management services based on farm-level data from a variety of sources gives the company an advantage with producers operating in data-poor areas of North America, Brazil, Russia and Australia.


“For Farmers Edge, Australia represents a significant growth market for data-driven, precision agriculture to flourish,” said Barnes in a statement.


Farmers Edge closed on C$58 million in January from Mitsui, KPCB Green Growth Fund and Osmington. In May, Osmington upped its contribution by $3.2 million.

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