CHS is a global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, agronomy, grains and foods, we’re committed to creating connections to empower agriculture, helping our owners and customers grow their businesses.
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CHS is committed to making a meaningful impact in agriculture and rural America. Through our stewardship initiatives, we invest in programs that develop new generations of ag leaders, promote ag safety and strengthen hometown communities.
Cooperatives are owned and governed by members who use its products, supplies, or services and operate in many sectors of the economy. In a cooperative system, people come together to scale buying power, gain access to goods and services and create economic opportunity.
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CHS helps select Innovation Challenge winner at World Agri-Tech Summit
Left to right: Dan McCann, CEO of Precision AI; Ben Van Straten, director of sustainability and innovation at CHS; Heather Thompson, director of innovation at Growmark, at the 2023 World Agri-Tech Innovation Challenge in San Francisco.
Cooperative Ventures, the venture capital fund of CHS and Growmark, recently participated in the 2023 World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in San Francisco as a sponsor of the event’s Innovation Challenge. World Agri-Tech brings together founders, corporates, investors and experts from the agri-food community to think about the challenges in agriculture and food in innovative ways.
Three finalists pitched in front of a global audience that included members of CHS.
The winner was Precision AI, a Canadian-based startup leveraging advanced drones and custom-built artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The startup offers plant-level herbicide applications at broadacre scale, ultimately taking crop production decisions from a whole field to an individual plant.
Precision AI’s autonomous drones enable field spraying to be targeted from the air at only the weeds, which results in massive chemical savings while removing reliance on remote internet connectivity.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have won the Innovation Challenge,” says Dan McCann, CEO of Precision AI. “I am very excited to work with CHS and Growmark. I think the strategic fit is fantastic and we can do some wonderful things together.”
The goal of the challenge – which received over 100 entries from around the world – was to identify not only startups focused on accelerating innovation for cooperative members and farmers, but also those bridging the gap from collecting data to generating insights and recommendations.
“Stable, drift-free drone technology that provides aerial diagnostic and precision spray capabilities at 50-plus mph will help our owners and customers maintain or increase yields with fewer inputs. This technology at scale is a major win for growers,” says Ben Van Straten, director of sustainability and innovation at CHS.
As a result of their selection, Precision AI will now have access to leaders of both CHS and Growmark. The relationship will include opportunities for mentoring and guidance, as well as consideration for trial, collaboration or investment.