health and inputs (each of which naturally breaks down into its own set of segments.) It’s understandable why startups from any of the segments would want to label themselves as biological solutions when the tailwinds above are getting more obvious daily to investors, and even potential customers, as regulatory pressures mount to start replacing chemicals with… biologicals (loose definition.) Two things can be true at the same time. Western Growers and our membership will continue to advocate for science- based usage of chemical inputs while working hard to help support and scale innovators as the new solutions iterate and improve enough to continue successfully fundraising and getting products in a ready position for scale and international market entry. Attempts to go entirely without chemicals would likely lead to results like Sri Lanka (organic mandate results in lower yields, mass starvation due to lack of import capability, and becomes a significant factor in a government overthrow less than 18 months after

the executive order was signed) or the Netherlands (government decision to use tax dollars to shut down 3,000 livestock operators under the guise of EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions resulted in a just-formed political party taking the most seats in the recently contested election, sending a clear signal that it wasn’t just farmers that were unhappy with the strong-armed approach that could and should have been driven by innovation instead of regulation). So with all the tailwinds, everyone in the agtech ecosystem (that includes growers, investors and industry groups like Western Growers) has three jobs for biologicals. First, if a startup says they are in biologicals, ask which part of biological solutions—genetics, soil health or inputs? Second, once the sub-segment is identified, ask what specific problem, or budget line item, the startup’s solution helps improve from a grower economics perspective (always helps when they can tie it to a specific line item on the financial statements). If these sound a lot like two

of the first steps used in Lean Startup analysis, they should, and that’s the third job. Make sure that all biologicals startups are pushing their thinking through Lean Startup (aka Lean Canvas if doing Google search to identify the easy-to- use tool implementation of Lean Startup methodology) which will force them to think hard about the use case, problem statement and economic model they should pursue. If we can do that for all biological startups, we will help them avoid bad R&D paths and ideally improve their chances of fundraising and/or successful fundraising depending on where in their life cycle the startup is at when you meet them. Pay it forward, folks. Startups are hard, we can help avoid some unforced R&D errors and wasted capital with these three simple steps. Helping everyone understand which biological solutions are dessert toppings and which are floor waxes is good for everyone in the long-term.


When targeting soil borne disease and nematodes, TriClor and TELONE TM can be applied in a single pass. This reduces application costs, promotes early root development, and improves soil health. For more information about TriClor and TELONE TM or to schedule an application contact TriCal, Inc.

669-327-5076 www.TriCal.com

*TriClor and TEONE TM are federally Restricted Use Pesticides.

MAY | JUNE 2023


Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com

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