In Edible-Alpha® Podcast Episode #16, Tera talks with Leilani Zimmer-Durand. Leilani is Vice President of Education Initiatives at Midwestern BioAg, a company that provides farmers with consulting and products (mostly inputs) that help their farm’s yields, resiliency and profitability by using biological farming methods. Biological farming is treating your farm like an ecosystem and preserving the long-term health of the soil. She co-wrote Advancing Biological Farming and the recently revised second edition of The Biological Farmer with her father Gary Zimmer, the founder of Midwestern BioAg.
Midwestern BioAg is centered in the Midwest but has customers internationally as well. They recently opened a digester facility in Indiana that will allow them to digest manure, add the right balance of nutrients/trace minerals, and dry it for easy storage and transport, including for use as a stand-alone wholesale product. While the company started focused on small dairy producers (50-400 cows in a herd), their customers now include large farms and vegetable producers. For example, their consulting and products helped a large potato supplier for Frito Lay increase yields and storage time while using less chemicals and more biological methods.
While Midwestern BioAg doesn’t consider themselves a technology company, this new digester is a new technology. Tera and Leilani discuss a wide range of potential business opportunities that are on the horizon, all driven by changing consumer preferences and new applications of scientific advancements in things like remote sensing, robotics and plant biology. For example, Leilani’s brother uses a RTX system to map the plants in the fields on his 1400-acre organic dairy farm so that he can use his tractor for mechanical weeding while having little crop loss. She also talks about how people can apply the concepts of biological farming to their own yards and gardens.
Learn more about biological farming at Midwestern BioAg’s website: