The current advances in agricultural technology are as disruptive as the leap from horse driven plows to diesel. The challenge for investors will be to unearth the technologies with the most potential.
In manufacturing, the concept of Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. Courtesy of recent agri-tech advances, that strict practice of process enhancement can now be applied to agriculture and more particularly, farming.
Investors would do well not to dismiss these advances. With populations increasing and arable land decreasing the need for sustainable food production and practices are critical and by extension have become an area of compelling investment potential.
“Given societal challenges, farming is no longer simply the process of plant and harvest,” states Graeme Lempriere, President and CEO of Clean Seed Capital Group ($CSX:CA). Our CX6 Smart Seeder™ technology which encompasses our no-till seeding, in-ground openers, proprietary seed and fertilizer metering, and electronic control systems ensure agricultural processes are the most efficient, productive and sustainable that they can be.”
Clean Seed’s patented and patent pending technologies are deployed against a process known as ‘field-mapping’. Defined, field mapping is a graphical representation created from observations made in the field of natural and man-made topographical features, including their slope, location, elevation and nutrient requirements. By loading this data into the Clean Seed’s proprietary system, seeding and fertilization can be metered and deployed with an efficiency and accuracy that results in maximum yield and quality of the intended crop.
Farmers also have the option of programming the technology manually.
The field map data ensures that exactly the right amount and type of nutrient is delivered in a manner that causes the least amount of waist and disruption to the soil. Previous traditional seeding and fertilization methods resulted in progressive soil erosion, depletion and nutrient stripping. In today’s environment, damaging arable land is no longer an option nor is the unnecessary over application of inputs.
Clean Seed has developed proprietary technology that addresses the most important aspects of modern farming: an unrivaled precision in no-till seeding and the delivery of nutrients. Each individual metering pod over the opener on Clean Seed’s CX-6 Smart Seeder, for example, is attuned to a particular fields topography and soil makeup. Each pod is in flawless integration with the field map and can hold up to 6 products, be it seed or nutrients. While used in concert, each of the pods can be adjusted on the fly as can refilling, ensuring minimum downtime. The precision of the operation also ensures the most efficient use of fuel as the planting vagaries are eliminated.
The ultimate recipe, which is developed by an agronomist, a farmer or other agri-professional for a variety of soil conditions, fertilizer requirements and the particulars of any crop, is then loaded into Clean Seed’s proprietary system for delivery. The process eliminates waste; seeding is pinpoint perfect in every square foot of the field.
Think of each pod on the seeder as analogous to a printer cartridge. Should one component (ink colour) need repair of replacement, any of the six components in each pod, much like the various ink tanks in a printer can be removed, repaired or replaced.
The Corporate plan is to be known not primarily as a builder of farm equipment, but as an aggregator and developer of proprietary, patented Intellectual Property (IP) as the Company sees this focus as the best way to quickly add consistent and ongoing shareholder value.
Clean Seed’s first Smart Seeder is in beta in Saskatchewan. The Company is also evaluating the potential for a JV partner and is already enjoying serious ‘buzz’ in agricultural circles. At the 2014 Farm Progress Show, along with winning the People’s Choice Award (two years in a row), the Company enjoyed significant interest from the 45,000 attendees looking for technologies that could modernize and streamline their farming operations. At the 2014 show, Clean Seed also won prestigious Sterling Innovation award.
It has become clear that true conservation of farmlands and definitive control of inputs using sustainable agriculture methods is no longer an option, but a responsibility. Clean Seed is confident that its efforts will deliver measurable financial and ecological benefits that address this pressing need.
CEO Lempriere further states: “The fundamental long-term outlook for agriculture and the related need for progressive technologies present significant opportunities for Clean Seed and our shareholders. We will continue our ongoing development efforts by working collaboratively with like minded corporations that share our vision, allowing us to build our organization and expand the pipeline growth opportunities.”
Clean Seed management has an impressive provenance and includes;
President and CEO Graeme Lempriere has an extensive background in company restructuring, marketing, primary financings and market development for both public and private mid-tier companies. He is the founder and CEO of Marvelle Capital Group and founded Clean Seed (formerly Vesco) Agricultural Technologies Inc. and secured the worldwide exclusive rights to a unique patented No-Till seeding technology that began with his family in 2001.
VP, Agronomic Practices and Protocols Colin Rosegren is a Canadian third generation large-scale commercial farmer specializing in zero-tillage and intercropping. Using zero-tillage, crop nutrition plans and an integrated pest management approach, Colin farms in the most environmentally friendly and sustainable way possible, fixing carbon, improving soil productivity, and increasing biodiversity and biological activity in the soils.
Independent Director Colin Rush MBA includes senior sales and operations positions with John Deere and Case IH. He is currently the Canadian Region Head of JCB. In 2010 as Senior Director of Specialty Business for Case IH, Colin significantly expanded North American sales and market share for the Company’s planting, seeding, tillage, and application products. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanized Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan, as well as an MBA from the University of Guelph in Agricultural Economics. Colin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of agricultural equipment distribution and sales throughout North America.
The team bring decades of agricultural and agri-technology experience to Clean Seed. There should be little concern among shareholders and potential investors that Clean Seed, while still early stage is well positioned for significant growth.
The Bottom Line
Clean Seed is an IP Company. Its plan is to develop and deploy the latest and most advanced agricultural technologies. Investors have long known, or should, that protected IP represents asset protection and a path to increasing revenues whether the Company produces the technology in-house, licenses or even sells.
Doubling since January and now trading at $0.40 with a modest market cap of $12.28 million, Clean Seed is one to watch for investors tired of routine commodity investments that have had substandard performance.
To butcher Twain, buy ‘land’, because they’re not making it anymore. In reality, the amount remaining, particularly farmland is dwindling and needs to be treated with the best technologies to enhance yields, and, more importantly to ensure sustainability.
Clean Seed understands the potential and is keenly focused on delivering shareholder value.
Bob Beaty for The Bottom Line Report