Frank Wooten on how virtual fencing unlocks the potential of carbon positive grazing at scale

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How did an investment banker move into the interest of livestock grazing? How did he and his team end up updating a 10,000 year old technology, the humble fence?

These are the questions that we will be answering in today’s episode of Investing in Regenerative Agriculture with our special guest Frank Wooten. Frank is the CEO and founder of Vence, a reinvented livestock production that centers in virtual fencing and autonomous animal control. Vence’s mission is to lower the price and to increase the availability of sustainable animal protein around the world. 

LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION ON:

Key points:

  • updating a 10000 years technology
  • what role of tech should play in regen ag
  • with the right tools regen ag is much cheaper than conventional ag

A Magnitude of Opportunity

Frank’s personal and professional background has led him into pursuing farmer’s profit, soil building, and even carbon. He discusses how the size of the opportunity has led him into investing in soil. Over time, Frank discovered that the soil was actually the mechanism for increased productivity in the farm, alongside the toolkits of fencing and the animals. Fencing is the mechanism that can help control the animals and therefore aid in properly translating productivity in the farm.

“It all started with the thought there’s a billion head of cattle out there on the planet. There’s three plus billion, total livestock. It’s this massive opportunity space and fencing is the control mechanism for all of those animals. So the magnitude of the opportunity is what really sucked me in, and that’s what I saw in fencing” – Frank Wooten

Autonomous Animal Control

Vence can help with the pressing issues we face today. It is an end to end system that draws up a fence line that gets sent down to move animals from one place to another through the utilization of sound. This system could move the animals removing the need for physical intervention. This would not only help save an enormous amount on fencing but also update the humble fence, a 10,000 year old technology.

“You will save a lot of fencing, but that’s not only why we’re so excited about Vence. We’re excited because of other reasons. It is so amazing for the farmers apart from fencing, which will save them an enormous cost, enormous headaches, et cetera. If you start to go to virtual fencing, you suddenly unlock a huge amount of opportunities that have never been thought of.” – Frank Wooten

Self-Sustaining Entity

Virtual fencing can help in terms of adapting to different climates and seasons. Permanent and existing fences solve the solution to grass having an optimal growth period in which animals should be grooming it. Through Vence, farmers can have the ability to change this without the need for infrastructure or label, a tool that was previously unfathomable. This, in turn, will not only help save time but also cost that will help farmers become a self-sustaining entity.

“If you are dealing with a static solution to that, which is permanent, existing fences. You are unable to optimally manage your property for productivity. So from our customer’s perspective, it’s really a productivity and yield question as it relates to fencing. What we enable customers to do is really dynamically fix that without the need for infrastructure or labor. So it becomes a tool that’s in their toolbox that previously was just completely unfathomable.” – Frank Wooten

Technology in Regenerative Agriculture

Frank shares the role of Vence in regenerative agriculture and how it can help farmers fundamentally farm differently. Vence will enable them to place a device on each animal and through the help of sensors detect various insights. It can detect fertility changes, DNA testing, behavioral patterns, etc., things that farmers would usually know by the end of the year. They believe Vence can have the ability to be an objective ground-truthing of the practices in which animals are managed.

“This can have off-farm potential as well. This gets into where we think things may go. You’re in a world now, and this is happening already in Australia, a bit where people are looking at rotational grazing and the way that animals are managed and saying, this is actually better for the landscape. This is better for the planet. We think that there’s also this ability for us to be a objective ground-truthing of the practices in which those animals were managed” – Frank Wooten

Other Important Points Discussed

Koen and Frank discussed these points in this episode

  • What Frank would do if he were in charge of a $1 Billion investment fund tomorrow morning
  • What Frank would do if he could change one thing in the tech space overnight
  • What Frank believes to be true about regenerative agriculture that others do not
  • Why Frank thinks regenerative agriculture is cheaper than commercial agriculture

To know more about Frank Wooten and how Vence can help the potential in your farm, download and listen to this episode.

Bio:

Frank Wooten is the CEO of Vence, a virtual fencing company that hopes to reinvent livestock management. Vence was founded to improve the affordability and availability of sustainable animal protein. By 2050, the world will need to feed more than 10 billion people and require a 70% increase in global food production. Animal protein accounts for 20% of the global diet, so the world needs a lot more livestock. However, these is no space to grow, farmers are being forced to produce more food, for less, using less resources per animal

Frank believes that innovation occurs at the intersection of need and knowledge. The business was started to solve a need and we have assembled the knowledge. We are utilizing connected sensors, artificial intelligence and leading animal behavioral research to transform one of society’s oldest and most valuable industries. Vence seeks to enhance the lives of their customers as well as the animals they are rearing to help feed all of us.

Links: 

Website: Vence

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Feedback, comments, suggestions? Reach me via Twitter @KoenvanSeijen, in the comments below or through Get in Touch on this website.

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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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9 comments on “Frank Wooten on how virtual fencing unlocks the potential of carbon positive grazing at scale

  1. Loved this episode (I love them all) but this was the most relevant as I was listening as I was putting up my electric fence for today’s move. Can’t find Vence on Google –
    Can you put a link to Frank’s website? Thank you so much!!!

    1. Koen says:

      Hi Helen,
      Thank you so much for your comment! We’re happy to imagine you are listening to the podcast while working on the land!
      Yes, Vence’s website is http://vence.io.

  2. Rick James says:

    Wow really interesting to listen to thank you! We have many rural fencing clients who would benefit greatly from such technology and I don’t doubt it will be widely implemented in the future.

    1. Koenvanseijen says:

      Thank you Rick!

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