Adrian Ferrero on how giving farmers insights into the soil microbial community is key to regenerative agriculture

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Adrian Ferrero is the co-founder of Biome Makers, a global AgTech company providing advanced technology for modeling soil functionality. They are on a mission to enhance the productivity of arable soils and recover soil health worldwide. Through their proprietary soil tech platform, BeCrop, they measure the biological quality of the soil and deliver agronomic insights to optimize farm operations and output.

Adrian talks about his company’s mission to enhance the productivity of arable soils and recover soil health worldwide, as well as the role of microbial communities in our transition to regenerative agriculture. 

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What are microbial communities and why are they so important for all us and especially if you are a farmer? For farmers, knowing what’s happening in their soils is crucial. But until recently, it wasn’t very easy to look beyond the traditional nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium tests as they don’t tell the full story. 

But then, we can test all we want, but how does it change our management? How does it change what we’re doing next? How do we get a different outcome in a couple of months or at the end of the growing season? 

Microbes and the Winemaking Industry

Adrian and his team were in Somalia and met with some winemakers where they had the opportunity to look into the correlation between microbes and fermentation. They conducted different soil samples, grape samples, liquid samples, and saw the corresponding profile of the whole spectrum of microbes. They were able to conclude the importance of a single microbe, its ecological relationships, and its crucial role in everything related to plant growth. Even some specific wine flavors are directly related to the wine’s origin rather than the grape variety. 

“There’s basically little knowledge about that. Even the origin of the microbe, say with fermenting the wine, which is the vineyard, they didn’t have any source of data. That was the trigger that put us a focus on agriculture, because starting in vineyards was really smart.” – Adrian Ferrero

The Role of Biome Makers

As a company specialized in enhancing soil productivity, Biome Makers’ first step towards helping a customer out is analyzing the soil the owner is having problems with by asking for a sample. Once the sample is analyzed, Biome Makers profiles the whole spectrum, all the different species, and provides data that is enough to come up with a resolution. Through its extensive analysis, Biome Makers determines farming practices that don’t do the soil any good. Further, the best solutions can be employed. 

“We wanted to become an independent company, a neutral company providing data with reliable insights on what are the effective partners of each solution that is available into the market.” – Adrian Ferrero

The Exciting Future of Farming

Adrian believes in the huge potential of biostimulants and crop protection. As agriculture has evolved and become more complex, the focus should no longer be around feeding the soil anymore. He is looking for a multi-dimensional approach that covers many facets of plant growth (i.e. stress, stimulations, resistance). Both conventional and regenerative farmers will benefit from looking into approaches that will increase the performance of the crops and yield a better return on investment. Regenerative farmers are particularly active in researching and testing, cover crops is a hot topic among farmers. 

“They’re [farmers] data geeks, they get really serious, they test all kinds of ideas. Some of them work really well, but others, not as much.” – Adrian Ferrero

Global Initiative To Support Agriculture

Just before the pandemic, Adrian and his company launched a global initiative called fields4Ever to support farmers and researchers to further their approach in agriculture. Data and tools were made available through the use of technology to recover soil or turn it into an agricultural property to increase yields and even provide more food globally. The initiative has helped translate soil health as well. All in all, the fields4Ever initiative resulted in support provided to over 280 cities all over the world. 

“You can turn desert soil into arable soil, and that’s interesting because you increase the value of the land. At the same time, you make it productive in terms of agriculture. That’s also possible. We just need to plan it and use the resources and the tools in a good way.” – Adrian Ferrero

Other Points Discussed 

Koen and Adrian also talked about: 

  • Taking a science-driven approach to coming up with solutions;
  • Looking into microbial biomass;
  • The future of soil testing market;
  • Having an open data movement towards regenerative agriculture;
  • How everyone should have collaborative mindsets.

To know more about Adrian Ferrero and Biome Makers, download and listen to this episode. 

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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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