Farmers Edge adds former DuPont exec to board

The private equity-backed agtech company has brought on Jim Borel to advise on international expansion and potential partnerships.

DuPont Crop Protection veteran Jim Borel has joined the board of directors at private equity-backed precision agri company Farmers Edge.

Borel’s experience with a global agribusiness company will inform Farmers Edge’s international expansion efforts in North America, Australia, Brazil and Russia, the company’s chief executive Wade Barnes said.

“Jim’s got a tremendous understanding of the industry in different areas and insight into cultural differences in agriculture in some of these markets,” said Barnes.

As giants like Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont continue to gobble up agtech start-ups, Borel will add to future discussions over whether Farmers Edge should consider merging with one of the big guys or continue to go it alone, said Barnes.

“The company is moving quickly to develop a lot of strategic partnerships and bringing Jim in is going to help facilitate that, with his knowledge of how to deal with large multi-national companies,” he said. “I don’t think Jim’s been a real proponent of going out and partnering with these groups, but I think he can give you the pros and the cons.”

On the board Borel joins other big ag veterans Steve Mills, formerly former executive vice-president at Archer Daniels Midland Company, and Dayna Spiring, former chief strategy officer for the Canadian Wheat Board, now known as G3 Canada.

Farmers Edge raised C$58 million ($44.5 million; €40.1 million) in January for international expansion efforts. The companies backers include Mitsui & Co, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers’ Green Growth Fund and Osmington. In May, Osmington upped its investment in the company by C$3.2 million.