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Farmers Edge hires ex-Monsanto exec to oversee Brazil expansion

The company hopes to expand use of its precision agri platform from 140,000 to 1m acres in 2016.

Canadian precision agriculture company Farmers Edge has hired former Monsanto executive Lucas Trindade as general manager of its Brazilian operations, which began two years ago.

Farmers Edge, which was formed in 2005, sells analytics products that let growers collect and evaluate data on farming activities from soil health to equipment output and fuel use. The company is also preparing to open a regional headquarters in Campinas, near São Paulo.

Farmers Edge has a presence over nearly 140,000 acres in Brazil and  is expanding into the country’s western Mato Grasso state.

In addition to Brazil, chief executive Wade Barnes said Farmers Edge is actively expanding in Russia and Australia. “Russia and Brazil and Australia are all really moving for us right now,” said Barnes. “We’re anticipating close to a million acres in each of those markets.”

Barnes said the Farmers Edge platform could also help improve access to financing for farmers in both Brazil and Russia, where financing has become increasingly scarce in recent years.

“As we go and put in platforms, we’re able to monitor the crops and understand potential yields. That has significant value for people that are taking significant risks by financing [agriculture operations], and they want to know what’s happening in those fields, particularly in areas where information is really hard to come by.”

The company raised C$58 million ($43.7 million; €43.7 million) in January of this year for an international expansion effort in the US, Russia, Brazil and Australia. Investors in the company include Japanese trading company Mitsui, sustainable investing fund Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers (KPCB) Green Growth Fund, and real estate company Osmington.