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Real-time data for farmers & food supply chain to improve decisions, reduce volatility & waste, increase profitability & improve farm life.

Reduce food waste 50% by 2050. AgTools gives farmers info needed to improve farming and dramatically reduce waste.

Photo of Martha Montoya
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

AgTools, Inc. 5270 California Ave. Irvine, CA, USA 92617 Martha Montoya – CEO 714-366-3225 martha@ag.tools

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

www.ag.tools

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Irvine, California

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Guanajuato, Mexico is an important agriculture producing state in central Mexico. Over 30% of the state is suitable for agricultural use.

What country is your selected Place located in?

Mexico – Officially: Estados Unidos Mexicanos (Spanish) – United States of Mexico (English)

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

M. Montoya is the CEO of AgTools Inc. She has been involved in agriculture worldwide for 25 years. She has sourced berries, cantaloupes, citrus and more from Mexico and the Americas to New Zealand, Australia and Thailand. She has sourced lettuce in Mexico for the Netherlands; asparagus from Peru to France; Mangos from Peru to the US. She has known the region of Guanajuato for over 2 decades as an outstanding ag source for many countries.

M. Montoya’s many years in agriculture led her to realize that farmers often had no idea of the variables that were affecting their operations. 3 years ago, with her brothers, Gustavo and Oscar, she began developing a database information system called AgTools designed to provide farmers & buyers with in-depth information about their markets so that they could make more informed decisions about their operations.

The tool covers 67 variables that affect the marketplace, including: Price fluctuations & Production volumes over years; local weather patterns that affect production; weather patterns in other countries that affect production levels; variations is transportation costs over years.

The tool covers over 500 specialty crops, including: fruits, vegetables & more. AgTools can give the average farmer, with basic computer skills, access to in-depth information about variables that affect the success of their crops. This enables farmers to make better farming decisions about when to plant, when to harvest, when to ship to markets, etc. 

M. Montoya has had excellent success with AgTools. Farmers far and wide are signing up to use AgTools. Large corporate buyers see the value and are signing up to use it. 

M. Montoya’s years of experience in agriculture led her to anticipate the explosive growth of products from Guanajuato to the US market. Large buyers in the US, such as US Foods and Fortune Food Importers, recently asked M. Montoya to undertake training of farmers in Guanajuato so they could become more reliable suppliers.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

This description will focus on one municipality in the State of Guanajuato – El Valle de Santiago Guanajuato, where a lot of the agriculture that is the focus of this application takes place.

El Valle de Santiago Guanajuato has a population of 141,058 inhabitants, of which 50% are considered urban and 50% rural. The rainy season is cloudy, the dry season is partly cloudy. It is hot throughout the summer. During the course of the year, the temperature generally varies from 6 ° C to 31 ° C.

There is a high level of male emigration from the area (e.g., seeking work in the US). This absence of male labor generates greater participation of women in local labor markets.

The diet of the habitants is based on food typical of the region. Sweet potato, chickpea, jicama, sugarcane, wheat and barley are grown in the area. In recent years, the cultivation of vegetables, such as broccoli, has increased dramatically.

Mole, barbacoa and carnitas are very popular, since the inhabitants prefer spicy foods and fatty flavor. Diabetes is the second cause of morbidity in the area. Currently there are just over 5,000 patients with this disease in this region.

In addition to Spanish, indigenous languages are spoken in the region. These include Otomí, Chichimeca, Nahuatl and Mazahua.  

The region has two annual celebrations. The first falls on July 25 - The Feast of the Apostle Santiago, patron of the municipality - free food is offered to the town. The second annual celebration begins on September 24 - a holiday in honor of the Virgin of Mercy - it lasts for eight days.

The theme of happiness and social advancement is central to the philosophy of the inhabitants of this municipality. To achieve this, there is a Municipal Development Plan involving four major themes. The first theme is the reference to human and social development. The second big theme is public administration and the rule of law. Economic development is the third big theme. The fourth major theme is the environment, climate change and biodiversity.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

30607

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

6000000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The major challenge the food system faces between 2020 and 2050, that this application addresses, is the monumental waste that occurs in the food chain. Food is wasted on an immense scale throughout the world’s food supply chain. The FAO estimates that about 33% of the world’s food supply is not actually consumed – it is wasted.

That amounts to about 1.3 billion tons of food. That is nearly $350 billion dollars in wasted food worldwide. Food waste in the US alone is estimated at about $75 billion annually.

Most of this waste can be attributed to inefficiencies in the food production and distribution systems, and archaic communications systems. By the time food gets to the consumer, it is often no longer fresh or consumable. This unused food ends up in waste streams, garbage dumps, and landfills. Massive improvements are needed in food production and distribution systems to greatly reduce food waste.

The environmental issues are huge. Over the next 30 years, food production will need to increase by at least 50% to feed the world’s growing population. This puts enormous strain on limited land and water resource. Land and water resources are already stretched nearly to the limit.

Climate, exchange rates, and geopolitical changes are adversely affecting all aspects of agriculture. The policy issues that governments at all levels will have to deal with are enormous. For cost efficiencies, agriculture will have to rely less on the widespread use of fertilizer. To decrease to contamination of the earth and the world’s water supplies, agriculture will have to rely less on the widespread use of pesticides.

It is expected that there will have to be a mega-trend away from beef, in particular, because of the tremendous cost of raising beef as compared to other foods. This impact western societies in particular, as they are oriented to a large percentage of beef for the protein they need in their diets. Reductions in beef production and consumption will require significant reorientation in western societies in particular.

Technology will be pressed to the limit. Farming will need to rely on less and less use of water and fertilizers. That will be a difficult technology transition process. More food will have to be produced on less land, and that raises significant challenges on how technology can be brought to bear in a manner that less land can yield greater crop productivity.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our Vision is to reduce Food Waste by 50% by the year 2050. In 2050 dollars, that amounts to something on the order of 100 billion tons of food not wasted. That amounts to something on the order of $300 billion of savings as a result of reducing food waste by 50% by the year 2050.

This is an ambitious goal. The AgTools data information system shows every sign of being able to bring about that scale of food savings by the year 2050. AgTools is already demonstrating that tremendous savings in food waste can be achieved by farmers using the AgTools information system to make better farming decisions.

Large corporate food buyers, such as U.S. Food, are buying into the AgTools system. Multinational corporations are already using AgTools in different regions, for different commodities, during different growing seasons to engage farmers and buyers across their ecosystems.

The use of Agtools worldwide has similar implications. Brazil, for example, was able to use AgTools to persuade farmers and shippers to send product ahead of a pending truck strike so as to avoid losing the crops due to lack of transportation.

Widespread use of the Agtools system can generate huge food savings. This is achieved when farmers make more informed decisions about what crops to plant, when to plant, what seeds to use, how much fertilizer and pesticides to use, how much water to use, when to harvest, when to ship to markets for optimum freshness, what transportation options to use, etc.

If farmers use the Agtools system to make better decisions about when to bring their crop to market, their crops will be better received by corporate buyers, less product will be rejected, and less waste will be created.

If farmers make better decisions about how much product to grow in certain time periods, or divert overproduction to processing/ingredient industries, there will be less excess product in the market place that has no buyers and no consumers. In other words, less food waste.

17 Key Industries - There are at least 17 industries in the agricultural arena that are part of the panorama of world food production. These include: farmers, seed producers, fertilizer and pesticide producers, brokers, shippers, packing houses, processing plants, cooling houses, trucking companies, shipping lines, railroads, air freight companies, corporate buyers, supermarkets, food chains, financial houses, banks, insurance companies, and so forth. If AgTools can significantly improve the decision-making process at the farming supply level across the world, there will be savings and economies throughout the worldwide food chain, and far less waste.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The primary impact will be a far healthier agriculture sector. Farming will be more stable. Markets will be less volatile. Pricing swings will be greatly reduced. Far less product will be rejected or marked down at receiving warehouses. Farmers will get more stable pricing for their produce. Farm wages will stabilize, improving the lot of farmworkers. The secondary businesses of the area will improve as each improvement trickles through the local economy. Less stress will improve the quality of life.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

A bold vision starts with a bold visionary. The visionary in this case is Martha Montoya, Founder and CEO of AgTools, Inc. Long before her extensive adult career in the field of agriculture. M. Montoya was born and raised in Colombia, South America. Her parents were educators. They owned and operated a high school for 1,500 students and a university for 7,000 students. These were in Bogota and catered to working and rural families.

Throughout her childhood, M. Montoya was literally surrounded and enveloped in education. She developed a very keen sense of how to impart information in an educational context. Martha also spent a good 30% of her childhood on a coffee farm in the Colombia’s coffee growing region.

M. Montoya went on to receive degrees in Chemistry and Biology in Colombia. She taught those subjects at the high school level in both Colombia and the United States. She has also earned a number of certificates from renowned educational institutions in the US. These include a Business Management Certificate from the University of Chicago. Also included have been post-graduate studies in business management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, the Stanford Entrepreneurial Center on Scalability, and agricultural studies at the UC Davis Food, AG + Health Entrepreneurship Academy.

In recent years, Martha has traveled to the Mexico, Central and South America to work with growers to source berries and citrus during the low production seasons in the U.S. She also focused on innovative tropical products to add to the product lines offered by her company to the large corporate buyers in the US.

In addition, M. Montoya has worked on several innovative agricultural projects, including:

Government finance programs for berry growers in Mexico to empower women-owned farms

Low-interest loan program by a large financial institution under Community Reinvestment Act for small strawberry growers in California

Over her life, M. Montoya has developed a deep appreciation for cultural differences around the world. She is able to work comfortably with all strata of society, with the kind of sensitivity that enables her to communicate and educate effectively in those environments.

She is extremely well versed in today’s “Green” agendas in agriculture, and the need for sustainable, renewable agricultural practice including: water efficiency, biodegradable products, renewable energy sources, minimization of carbon footprint, particularly in agricultural transportation, as well as, protection of natural resources in general.

M. Montoya’s many years in agriculture led her to the realization that farmers often had no idea of the market variables that were affecting their operations. Therefore, 3 years ago, she and her two brothers, Gustavo and Oscar, began developing a database information system called AgTools designed to provide farmers, buyers & corporate decision-makers with in-depth information about their markets so that they could make more informed decisions about their farming operations.

The tool covers 67 different variables that affect the marketplace. Some obvious ones are: Product price fluctuations & Product production volumes over years; Local weather patterns that affect production; Weather patterns in other countries that affect production levels; Variations is transportation costs over years.

M. Montoya’s years of experience in agriculture led her to anticipate the explosive growth of products from Guanajuato to the US market. Large buyers in the US, such as US Foods and Fortune Food Importers, recently asked M. Montoya to undertake training of farmers in Guanajuato so they could become more reliable suppliers.

This was perfect for AgTools as the company’s principal agricultural engineers are located in Los Reyes, Michoacán, an hour’s drive from Guanajuato. AgTools’ engineers can provide the training that major US food buyers need, while using Guanajuato as a base to improve and refine the AgTools platform.

AgTools has begun training initiatives in Guanajuato on behalf of the referenced large US buyers. The most recent training involved 110 small, medium and large growers in Guanajuato. Through AgTools, these farmers were able to observe, for example, when the prices for Mexico produce started dropping off as the growing areas in the US began to come into production. They could see that it made no sense for them to continue producing and shipping product to the US market once the US growing regions ramped up.

The 110 farmers were taught how to understand pricing trends, volume production trends, and so forth. This training will make them more reliable suppliers to US buyers when the produce from Guanajuato is at its peak in the months before produce starts to ripen in the US growing regions.

These Guanajuato farmers will form the basis for AgTools’ engineers to study the beneficial impacts of providing small, medium and large farmers with in-depth information about all the variables that affect their farming operations. It will serve as a microcosm for efforts to greatly reduce food waste in the world.

The breakdown of these 110 farmers is as follows:

110 farmers

Small farmers: 10 acres or less

Medium farmers: 10-25 acres

Large farmers: 25 acres or more

1) Small farmers: 10 acres or less (roughly 60% of total number of growers) - Mostly poor by Mexican standards – many have no formal education at all - a few have some grade-school studies – there is almost no knowledge or use of computers, lap-tops and smart digital devices - such devices are not used to assist them in making decisions about their farming operations. They are not very sophisticated and are often susceptible to unscrupulous buyers who try to take advantage of them when there are short-term fluctuations in market pricing.

2) Medium farmers: 10-25 acres (roughly 30% of total number of growers) - Middle-income by Mexican standards – many have completed grade school - Some have studied in high-school - some have rudimentary knowledge of computers, lap-tops and smart digital devices – almost none use such devices to assist them in making decisions about their farming operations. Sometimes they are susceptible to unscrupulous buyers who try to manipulate them when there are short-term fluctuations in market pricing

3 Large farmers: 25 acres or more (roughly 10% of total number of growers) - Middle-income-to-wealthy by Mexican standards – most have studied at the high-school level - some have gone to college – they are increasingly familiar with computers, lap-tops and smart digital devices – they don’t often do so, but they would be able to use such devices to assist them in making decisions about their farming operations, they are sophisticated and informed enough not to be susceptible to unscrupulous buyers who try to manipulate them when there are short-term fluctuations in market pricing

To fully appreciate the ambitious mission proposed by AgTools in the Rockefeller Food Vision Application, we need to visualize the sheer magnitude of food waste in agricultural production and distribution worldwide. According to the FAO, food is wasted on a monumental scale throughout the world.

FAO estimates that about 33% of the world’s food supply is not actually consumed – it is literally wasted. That amounts to about 1.3 billion tons of food. That is nearly $350 billion dollars in wasted food worldwide. Food waste in the US alone is estimated at about $75 billion annually.

Most of this waste can be attributed to inefficiencies in the food production and distribution systems, as well as, archaic communications systems. By the time food gets to the consumer, it is often no longer fresh or consumable. This unused food ends up in waste streams, garbage dumps, and landfills. Massive improvements are needed in food production and distribution systems to greatly reduce food waste.

M. Montoya’s expectation is that the widespread adoption and use of the Agtools data information system can lead to tremendous reductions in food waste worldwide. This starts by giving farmers of all sizes (and buyers) all over the world, easy access - via smart phone, laptop, or large TV screens in strategic areas - to staggering amounts of agricultural information, available in readily digestible form, so that they can see how to improve their farming operations.

M. Montoya’s FOOD VISION is to reduce Food Waste by 50% by the year 2050. In 2050 dollars, that amounts to something on the order of 100 billion tons of food not wasted. That amounts to something on the order of $300 billion of savings as a result of reducing food waste by 50% by the year 2050.

A 50% reduction in food waste worldwide by the year 2050 is a very ambitious goal. The kind of ambitious goal envisioned by the Rockefeller Food Vision Initiative.

The AgTools data information system shows every sign of being able to bring about that scale of food savings needed by the year 2050. It is already being demonstrated that tremendous savings in food waste can be achieved by farmers using the AgTools information system to make better farming decisions.

Widespread use of the Agtools system can generate huge food savings. This is achieved when farmers and buyers are making more informed decisions about what crops to plant, when to plant, what seeds to use, how much fertilizer and pesticides to use, how much water to use, when to harvest, when to ship to markets for optimum freshness, what transportation options to use, etc.

M. Montoya is already experiencing success with AgTools. Farmers far and wide are signing up to use AgTools. Over 100 have signed up in the few months since the launch of AgTools commercially. Large corporate buyers see the value and are signing up to use it. And, they are urging their growers throughout the world to use it as well. Women Angel investors are joining the AgTools’s team. M. Montoya is now devoting her full energies to Agtools.

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Attachments (2)

Brocoli market Mexico - USA English.pdf

Analysis of Mexican broccoli in the US market

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Photo of Martha Montoya
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Thank you Dr. Gehlhoff - Yes it can because it is about the world market and the region in particular vs. the farm production. Data will show increase/decrease production across the regions regardless of farming method

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