Derek Newberry

Rising Ventures: Changing The Face of Commercial Agriculture

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I couldn’t help myself. Staring at piles of steak, salad and cheese breads I wondered what had gone into this process – what had happened to allow this lunch to reach my table. A meal at Fogo de Chao, the Brazilian Churrascaria downtown, will have that effect on you; and it’s easy to get philosophical after a couple caipirinhas and a pound of fraudinha.

Two molecular biologists in India asked the same question, and as with so many of the products we consume in this age of globalization, they found disturbing results. Dr. Shendye and Dr. Joshi explored large scale agricultural practices in their region and found that farmers had a strong incentive to inundate their fields with excessive amounts of water and chemical fertilizer to boost crop production in the short term even though this process would eventually have detrimental effects. Over time, noxious substances accumulate in the soil, gradually making some of the country’s richest lands largely infertile.Their solution: a range of agricultural products that rely on microorganisms and chemical free processes to increase carbon levels in the soil, improve nitrogen uptake by plants and most importantly, replace 25-50 percent of traditional fertilizers. The results are dramatic, the two founders of ABT have proven their products to increase crop yields sustainably, and their demonstrations have impressed the likes of the largest sugar producers in India, who have begun using formulas such as AgroFertiCare on thousands of acres of land.

Read the full profile to learn more about the company and just think next time you’re at a business lunch that because of businesses like ABT, people will be enjoying that house salad for generations to come.