GREAT FALLS – The Montana Department of Agriculture presents the first Montana Ag-Tech Innovation and Investment Summit.
The launch event is to advance the agricultural sector.
A day-long event on January 24, 2023, that features guest speakers, networking opportunities and a Shark Tank-style “Pitch Arena.”
A pool of applicants, whittled down to 10 finalists – prepared to deliver a 60-second elevator pitch to industry leaders and investors.
David Sands and Claire Sands Baker were one of the final ten – a daughter duo.
“I have to say now is the time,” David said.
“This is really our launch day,” added Claire.
Claire Sands Baker is the CEO and co-founder of Kuvu Bio Solutions, an herbicide company. Her father, David, is a former Montana State University professor in the Department of Plant and Plant Sciences.
“A cell is very similar to a computer. He has to make a hundred decisions a minute. In doing so, it can discard some genes that are not effective and that becomes a weakness. If you understand how computers work, then plants work the same way. Dr. Sands explained the science in a nutshell.
The science behind it is different from the one used today.
The herbicide industry generates $35 billion annually. A synthetic herbicide.
The science that the Sands duo is working on is taking, weed-resistant weeds, and using biology and fungi, to defeat it. Something the two men experimented with in Kenya, Africa.
“It is very important to understand where the farmers are coming from. Therefore, this designed product is a human design. Women farmers, small farmers grow crops with their own hands. We have to find a way to distribute this product that will work with them. We will do the same thing as we develop products in America. Clare said.
The two findings in Kenya focused on food production in developing countries.
What he can bring to the farmers in the United States – is the fight against evolution with evolution.
“…let the fungus do what it’s been doing for a million years,” said Dr. Sands, “It’s just a matter of relying on the fungus, on its biology and just helping it a little bit. This is new technology. This is a new way of thinking and farmers love it.”
Research Dr. Sands and his work as a teacher have surpassed his daughter’s company. Opposing Kuvu Bio Solutions is former student, Morteza Hosseinnejad, founder of Aizy Tech. Hosseinnejad is an engineer who was encouraged by his friend to attend Dr. Sands. After this experience, he had to take his class.
“I would say he’s one of the reasons why we’re here today, because the class he taught was amazing and he was like, ‘Go out there and explore’.”
She encouraged his students and encouraged his daughter, giving a 60-second elevator pitch with others. The result came in that Kuvu Bio Solutions did not run out of money.
The experience itself is what scientists need to develop in the future.
“We also have some great things in the pipeline for Kenya. All this will lead to more success for this because these are international agri-tech awards,” said Claire.
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The third prize went to 406 Agronomy for Augmenta technology, receiving $10,000.
In second place, receiving $15,000 was Aizy Tech for his Whitehawk technology and robotics technology.
Taking home, the grand prize of $25,000 is Montana State University for Durum Wheat research.
The Sands duo has built a deep relationship through their study of Africa and the launch of a new project. Despite the consequences of her ride – trying to change is the most important thing.
“I am proud of her because she is trying and trying to do something that has never been done before. I am with her whether she wins or not.”
Kuvu Bio Solutions African research project can be found at www.toothpickproject.org.
Questions or comments about this article? Journalist’s email a [email protected].