What is the elevator pitch you use for your startup?
Susterre is pioneering the use of ultrahigh-pressure water jets in row crop applications. Our technology facilitates the use of regenerative practices like no-till farming and cover crops by easily cutting through heavy crop residue with no downforce, and by injecting inputs into the soil where they don’t wash away.
What pain points are you trying to solve in agriculture?
No-till farming is not fulfilling its promise since farmers currently have difficulty managing heavy crop residue as it builds up over several seasons. Today’s technology does not cut through the residue, but pins it into the soil. When the seeds are deposited, they no longer contact soil, but contact crop residue. This hinders seed germination and crop emergence. Farmers end up tilling their soil after a few seasons, which negates the benefits of no-till farming.
How did you get the idea to start your company?
I was approached by a venture capital firm to see if I’d be interested in forming a new company to commercialize this technology. After due diligence, I was really excited about the potential for this technology to revolutionize the planting of crops around the world.
What are your plans to work with the Grand Farm?
I would definitely like to conduct further in-field validation of our technology at Grand Farm. In addition, Grand Farm would provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our technology to potential customers and distribution partners. I would also consider a product launch event at Grand Farm.
What are your plans for the US market? Do you think you’ll have a presence in the midwest?
Absolutely—I would like to establish several local offices in the Midwest, each with sales staff and product support staff. The Fargo area would be an ideal location for my first office.
Susterre’s technology will be the gold standard for regenerative planting applications.”
If your product/service was already being used by everyone, globally, what impact would that have?
We would see increased crop yields without having to increase the amount of land under cultivation. Farms would be more profitable through increased revenue and reduced usage of expensive crop inputs. The number of harmful algae blooms around the world would greatly decrease, since agricultural chemicals would be injected into the soil, instead of being applied on top of the soil. This would reduce runoff into waterways.
How are you incorporating growers into your business plan?
We have conducted four rounds of prototyping and a full season of field validation on farmers’ fields across three states and in Ontario, Canada. We are actively soliciting feedback from these farmers to further refine our designs and to identify additional products that we can offer in the marketplace. I also have two separate farmers’ groups who have invested in my company.
Where do you see your company in 10 years?
Susterre’s technology will be the gold standard for regenerative planting applications.
This magazine reaches 16,000+ farmers. In one sentence, what would you like to tell them?
We can increase their yield, reduce their costs and help regenerate their soil—all at a payback that is three times faster than other investments they can make in their farms.