FoA 337: Synthetic biology for nature-based and data-driven farming with Travis Bayer and Adam Litle of Sound Agriculture

Visit Sound Agriculture's website: https://www.sound.ag/

Our featured guests today are Sound Agriculture's CEO Adam Litle, as well as co-founder and CTO Travis Bayer. If you’re thinking you’ve heard all about Sound from previous episodes of this podcast, that’s great! But I will assure you there is a lot more you haven’t heard yet and this episode is well worth your time.

Adam and Travis really do a great job of capturing a huge trend for the future of agriculture:  the convergence of biology and data science and other modern technologies to create innovative products that work with nature. But, their products are commercialized with the farmer customer in mind. There are some real nuggets in here that you definitely don’t want to miss.

Some quick background: As CEO, Adam Litle leads the Sound Agriculture’s strategy and overall company execution. He joined Sound to help serve both producers and consumers with more sustainable, differentiated crops. Prior to Sound, Adam was on the founding team and served as Chief Revenue Officer of Granular, the leading farm management software company acquired by Corteva in 2017.

Before that he was General Manager of the cellulase enzyme business at Codexis, a publicly-traded industrial biotech company serving the healthcare and agriculture industries. He began his career as an investment banker at Barclays Capital. Adam has a JD/MBA from the University of Michigan and BA from Yale University.

Travis Bayer co-founded Sound Agriculture in 2013 to identify science-based solutions to today’s complex agricultural challenges. Travis’ career has focused on understanding how to harness the diversity of the earth’s natural systems to enable a more sustainable world. His approach to discovery combines a deep knowledge of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics with an innately creative spirit. He has authored and invented more than 50 research publications and patents, and spent five years at Imperial College London and University of Oxford as a lecturer and associate professor, respectively.

He received a PhD in biochemistry and biophysics from Caltech, and a B.S. in molecular biology from University of Texas at Austin.

We spend the first part of today’s episode talking about the SOURCE product, its significance, and where it fits into the marketplace. Then we shift gears into talking about their approach to data and technology and what this blend of biology and software means for the future of agriculture. First though, I asked Travis how all of this got started when he co-founded Sound Agriculture with Eric Davidson back in 2013. 

About the Podcast

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Future of Agriculture
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About your host

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Tim Hammerich

I share stories about agriculture, agtech, and agribusiness on podcasts and radio.