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AgriThority: technology transfer

Two veteran Extension specialists and a veteran public relations specialist are combining their efforts to form a new company aimed at assisting industry in developing and effectively transferring new technologies and products to the marketplace.

Based in Kansas City, AgriThority is the brainchild of Robert Lemon, former cotton specialist with Texas A&M University, Sandy Stewart, cotton specialist with the LSU AgCenter, and Jerry Duff, founding partner and marketing specialist. They plan to add additional specialists later this winter and spring.

“AgriThority is an extraordinary new asset for companies developing and transferring bio-science and new product technologies to the marketplace,” said Duff. “Growers and influencers who require a high level of best management practices supported by sound scientific basis also will benefit.”

The AgriThority “3-D” business model is built on three pillars of services for agribusiness — data, development and delivery. This package of field-to-market services is provided to the agriculture industry in a vertically integrated, seamless offering that will allow for consolidating the scientific basis for the product’s use, and the proper positioning of technologies and products in crop production systems, Duff said.

The added value for client-companies will be in delivery services, such as training and educational programs to extend technical information to the marketplace.

“We’re not a data-dump company, but rather we help our clients find value in the body of data, determine the product’s best fit in the crop production system and deliver tools for the adoption of the product among influencers and end users,” said Stewart.

Ultimately, a new product’s success or failure as a brand comes down to the scientific basis for its positioning, according to Lemon.

“Protocol development is critically important as field testing is done for new products, but so are the observations made during the season that may not be in the protocol,” he said. “These observations and an understanding of the crop production system can be critical in providing the predictable performance for new products and their subsequent positioning. That’s why I’m with AgriThority now.”

AgriThority will focus on five areas within agriculture, horticulture and allied industries:

• New market entry

• New product development and introduction

• Threats from market changes

• Unacceptable product performance

• Information management and transfer

The three basic areas the company will work in include:

Data — Whether one research location or 100, The AgriThority Field Services Network provides companies an independent, centralized source for national and international contract science, field testing across environments, and demonstration trials using best management practices (BMPs), said Lemon.

AgriThority will work with client-companies to develop protocols and to manage the field development process throughout the product/crop season. Instead of delivering a data dump at the end of the season, AgriThority will assimilate and summarize data to ensure consistency and continuity, as well as help client-companies recognize maximum value from their field research and development investment.

Development — The development of BMPs accepted in agronomic and horticultural crop production and a rationalization of product positioning within those BMPs is an AgriThority-differentiated strength. The end result for client-companies is a strong technical foundation from which a successful brand can be built or launched. This foundation is predicated on successful, predictable performance of the product in the field — across environments.

Delivery — A strong technical foundation is only as strong as its adoption among members of the technical and influencer communities, including innovative growers, university research and Extension specialists, crop consultants and PCAs, the distribution channel, and other audiences requiring a technical message.

AgriThority will cultivate direct connections with influencers and leading growers throughout the agriculture and horticulture industries. AgriThority members will provide training and education programs for company sales and field development organizations, technical influencers, channel partners, growers and consumers.

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