Bushel Acquires GrainBridge Tech JV From ADM and Cargill
By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media
This is bigger news than it initially seems. Bushel, an independently owned software and software technology solutions provider to grain growers, buyers, protein producers, and food companies, has acquired GrainBridge - a technology platform providing grain marketing decision support and e-commerce and account management software for farmers in North America owned by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill. Financial details of this deal were not disclosed. However, it follows Bushel’s raising of a $47 million Series C in April of this year led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood and Continental Grain Company.
Germin8 Ventures also participated in the round, as well as Cargill – which in addition to its investment has committed to using Bushel’s platform to power some of its internal and external digital tools – and Scoular, which has been using Bushel’s platform since 2018.
The launch of GrainBridge was made by ADM and Cargill in late 2018.
At the time, Wes Uhlmeyer, president of ADM Grain, explained, “While remaining strong competitors, we recognize the need to advance technology for farmers and believe that together we can accomplish that common goal.”
Through the platform, grain farmers in the U.S. and Canada gain access to digital tools designed to consolidate information regarding production economics and grain marketing activity on a single portal at no cost to the user.
One of the initial tools made available through Grainbridge was a dashboard allowing farmers secure access to their contracts, scale tickets, and payment information for transactions conducted with both ADM and Cargill. This knowledge provided farmers insight into their current grain position as well as real-time opportunities.
“Innovation is one of the pillars of ADM’s strategy, and we’re committed to continually improving and expanding digital technology to help support the producers who grow our food,” said Doug Roose, vice president producer marketing, ADM.
“In 2019 we were proud to announce GrainBridge, a joint effort with Cargill to bring together new and useful tools for farmers in a single, easy-to-use digital platform. Now, we’re excited to take the next step,” continued Roose, “Bringing GrainBridge and Bushel together will give farmers a path to new features and functionality, including existing staples like the ability to see local cash bids and account information. This is a win for producers, and it’s a win for our industry, as we continue to innovate and improve to strengthen the entire food and ag value chain.”
Since its beginning in 2011, Bushel has been focused on developing software. Co-founded in Fargo, North Dakota, by North Dakota State University graduates Jake Joraanstad and Ryan Raguse, Bushel works to use digital infrastructure to connect and enhance the grain industry, with the understanding that the industry is “bigger than farmers”. The company cites infrastructure as being the greatest advancement touching the grain industry in the last century, but also notes that digital infrastructure has not kept pace, and lacks standardization.
ADM now joins Cargill and more than 200 other local cooperatives, processors, feed mills, ethanol plants, and biofuel companies on Bushel’s platform, and is working with their respective customers to transition them from GrainBridge to Bushel over a period of time, further connecting the entire grain industry through the industry’s largest digital infrastructure network touching more than 40 percent of grain origination in the U.S. and Canada.
“ADM and Cargill came together with GrainBridge to better understand the digital grain marketing landscape,” said Jeff Klock, global digital strategy leader, Cargill. “This next step of bringing GrainBridge together with Bushel will provide better outcomes for farmers by improving their grain marketing and selling practices. We look forward to continuing to engage with Bushel to continue our journey to understand and serve the market not just for today, but for the future.”’
Because both Bushel and GrainBridge collaborate with a range of partners throughout the grain supply chain, it is important to note that this acquisition will continue to maintain the standard of permission-based control in regard to the sharing of data. Growers and grain buyers will maintain control over when and how their data will be shared throughout the supply chain. The partners with whom the grower or grain facility chooses to do business will be integrated directly into the software to be readily accessible without requiring manual data entry.
Providing this permission-based data sharing and visualization will then result in improved data-based decision making, creating connections that can support all points on the supply chain from grower to grain origination, to CPG companies - reflective of how Bushel’s strategic focus is to enable, not disrupt the agricultural industry.
Specific examples of these benefits include:
Bushel’s data insights will help educate grain buyers and sellers about trends and best practices related to grain marketing.
Increased visibility for food processors sourcing specific traits such as higher protein or oil content with their customer base.
The verification of sustainability credits and corporate targets for CPGs through a “grain passport”.
“The collaboration of the grain industry behind Bushel will lead to faster standardization, which leads to faster innovation,” said Jake Joraanstad, CEO, Bushel. “As an industry, it is more efficient to be working together and collaborating on resources to improve the North American grain trade. Adding the GrainBridge team members to Bushel gives us stronger data science capabilities to provide even better insights from our expanded network.”