American Farm Bureau Federation (“Farm Bureau”), a leading agricultural insurance company and lobbying group, has named Vulpes Agricultural Corp. (“Vulpes”) and its Carbon Black Acid (internal code name) technology as top 10 semi-finalist in its Ag Innovation Challenge 2022.
Farm Bureau’s Ag Innovation Challenge is an annual national business competition launched in 2015. In its eighteenth year, the Ag Innovation Challenge aims at identifying novel solutions and top entrepreneurs to address traditional and rising challenges faced by farmers. Semi-finalists in the Ag Innovation Challenge receive cash awards, business support, and an opportunity to compete for the top award at the 2022 AFBF Convention.
Vulpes is a manufacturing R&D startup based in St. Louis, MO founded in 2019. It uses its manufacturing expertise to both commercialize novel agrochemical materials and to onshore existing agrochemical production. Vulpes collaborates with 15 research and agricultural extension teams across 10 U.S. research institutions to develop Carbon Black Acid, a fertilizer and seed additive that can improve plants’ nutrient and water uptake by up to 200%, reduce fertilizer loss and its environmental impact, and reduce fertilizer expenditure by farmers.
The selection of Vulpes in the Ag Innovation Challenge is an honor and a recognition of Vulpes’s innovative capacities. Vulpes’s Carbon Black Acid is a new product with a direct causal mechanism that delivers nutrients into the roots and straws of plants while providing a stable and consistent performance across crops and growing conditions. Vulpes develops local and innovative processes to ensure Carbon Black Acid enjoys a competitive price in a cost-sensitive market and is chemically compatible with existing chemical and biological processes in the field.
Carbon Black Acid, however, is merely the first among many of Vulpes’s upcoming manufacturing innovations. Vulpes is also developing a next-generation RNA pesticide manufacturing process. Through using industrial byproducts and a completely new pathway, Vulpes hopes to reduce the cost of RNA pesticide by more than 90%. Vulpes is also collaborating with multiple multinational companies to onshore their agricultural input manufacturing from Asia. Through Vulpes’s manufacturing innovations and expanding local supply chain partnerships, Vulpes fuels the growth of manufacturing onshoring, regional competitiveness, and the local economy.
Upon receiving the semi-finalist selection, CEO of Vulpes Rick Shang notes: “We appreciate the opportunity to elevate our exposure to and develop a deep relationship with the farming community.” Rick recognizes that Vulpes comes from a manufacturing background, rather than an agricultural one. And Vulpes is eager to engage the end users and seek their input from the beginning and throughout the product development and commercialization phases. With the help of Farm Bureau, Vulpes can better understand farmers’ needs and demands and develop more solutions to better serve the farming community.