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AgLaunch Mentor Spotlight

AgLaunch Mentor Spotlight

Ned French

As an agricultural innovator, you know the road to successful product launch is long and difficult. Right now, thousands of new technologies and products haven’t reached the market because they got stuck. But you don’t have to stay stuck. There’s a better way. At Agrobionics Consulting Services, we help ag innovators turn their idea into a breakthrough success.

Areas of Expertise: Product development of crop protection and plant health products, biotechnology traits, and sensors in range of cropping systems including field crops, fruits, vegetables, turf, and forestry. Areas of expertise include agronomy, entomology, forestry, nematology, plant pathology, and weed science.

Ali Manning

Ali is a food scientist and the CEO/Founder of Umami Food Consulting, LLC. With over ten years in the food industry, she utilizes her expertise to help food entrepreneurs tackle issues beyond the kitchen. Along with managing her clients, Ali is the program consultant for Project Green Fork (a local sustainability organization) and the chair of equity and inclusion at the Overton Park Shell.

Ali is also the creator of Food Science 4 Kids, a program that teaches grade-school children food science education and allows them to perform fun experiments they can do virtually or in person. She recently published her first children’s book, “Can I Play with my Food?” in February of this year, and is a contestant on Snack vs. Chef, which premiered on Netflix. Ali is a graduate of Alabama A&M University and a Huntsville, AL native, but after being a transplant for nearly 12 years, she considers Memphis her home

Areas of Expertise: Food (science) education, product development, nutritional analysis, project management/liaison.

Linda Rader

Senior Executive with 30+ years experience in Agriculture, including crop protection, animal health, and ag software in both multi-billion dollar and start-up companies. Domestic and International experience in B2B and B2C. Background in both marketing and finance with a data-driven approach.

Areas of Expertise: Strategic marketing and business plan development, with a focus on financials.

Loston Rowe

Dr. Loston Rowe was raised on a family farm in MS. He attended Mississippi State Univ. for BS and MS degrees, and then earned his PhD in Crop and Soils Sciences at Michigan State Univ. Having held numerous professional and leadership positions in the ag crop protection industry, Dr. Rowe is currently grower relations executive with the ag tech startup, Indigo Ag, where he manages Indigo’s collaboration efforts with strategic farmer partners across the US.

Dr. Rowe has a passion for developing new agriculture technologies. He also continuously works to improve student awareness of exciting careers in ag, having mentored numerous students and young professionals in the industry. Dr. Rowe was the inaugural recipient of Michigan State University’s DEI Award, recognizing his professional accomplishments, service, and contributions to diversity within agriculture. He was also named a Mississippi State Univ. Alumni Fellow, highlighting his outstanding career in ag.

Areas of Expertise: Agtech, crop protection, product development, sales, strategic marketing, discovery research

Nick Wijnberg

Nick is currently Co-Founder and General Partner of Lorimer Ventures, a pre-seed to series A venture capital firm. Prior to Lorimer Ventures, Nick spent 10 years as a lender within the Farm Credit system, most recently as Vice President, Food & Agribusiness, where he oversaw the sourcing, structuring and syndication of large corporate credits. Before his time with Farm Credit, Nick was an equity derivatives trader and in structured credit sales at Citigroup (NYSE: C).

Areas of Expertise: Capital Markets, Fintech, Agtech, Fundraising.