February 26-28, 2019
Raleigh Durham, North Carolina

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Friday, December 14 and save $700

Day One
Wednesday 27th February 2019

Day Two
Thursday 28th February 2019

Registration & Morning Coffee

Chairperson Opening Remarks

Emerging Approaches & Products Derived from Plant-Soil Microbes


Introduction and Purpose:
Competing in a market saturated with chemical products has led to innovative approaches to exploiting the plant-soil microbiome. The purpose of this theme will be to reveal novel approaches harnessing microbial derivatives to increase yields, productivity and environmental sustainability. The theme will also explore how agiologicals can be combined with other technologies to shift microbial-derived agricultural products from being soft, green ‘alternatives’ into the mainstream choice for sustainable agronomic practice.

Innovative Approaches to Crop Nutrition


  • Deep understanding of the crop microbiome and microbial physiology to enable microbes to produce and supply nitrogen to crops
  • Delivery of microbes in-furrow or as seed treatment at the time of planting
  • Meeting needs of farmers, while decreasing inputs and reducing environmental impacts

DeCIFRing a Population Genetics Approach to Biological Control of Mycotoxin Production

  • Megan Andrews Project Manager, Center for Integrated Fungal Research and Plant Soil Microbial Community Consortium, North Carolina State University


  • Mycotoxins, and especially the aflatoxins produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus, are an enormous problem in agriculture with direct impacts on human and animal health, as well as economic losses.
  • Commercially available biological control strains are effective at reducing aflatoxin contamination but require reapplication each growing season.
  • Using recently discovered fundamental biology and population genetics of the Aspergillus fungi, existing biocontrol methods can be improved.

An Integrated Technology Pipeline for the Development of Superior Agricultural Biologicals.


  • Development of sustainable and superior biostimulant and biocontrol products for cereals based on natural microorganisms.
  • Bio-informatics and metagenomics approaches combined with proprietary microbial isolation and culturing technologies for selection of the best candidate microorganisms and consortia.
  • Up to 2000 microbial candidates are tested per year for beneficial effects in planta in an automated high-throughput phenotyping platform under controlled growth conditions and eventually confirmed in field trials.

Patterns in the Rhizosphere Microbiome that lead to Improved Growth


  • In-depth microbiome analyses show keystone species, keystone functional groups, and synergy between different groups that lead to improved plant growth.

Morning Refreshments and Networking

The Plant-Soil Microbiome Beyond Row Crops


Introduction and Purpose:
Beyond row crops, agbiologicals are also being applied to improve yields of vegetables, herbs and other crops. The purpose of this theme will be to explore how both first generation and emerging microbial-based products are enhancing productivity of specialty crops and how a greater focus on cultivating these crops can help to both increase food quality and to sustainably meet increased food demands.

Multi-Species Consortia: Developing the Next Generation of Biostimulants to Improve Specialty Crop Yield and Health


  • High-throughput selective breeding approaches can accelerate the isolation of highly efficacious microbial products
  • Inter-species interactions result in synergistic effects outperforming single strains inoculants
  • Exceptional shelf stability without expensive formulations
  • The highly managed nature of specialty crops makes them an excellent testing ground for novel biostimulant products

Impact of Plant Health Care Harpin αβ on Coffee, Sugar Cane and Citrus Fruit

  • Jeff Tweedy Commercial Head Americas , Plant Health Care


  • Recently introduced into Brazilian market Harpin αβ is gaining great acceptance by providing significant benefit to sugar cane yield and sugar content
  • The new discovery that Harpin αβ stimulates mobilisation of calcium within the plant, preferentially accumulating the mineral in the plant cell wall, helps growers solve a significant quality problem in citrus by supporting production of stronger, less susceptible to breakdown and splitting peel
  • Pre-harvest application of Harpin αβ positively impacts harvest quality of coffee plants as well as defence of plants against nematodes and other stressors

Mobilising Industry Guidance on Regulation to Move Microbial-Based Agbiologicals Towards the Market Place


Introduction and Purpose:
Uncertainty in regulation across different geographies has often hindered the progression of agbiologicals towards approval. Lack of clear definitions for various types of agbiological products and differences in registration requirements compared to agchemicals have contributed to the convoluted regulatory landscape. The next theme will provide an opportunity to discuss the progress and resolutions being made in regulation of agbiologicals from an industry perspective

Industry Perspective: The Need for Regulatory Clarity to Enable Access to Environmentally Beneficial Products


• Reviewing the current state of regulatory oversight for biological products
• Identifying complexities in the system that cause confusion and/or delays
• Biological products can address very real environmental concerns which should help drive our collective need for addressing oversight complexities

Developing Regulatory Clarity for Plant Biostimulants in the United States

  • Terry Stone Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Sustainability, Agrinos


  • Past Federal, State and Industry efforts to clarify regulatory status of plant biostimulants
  • Establishment of a unique category of agricultural products
  • Achieving regulatory clarity and assuring safety, quality and credibility of plant biostimulants

Lunch and Networking

Understanding Government Progress in Regulation of Agbiological Products


Introduction and Purpose:

Increasing momentum of microbial derived products in the market place has resulted in increased governmental attention. The aim of this theme is to provide an update on regulatory frameworks for agbiological products from a global government perspective.

The Emerging US Regulatory Environment for Biostimulants


  • Debating the 2018 Farm Bill and the Congressional effort to define biostimulants
  • Reviewing the US Department of Agriculture federal workgroup that has been created to explore how biostimulants should be regulated.

Brazilian Regulatory Landscape for Microbial Derived Products for Agriculture

  • Andre Carrapatoso Director of the Agricultural Inputs Inspection Department , MAPA, Brazil


• Defining progress in Brazilian legislation for registering biofertilisers and biopesticides
• Understanding the inspection process of bio producers’ plants (biofactories)
• Addressing ‘farm saved’ bioestimulants: a new challenge in Brazil

Identifying IP Considerations Throughout the Product Development Cycle


Introduction and Purpose:
Patentability considerations are needed at different points throughout the product development cycle. Understanding intellectual property can both protect and accelerate commercialisation of agbiologicals. This theme will explore strategies for patenting different elements of microbial-based product development and help realise how to build a strong IP portfolio in a changing patent landscape.

Patentability and What It Means to have a Robust IP Portfolio

  • Megan Lyman Director IP, Regulatory & Product Development , AgTech Accelerator


  • Defining the IP registration process and emerging trends in IP.
  • Exploring IP considerations at different points in the product development cycle: costs and international filings.
  • Registering products in a changing patent landscape and using other facets of law e.g. Trade Secret and Copyright to harness your trademark.

Afternoon Refreshments and Networking

A 360 Panorama of Commercialization & Spotlight on Grower Needs


Introduction and Purpose:
As microbial-based products begin to occupy a greater market share of biologicals available for agriculture, understanding the best ‘go to market’ strategies for these products will be crucial to ensuring their success. In addition to overcoming manufacturing and regulatory barriers, the ultimate test for agbiologicals lies with consumers who choose whether or not to adopt these technologies into their agricultural practice. This theme will provide an opportunity to reflect on grower needs that can inform product development in terms of on the ground requirements on the farm. The theme will also enable learning about commercialization of agbiologicals with regards to market entry points and distributor perspectives on making agbiologicals a core part of business.

Ideation to Commercialization


  • Key value drivers for market ready product distribution
  • Trial data value proposition
  • Strategic partnerships to fast track market adoption

Delivery of Sustainable Biological Solutions to Consumers

  • Amit Vasavada Sr. Vice President R&D and CTO, Marrone BioInnovations


  • Types of Biological Solutions for Farmers
  • Navigating through the development and regulatory maze
  • IPM programs for safe products for consumers
  • Successful launch of biopesticides

Microbiology in the Soil – A Producer’s View

  • Russ Hedrick First Generation Farmer , JRH Grain Farms LLC


  • Mimic nature or buy inputs – how to utilize biology to reduce inputs?
  • What are producers looking for – what information does a producer needs to be successful?
  • A systems approach to Soil Health – how to manage soil quality to produce better products?

A Distributor’s Perspective on How to Improve Biopesticide Adoption: We Need More Collaboration Throughout Pesticide Value Chain

  • Jesse Rosales Branded Products Portfolio Manager, Key Active Ingredients, Wilbur-Ellis


  • There are two fundamental differences in how biopesticides get to market vs. synthetic pesticides:
    • Firstly, they generally move through development more quickly: the barriers to entry for biopesticides are significantly lower.
    • Secondly, discovery and development costs are typically in the range of $10M – $15M compared to synthetic development costs of $300M+.
  • Marketing biopesticides through the current paradigm of synthetic pesticides is leading to a misalignment of expectations throughout the value chain.
  • Biopesticide adoption is in need of an innovation on how suppliers, distributors and consumers conduct product and market development.

Panel Discussion: How Will the Future Horizons of Delivering Microbial-Based Agbiological Products into the Hands of Growers Change?


  • What will it take for agbiologicals to become the product of choice for growers?
  • How can mechanism of action be effectively communicated to consumers to increase adoption?
  • How to ensure that new agbiological products fit into current agricultural practices and grower needs?
  • What can be done to achieve a balance between sustainable agribusiness and demands for increased productivity?
  • How can the industry adapt to the coming macro challenges of climate change, loss of arable land and higher demand for crops?

Chair’s Closing Remarks

End of Summit