Topcon Talks Agriculture

Climate Smart Technology Grants | S05E09

March 31, 2022 Topcon Positioning Systems Season 5 Episode 9
Climate Smart Technology Grants | S05E09
Topcon Talks Agriculture
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Topcon Talks Agriculture
Climate Smart Technology Grants | S05E09
Mar 31, 2022 Season 5 Episode 9
Topcon Positioning Systems

Listen in as host Dave Orr learns about on-farm climate technology tools and the grants making it easier for farmers to access with guest Jeff Clark from C-Lock Inc.

Show Notes Transcript

Listen in as host Dave Orr learns about on-farm climate technology tools and the grants making it easier for farmers to access with guest Jeff Clark from C-Lock Inc.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and thank you for joining Topcon talks, agriculture. I'm Dave ward, the regional sales manager for Canada. And today we're excited to be talking about the lifestyle industry and maybe a couple of offshoot things that are happening that we might not all be aware of today for this conversation we brought in Jeff Clark, who is a business development manager and sales coordinator for C lock manufacturing. Thanks for joining us today, Jeff.

Speaker 2:

You bet. Thanks for having me on.

Speaker 1:

So Jeff, as I mentioned, you, uh, our business development manager for C lock, don't you tell us a little bit about who you are in your background.

Speaker 2:

So yes, I am, uh, in business development and sales for C lock. Um, and what kind of drove me into this current position was my background in managing and implementing, uh, smart livestock technology on large scale operations throughout the country. It helped me in this current position, um, to have a background such as I do to really help our clients and customers understand how to not only implement this technology on their ranch, but how to actually extract the valuable data and utilize that on farm.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. And so you come from a, a background of having a degree in, in some form of animal science then.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Sorry about that. So I studied, uh, at California Polytechnic state university located in San Louis Obispo, California, um, with a concentration in beef production and majored in animal science. Um, it was after that, that I branched out and I worked for five rivers, cattle feeding at the beginning stages of my career, along with a few, um, Angus and Herford seed stock producers. And then ultimately ended up managing a large scale sheep and cattle commercial operation in, in Northern California.

Speaker 1:

Oh, gotcha. And now you have found yourself in rapid city, South Dakota, correct?

Speaker 2:

Yes. So sea lock is located in, in rapid city and it's kind of a me story, um, on how I ended up here. I actually ran into the C lock crew while attending an NCBA convention, uh, back a few years ago and kind of wrote them down as a company I wanted to follow, um, just due to the innovative technology that they showcased at the show and my personal operations sort of goals, pheno typing cattle for feed efficiency and developing our Heer replacement program and our youth lock replacement program around that efficiency number. And, and really, you know, we were looking for a way to kind of capture some tangible data to use on farm, uh, to make us more profitable. And they seemed to be leading the way, um, in that area. That's what drove me to really kind of keep an eye out, I guess you might say, um, in regards to this company, if they ever had an opportunity open up and, and when it did, I, I approached them and, and the rest is history.

Speaker 1:

Wow. So obviously, you know what I know, uh, uh, living in Saskatchewan, there's a, there's a vast difference in living in California and living in South Dakota. So, um, I'm sure you've become acclimatized over the ways. Uh, you kind of mentioned that, uh, they stood out to you at a, at a trade show and some of their innovative products that were coming out. Um, what does exactly sea lock manage factor and market for the industry?

Speaker 2:

So we manufacture tools for both researchers and producers looking to capture a gamut of data points ranging from individual animal feed intake to actual, um, Erick emissions data. And by that I'm directly referring to, uh, methane carbon dioxide, hydrogen and oxygen. So we have equipment that you can place in real world management scenarios that are unparalleled in the accuracy of the data provided to the end user in those kind of key areas. We also have, um, some kind of on-farm strategic supplementation devices. That'll allow you to allocate feed on an individual animal basis and kind of control those parameters. Um, and when you couple those systems with, you know, our systems for monitoring emissions and feed intake, it really allows the end user to create a, a robust system, you know, in order to capture whatever data it is they're looking for, um, and drive them to kind of toward that end goal, which really hasn't been possible until now, just due to constraints in research and the different avenues you kind of had to go through in order to get this information. Um, it wasn't really applicable to actual real world us management scenario, such as an outdoor feed yard, or even the pasture for that matter. And now it is with our, uh, equipment.

Speaker 1:

And so I guess in saying that, what is the ultimate mission when you're talking to a producer about your product? What is the ultimate mission, um, that we are looking at achieving here that we are looking at, um, you know, satisfying that need in the, in the industry?

Speaker 2:

Well, that's multi, I would say multifacet, um, if you will, because really we partner with our customers, um, we, we have our goal of providing researchers and producers, the tools they need to become more efficient, to remain profitable, to capitalize on improvements they didn't even know were there and, and also, you know, stop the areas where they may be bleeding, uh, that they don't realize. Um, and so basically we focus on providing the right tools to monitor, analyze, and control, uh, ruminant, biological parameters that, you know, allow, um, us to pinpoint problems, identify opportunities and kind of cost effective solutions that save our clients money.

Speaker 1:

Gotcha. And, and so that is a, a multi-phase, uh, mission, like you said, are you yourself working directly with a, a network of dealerships or are you working directly with end users and feedlot facilities and, and testing facilities?

Speaker 2:

Uh, no, we deal directly with our end user clients. Um, and that is, that's probably why I, uh, enjoy this position so much is the relationships that we've built over this time and just being a part of their operation and a part of their idea even, um, of, of what they're hoping to accomplish and then helping them, you know, helping them get there. Um, that's really why we're here. And so we like to keep that, uh, direct line. So to say

Speaker 3:

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Speaker 1:

Today. I'm joined here by Jeff Clark from sea lock manufacturing, and we're just going through, um, exactly what sea lock manufacturing does and some of the new innovative things that they are bringing specifically to the livestock industry. Something that I caught my eye in looking at exactly what sea lock was, is this green feed, um, product. And I, I believe it's to measure the methane exactly. How does that work and, and how do we use that data in the industry?

Speaker 2:

Right. So green feed, um, is, uh, a pretty innovative platform kind of standalone unit at this point, which doesn't have much real competition, um, up, up to this point in regards to capturing this data in a real world management environment. So let me back up a little bit and kind of tell a story about leading up to this, this point in time. Um, there were other methods for estimating emissions or capturing emissions in a very lay labor intensive way with low, um, head count numbers. So whether that's putting a few cows in a complete chamber system, um, where you're capturing all the gas is produced, but you're also altering feed intake due to some of the, uh, stress from being in a building, um, for these cattle and pulled out of their, their standard environment, or you you're utilizing the SF six model, which is very labor intensive for those, uh, out there that understand how this model works. So green feed kind of came about by the need to eliminate that labor, save time and make this technology not only available to researchers, but also to producers. That's really where we see this going is, and why, you know, we exist is to help, uh, secure, you know, our food, um, in livestock industry for the years to come. And so green feed eliminates the labor and also the altering effect that those two units can have on the data collected it, it keeps the cattle in their natural environment and allows them to ad lib, basically approach our, our unit, which looks almost like a, uh, mineral feeder. You might say with a hopper above in a feed dish below, um, in that feed dish, there are, there are holes, um, board into that dish. And that allows us to capture the air from anys that these animals have while at the green feed. Um, in order to do that, we have a, a quiet fan on an exhaust pipe that actually starts spinning as soon as the animal approaches and our system not only scans their electronic identification tag, but also position sensor lets us know their head is far enough in the hood in order to capture all those gases. That fan turns on any erupts are then pulled through our system, um, and captured. Um, and that's where we can both read, uh, not only concentration, but also quantity produced. And at the end of the day, our customers are provided grams per day, produced of methane, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and hydrogen.

Speaker 1:

And now I, I guess the way that you've just explained it would lead me to believe that you are actually able to measure based on each cow where I believe, you know, in other situations you're measuring the whole entire herd at once, correct? You, you have this scanned rate to the tag, so then you can actually isolate an exact cow or whatever it is, um, that is that data is linked to instead of essentially a whole entire herd. Correct.

Speaker 2:

Um, right. So we can do both, um, we can get, you know, provide our customers with group averages, uh, based upon green feeds implemented, uh, with large swaths of cattle, uh, or large, large bunch sizes and provide you with an actual group average, but what makes green feed so valuable is the fact that yes, we can monitor individual animal output and coupling that with our smart feed system, which monitors individual animal intake, um, and also our, our smart scale monitoring average daily gain, every time these animal approach, the water trough, it really provides a complete and robust system for folks to really monitor production output, um, along with emissions output,

Speaker 1:

Right? And so is methane, uh, being measured from one single cow, is that able to change based upon diet in the way that they're fed, um, or changing the nutrients in their feed? Uh, do you see, you know, how it can be changed, uh, through these tools?

Speaker 2:

Oh, AB absolutely. So what I think's been most interesting since accepting this position is kind of figuring out how important the room and microbiome is to both efficiency, as well as emissions, you know, the type and quantity of bacteria that an individual animal maintains in their room and has more to do with, uh, both efficiency and emissions than almost anything else. Um, the interesting thing about that through the research that our partners have done in this area to phenotype specific animals, we've come to discover that emissions actually have a very similar heritability, um, as feed efficiency. So feed efficiency is right around a 3.4 heritability. And to kind of explain that a little further, a heritability of 0.4 indicates that 40% of all the phenotypical variation for that trait is due to variation in genotypes for that trait versus other influences like environment. So in the realm of like trait heritability, this is actually quite significant and mirrors kind of what I had mentioned earlier in regards to feed efficiency in its heritability.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that, that's definitely very interesting and I know enlightening for myself, um, not as involved in the cattle industry and, and certainly feed lot and, and methane measuring. How long is measuring methane been, you know, a common practice for a while now? Um, is this something that's just more recently be coming up with greenhouse gas emissions and global warming and these types of incentives, or is this something that's been going on?

Speaker 2:

So, um, Dr. Patrick Zimerman, um, who is the owner and founder of sea lock and, and also the inventor of green feed started the company, I believe back in 2005. So we've actually been around quite a bit, but I think, um, anytime you have new technology like this and you are, um, approaching the scientific world to accept it, it needs to be validated. And I think it took a while to kind of, uh, gather up enough, um, validation studies to where we are now essentially, uh, the gold standard in this area. And that has spiraled over the last year or so. Um, or I'd say two to three years really into where we're at today. And also, I would say just the social, an economic environment worldwide ha is now approaching an area where this is not only needed, it's demanded. And so we're kind of entering this, this new area where, you know, growth is inevitable for technology like this.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. Um, and is it just strictly for cattle or is there other livestock operations like, could benefit from this product?

Speaker 2:

Actually we can measure from basically any ruminant. Um, we can also measure from non ruminants, but as you know, they don't have the output that ruminant animals do and, and thus far we haven't branched off into that area, but no, we can measure intermissions from sheep, from goats, um, even deer reindeer, um, you know, you kind of name it. We can facilitate that or come up with a way to figure that out.

Speaker 1:

And so Lynn, for a farmer that's, that's asking, why do I need to measure my methane from my animals or any of these values at green, um, feed can produce, what is the benefit to them as a producer? What is that getting for them on their operation or in their herd? So

Speaker 2:

That is, is a easy question to answer, but also a hard one. So I think we need to take a step back and say, you know, uh, you know, basically where are they gonna see the payback, right, from an investment into this type of technology. And I think this, this starts at a higher level, basically, uh, you know, kind of taking a look at seed stock producers and those that are providing genetics into, uh, whether it be the dairy in, or the beef industry at large, and their need to focus on this as an added value opportunity for their operation to not only stand out as a leader in sustainability, but also provide, uh, their customers, whether it be bull buyers or, uh, you know, Ram buyers, um, or if they sell a dairy semen, provide their customers with this information and data to, in order to improve their herd. You know, along with that, just having this technology on farm and kind of benchmarking where you're at is going to really set you up when the inevitable carbon market that is actively being developed right now finally comes to fruit. And there's companies like United Southwest in these airlines, uh, Exxon Mobil, looking to offset their carbon footprint by purchasing these credits from validated sources. This allows these producers to actually benchmark where they're at and document improvement,

Speaker 1:

Right. And so, you know, I guess we're getting into that long term game of what we believe is coming. And I think, I know, certainly in, in my jurisdiction, it is coming, uh, with getting into carbon credits and all of that. And this is where farmers can actually help offset some of those and be able to find a little bit of, of investment in ROI through that carbon capturing and, and footprinting correct.

Speaker 2:

Oh, a absolutely. And kind of one neat thing too, that, um, uh, green feed is starting to bridge the gap on is pasture based management systems and kind of identifying feed intake out in the pasture. That's been a real struggle for us. You know, we can put load cells on a feed bunk and tell you what they're eating in a feed yard setting, but once they to grass, we don't know really how that correlates now, green feed collects carbon dioxide emissions out on pasture, which allows you to really rank in the field where your cows, where your sheep, um, are at, in regards to the other animals in the group, as far as intake. So carbon really ties strongly to intake. It's the methane, um, that is more variable and kind of more dependent upon that room and microbiome.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. And so in a standard operation, um, how does this product and, and the suite of products that sea lock has to offer kind of fit into the operation? Is it just something that you are able to put right in the middle of the pasture or the corrals, or, or is there a specific way that it has to be set up that the cows are encouraged to go over there to this specific measuring device?

Speaker 2:

That's, that's a great question. So, um, we'll talk about green fee feed. First green feed, we have different options. So, you know, let's say you're a large scale dairy. We can set a green feed right in your feed alley line, and we can collect that data right there without any infrastructure changes, just simply setting it down, bolting it in, and basically a way you go when you take these cattle out on pasture, you know, we offer, um, a solution for this that is basically a solar operated trailer system. So as you move cattle, you can also move our solar operated trailer with it. Um, and that all that data is actually transferred via cellular service. Um, and so it goes right back to our out based user interface, and you can access that 24 7, even with the unit out in the field. We typically have all of our in barn installations utilize wifi for data transfer, but in regards to green feed, we, we have solutions to meet both those needs.

Speaker 1:

Wow. That that's, uh, this, this product continue to intrigue me more, more and more. I, I know that you have been working hard and, and C lock has been working hard on finding ways and intuitive ways to make sure that this can get into end user's hands. And I believe that there's some grant opportunities that are available regarding climate smart technology on farms. Do you have any information that you could share with us on that and, and how maybe C lock integrates with some of those grants coming from the governments?

Speaker 2:

You know, this is pretty exciting. Um, there was actually a recent announcement of a$1 billion U S D a grant that specifically, uh, is pointed towards partnerships for climate climate smart technologies and, um, the implementation of these in both farms and research environments. So the only caveat basically in order for someone to apply for this money would be that they need to be a part of basically a business nonprofit higher education institution or government entity. They're not accepting any personal or individual applications, but quite a honestly, I mean, I think, uh, most folks that are looking to really make a difference in this area are a part of one of these groups or either a small business. And, um, the opportunity is there for all of the technology in our portfolio to capitalize on this grant. And so we're, we're pretty excited about what this may bring.

Speaker 1:

Very interesting. And so if somebody, um, you know, listening here, here today to Topcon talks, agriculture wants to have maybe more information on your product, or maybe one of these grants. They could probably certainly get in touch with you by going to C dash Locke, inc.com to get some more information on your products and possibly some grants

Speaker 2:

That would be a great place to start. And I would highly recommend they click on the contact us a submission form, and that would allow them to get on our email list, um, which is probably the best way for us to communicate and quickly provide them updates when, when, uh, other grants are available, as well as provide information in regards to this specific U S D a grant, you know, know in regards to kind of when submissions are due, um, and things of that nature.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. Well, Jeff, I think that, uh, brings us to the conclusion of today's very enlightening and informational session. So thank you very much for joining us today. Jeff,

Speaker 2:

You bet. Thank you for having me. And, uh, we appreciate, uh, the opportunity to speak with you today.

Speaker 1:

If you need more information to about C lock or any of their products, please check their website out at C Locke, inc.com, and you can always check out Topcon positioning.com/na/sustainability for any information about this podcast or any other podcast. Once again, thank you for joining Topcon talks, agriculture, and we look forward to catching up with you next time.