Food production is an essential aspect of our society, and new Rev member company ProAgni is ensuring that the environmental impact of this process is lowered.
ProAgni is an Australian startup that was launched by farmers and ranchers who were inspired to remove antibiotics from agriculture through their work with kangaroo gut bacteria. The 2022 Grow-NY $1 million grand prize winner, ProAgni was recently invited to the White House as part of a group of Australian startups making a mark on the U.S. market. Earlier this year, the startup was also awarded a $2,494,394 grant by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) as part of the Greener Cattle Initiative.
We sat down with ProAgni to talk more about their journey and how they got to where they are today.
What is the “origin story” behind your company?
ProAgni is an agriculture biotech company founded by a team of primary producers and industry experts. We have been resourced by a farmer, an agronomist, a nuclear medicine scientist, and a commercial director who have contributed significant time over the past five years and supported by advisors who have generously donated time and resources due to our core social impact mission. ProAgni has largely been bootstrapped by a combination of philanthropic donation, a small amount of Industry grant money, and recent cash flow generated from royalties received on the sale of commercialized product.
What customer need is your company attempting to address?
Problem 1: Antimicrobial resistance. This year, over 700,000 people around the world will lose their lives because of infections that couldn’t be treated with antibiotics. The WHO expects that number to grow to around one person dying every three seconds by the time our children reach adulthood. Livestock producers are contributing to the global problem of antimicrobial resistance. Over 80 percent of the global use of antibiotics is animal production – this is not for treatment but to promote growth and transition animals to intensive diets.
Problem 2: Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Livestock contributes around 70 percent of total agricultural emissions or 11 percent of national emissions. These livestock emissions are mainly from rumen fermentation and methane produced from microbial digestion of feed in cattle and sheep.
Where do you envision your company a year from now? Five years from now?
In the next year, we are currently working to expand our ProTect product range into the U.S. market off the back of our Grow-NY win in 2022 and create a pathway to market for the probiotic range in Australia and the U.S. In the next five years, we’d like to see ProTect available in every state in the U.S. for farmers and ranchers to improve their profitability and remove antibiotics from their productions. We see our product being a major player in the antibiotic-free beef and dairy industry with brands like McDonalds, Cargill, Wegmans, and Walmart.