Telus’ farm and food sector acquisitions take new shape

Canadian telco giant launches new Telus Agriculture unit

(Photo: Reuters/Chris Wattie)

Canadian telco and info tech giant Telus has consolidated its recent — and ongoing — acquisitions in farm tech, ag data management and supply chain management into a single new business unit.

The Vancouver company, one of Canada’s “big five” telecommunications firms, on Thursday formally launched Telus Agriculture, billed as “a new business unit dedicated to providing innovative solutions to support the agriculture industry with connected technology.”

“From farm to fork, by digitizing the entire value chain and linking these technologies together for the first time, we will facilitate a secure exchange of information to allow farmers and ranchers, agribusiness organizations, the agrifood industry and the consumer to make smarter decisions,” Telus CEO Darren Entwistle said in a release.

The new unit is set up to serve three distinct markets, Telus Agriculture Canada CEO Chris Terris said in an interview, referring to production agriculture; agribusiness; and quality assurance and traceability in food and consumer packaged goods (CPGs).

Telus, whose acquisitions in ag tech and farm management consulting so far include Irricana, Alta.-based agronomy and farm management firm Decisive Farming and Vancouver software developer Farm At Hand, among others, also expanded that roster again Thursday.

The company said Thursday it has closed deals for Florida-based AFS Technologies — “a global leader in sales and distribution solutions to the consumer goods market” — and Agrian, a California company with a “unified management platform for precision, agronomy, sustainability, analytics and compliance.”

It also announced Thursday it has a deal in place, pending certain conditions, to take up another Canadian company, Okotoks, Alta.-based Feedlot Health Management Solutions, billed as “North America’s premier feedlot consulting service.”

“Over the course of the last year, Telus has completed several key acquisitions, assembling a suite of assets that is unmatched in the agriculture industry,” the company said in a release.

“Together under Telus Agriculture, our team now has the expertise, experience, and relationships to connect every participant in the agriculture value chain, from seed manufacturers and farmers through to grocery stores and restaurants.”

Terris characterized the acquisitions to date as a “quilt,” in the sense that the whole is expected to be of greater use than the sum of its parts, better connecting farmers and livestock producers to the food side of the equation.

Outside Canada, the new unit’s acquisitions so far also include:

  • TKXS, a North Carolina-based firm offering “specialized software, program management and data solutions deliver(ing) critical information to agribusinesses;”
  • U.K. software firm Muddy Boots, whose products link “production and food quality data to create a smoother flow of information to help improve decision making and production;”
  • Hummingbird, a U.K. company, offering “advanced imagery analytics;” and
  • AGIntegrated, a Pennsylvania company which bills itself as “the integration leader in the precision agriculture industry,” using APIs (application programming interfaces) to simplify data flow between platforms.

In all, Telus Agriculture said, the unit now supports over 100 million acres of farmland and employs over 1,200 people across Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Mexico, China, Brazil, Germany, Slovakia and Armenia. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Editor, Daily News

Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.



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