Bear Flag Robotics was founded in 2017 with the goal of bringing more productive and efficient farming operations to the next generation of growers – across the US and beyond.
We are pleased to announce that we have taken another step toward achieving the highest version of this goal. We have been acquired by John Deere for $250 million.
John Deere brings more than 180 years of expertise to our operation. We look forward to marrying this expertise with that of the Bear Flag team, and working in tandem to further drive productivity and profitability for farmers everywhere.
In this blog, we wanted to unpack this acquisition news a little, and look ahead to the future of our partnership with John Deere.
Scaling as Partners
Since its inception, Bear Flag Robotics has been committed to developing the most advanced autonomous tractors possible, in order to drive more productive and efficient farming operations. Our goal has always been to develop the most sophisticated autonomous tractors in the world, to empower farmers to meet the challenges of modern agriculture.
In 2019, Bear Flag participated in John Deere’s Startup Collaborator program.
The Startup Collaborate program enables John Deere to deepen its connection with startup companies whose technology has the potential to add value for their customers. During the program, the Bear Flag team held meetings with the John Deere tillage team, in which we explored how tillage passes could be improved in the field with the help of autonomous tractors. These were highly productive conversations, which helped to advance a number of technical discussions already underway with our team.
Since the completion of the program, we have successfully deployed autonomous tractors solutions at multiple farms across the United States. These deployments have been highly successful, and helped farmers to optimize their operations while adding minimal cost.
Our experience with the John Deere Startup Collaborator program marked the start of a relationship that has culminated in this acquisition.
Combatting Labor Shortages
Despite popular misconceptions, farms do not have access to an easy supply of skilled labor. Many modern farmers face a serious challenge sourcing labor to execute time-sensitive tasks that impact operations. In the coming years, this labor shortage is likely to get worse, not better.
Our autonomous tractors provide a solution to the challenge of labor shortages. We enable farms to execute all of the work they need, regardless of the success of their recruitment effort. We ensure that farms everywhere can increase food production. In this, we are perfectly aligned with John Deere’s vision for the future of farming. As Dan Leibfried, Director of Automation & Autonomy at Deere & Company, put it:
“Deere and Bear Flag are highly complementary from both a technology and mission perspective. We look forward to working even closer together with the ultimate goal of helping farmers achieve the best possible outcomes through advanced technology like autonomy.”
The acquisition also accelerates John Deere’s long-term strategy of remaining a major player within autonomous equipment manufacturing. We are excited to be part of this dynamic, expanding market. As, Jahmy Hindman, Chief Technology Officer at John Deere, said:
“Deere views autonomy as an important step forward in enabling farmers to leverage their resources strategically to feed the world and create more sustainable and profitable operations. Bear Flag’s team of talented agriculture professionals, engineers and technologists have a proven ability to deliver advanced technology solutions to market. Joining that expertise and experience with Deere’s expertise in autonomy, along with our world-class dealer channel, will accelerate the delivery of solutions to farmers that address the immense challenge of feeding a growing world.”
Our agriculture professionals, engineers, and technologists focused on autonomy, sensor fusion, vision, data, software, and hardware will remain in Silicon Valley, where we will collaborate closely with Deere to accelerate innovation and autonomy for customers worldwide.
August 17, 2021
Productive and efficient farming operations for the next generation of growers.