CO-CEO AND CO-FOUNDER
Kyle appears in the Top 100
U.S. Business Leaders Magazine
“Traditional American values.” It’s a phrase that invokes images of an earlier time; of hard-working families who were deeply rooted in the community. People who contributed to our growth and established a culture. Nowhere is this more evident than in the industry of agriculture. Most of us have dreamed of life on a farm, of working the earth, and the splendor of a field of crops ready for harvest. This is no mere reverie for Kyle Truesdell.
Kyle, like the generations before him, is a farmer. But don’t let the undertones of that word deceive you. He’s not plowing the lower forty or peddling grain to the local feed store. Kyle is in the business of farming, and like all successful businesspeople, he’s operating within the current market, utilizing all the technology and innovations available to address the demands and trends of the modern world.
Kyle is the founder and CEO of Agrarian Group, and co-founder of Agrarian Supply, Agrarian Research Solutions, F1 Genomics, and Agrarian Farms. Although each of these entities are autonomous, they work in unison to service the continually growing demands of clients in the genetics, farming, chemical, hemp, and cannabis sectors.
We spoke with Kyle to learn more about the ever-increasing needs of the modern agriculture space.
Kyle, can you tell our readers about the Agrarian enterprises and your role within them?
Agrarian Group was created to make high-level talent readily available as a service, providing otherwise unobtainable expertise in strategy development, business analysis, legal and compliance issues, HR, and growth management.
Agrarian Supply is essentially writing the playbook for the cultivation of crops with untold market demand—hemp and cannabis. Through technology and cultivation methodology based on decades of research, we enable the highest quality hemp and cannabis, at the largest possible yield, at the lowest price.
Agrarian Research Solutions was formed to service manufacturers. It provides third-party data collection and validation for federal and state registration requirements, technical marketing material, and grower adoption. Field trials through ARS allow for the testing of new pesticides, seed varieties, biologicals, and fertilizers at the highest standards, in a variety of locations and conditions. What differentiates ARS from the competition is the access to the largest cannabis and hemp grower network in the industry.
Agrarian Farms fills the needs of the market for well-trained and experienced commercial cannabis farming professionals. As the cultivation of cannabis has scaled at an unprecedented speed, the need for highly trained and skilled farm operators is, and will continue to be, a limiting factor in the industry’s overall success. Our team has responded with a solution to the overwhelming requests for this service.
Lastly, F1 Genomics, Inc., researches and develops genetics for the agricultural specialty crop market, with a focus on difficult but high-revenue crops. We target customers looking for novel characteristics that generally fall into the following categories: pest resistance or other traits that boost quality and yields; hardiness, drought resistance, and similar traits that increase the range in which a crop can be profitably cultivated; and chemical composition of crops that can affect nutritional qualities, flavor, and processing for value-added products or label claims.
My responsibility to these divisions is supervision of the overall systems and processes associated with operation and sales. I focus on building the company culture and strategic direction, along with all business development relationships. My goal is to work on the business and not in the business.
I imagine that with the growing demand for cannabis and hemp products, you’ve got your hands full. Can you touch on how it affects your business acumen?
Yes. We can’t keep up. Business is booming so we are hiring constantly. During COVID, when everybody else was laying people off, we were actually doubling our business and we hired nearly a dozen people. We are really proud that we were able to support the job market and the economy during one of the most difficult times in recent history. We’ve grown over 300% in the last 12 months and 2.5 times during COVID.
I’d like to go back to something you mentioned about Agrarian Research Solutions, regarding field trials. Is this a unique model?
What’s unique is that other R&D companies who perform similar types of trials are not connected and don’t have the access to cannabis and hemp; they simply don’t have the expertise. We service over 70% of the market in California—we’re the largest in the state—so we have the relationships and confidence with our client base and growers, and they allow us to run the field trials on their farms or in their greenhouses, etc.
Do your companies benefit the cannabis and hemp farmers?
These companies represent the initial links of the fragmented supply chain that both industries currently need. The industry and current players have all focused on the “sexy” components, such as extraction, branding, and retail. What has been lacking is the science-based and data-driven professionals who represent the front end of the supply chain, such as farmers, agronomists, plant nutritionists, and geneticists. These roles are the “hands-on” jobs that the industry has not focused on because, ultimately, it takes a highly educated and specialized person to do so. Our group of companies is centered on what the industry needs and not just what we are good at.
How long have you been in the field and what do you enjoy most about your work?
I have six years of experience in organic farming and fresh food processing as a sales manager for Earthbound Farm. I spent seven years in the positions of national specialty crop portfolio manager, retail branch manager, and pest control advisor for Wilbur-Ellis Company, LLC, and I have 14 years of agricultural sales, strategy, and management experience. As for what I enjoy most, hands down, it’s the people. I enjoy helping others build their knowledge base and realize their fullest potential. There’s nothing like working with somebody, coaching them, and getting them to bring the most value to their company or position, but also themselves.
Lastly, Kyle, can you tell us about your education?
I have a B.S. in agricultural business with a marketing concentration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, a California Pest Control Advisor License, a California Qualified Applicators License, and a National/International Certified Crop Advisor License. I’m also a U.S. Hemp Authority board member, a Texas Hemp Coalition executive board member, and a Sonoma County Farm Bureau member.
Kyle Truesdell, Co-CEO and Co-Founder
The Agrarian Group, LLC