Columbia, Missouri, to a grazing conference
and showed her prototype to ranchers.
The MBA graduate stood out among
“A kindly older gentleman with a big belt
asked me, ‘Ma’am, are you lost?’” she says.
“Whenever I go to ranching conferences,
I stick out.”
But her biggest challenge was learning
the nuances of agriculture: the various
types of farmers and their varied needs.
“There are a million farmers in the United
States, and they’re incredibly diverse,”
she says. Some are tech curious. Some just
want to save time. Some might never use
a tablet computer but are interested in
handing down a sustainable operation to
the next generation.
Their knowledge has helped her
continue to refine her product. Since those
wireframes, the company has overhauled
the platform three times based on
conversations with customers, refocusing
from graphs and charts to displaying more
visual interfaces, such as offline maps that
ranchers can carry with them into the field.
Finding investors also took a precise
focus. While more investors are becoming
interested in agriculture, she specifically
looks for those who understand agriculture
and food systems on a deeper level.
“Whenever I meet an investor who has
some agriculture and soil health expertise,
I’m much more interested in talking to
them. Otherwise we spend a lot of time
doing education.” What’s trendy in Silicon
Valley often has little relevance to the
Salinas Valley, she says. “VCs are often very
interested in the tech part of agtech.
I would encourage VCs in agtech to get more
interested in ag.”
As it grows, PastureMap is focusing more
on helping ranchers make money off their
regenerative practices. “We are working
with ranching cooperatives and beef
brands now to help them monetize some
of the data, not just for them getting more
efficient on their own land base, but also
being able to communicate that to the
customer,” Su says. For consumers, it could
mean new labels indicating which cuts
of beef were raised using environmentally
friendly practices. The company is also
building an online map for consumers
to find regenerative, climate-friendly
ranchers — and for those ranchers to find
“What we’re learning is that you
can optimize everything on land, but
if we don’t help individual ranchers
make more money marketing that beef,
then they’re up against some pretty big
industry barriers on commodity pricing.
The regenerative beef sector is still small
compared with commodity beef, but it’s
the brightest light in beef right now and
growing 25 to 30% every year. We are
empowering these ranchers to find each
other and build the future of the industry
Christine Su earned her MBA from
Stanford GSB in 2015.
OPTIMIZED GRAZING “I can’t bale hay as well as a farmer,” says PastureMap cofounder Christine Su. “But I do know metrics.”