The Context Network: Helping Clients Seize Opportunities in AgTech

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There has never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture. As an innovator working to put industry-changing technologies into the hands of growers all over the world, or as the grower him/her-self, who is charged with adopting new AgTech tools to help feed, clothe, and fuel the rapidly expanding global population.

The resulting surge of innovation in the AgTech space demands the best out of any organization looking to seize this historic opportunity: how to grow—internally as an organization, and in the marketplace through acquisition—how to go to market, and how to exceed customer expectations. This is where The Context Network comes in, a West Des Moines, Iowa-based consultancy with the deepest bench in agriculture committed to helping their clients succeed.



“At Context, we bring to our clients the expertise of seasoned leaders in the agriculture industry, who provide the insight they’ve earned from years in the trenches,” says Mike Borel, principal at The Context Network. “We also leverage the insight of current leaders in the industry who provide up-to-the-minute expertise in this fast-changing business environment.”

This unique formula of best-in-class expertise alongside current market insight has fueled Context’s exponential growth as a leading agriculture business consultancy. Initially introduced as a sole proprietorship in 1992, Context transitioned to a multi-partnership model in January 2006, with four principal partners joining the management team. Today, a diverse team of partners drive Context, representing several agricultural sectors, including technology and innovation, crop protection, biotechnology, international agribusiness and development, animal health, sustainability, and many other areas of expertise.

“Just as the agriculture industry has undergone a steep change in technology since the 1990s and early 2000s, with the introduction of the first biotech crops and GPS tractors, so has Context,” states Doug Griffin, principal, The Context Network. “Our success in helping AgTech firms seize the opportunities and drive adoption in this space is reflected in our growth right alongside the AgTech industry.”

Context delivers specialized consulting support to enterprises through three core services, focused on strategy, market insights, and management consulting. Through strategy consulting, the Context team guides businesses through the process of building out their long-term plans focused on company goals and objectives, leveraging competitive advantages, and fulfilling (and exceeding) customer needs.


Context offers a combination of extensive experience and a strong consulting process capability to help clients develop and implement business strategies to obtain valuable outcomes


Context helps organizations formulate effective go-to-market strategies to expand into new regions of the world, including launching new product portfolios, and exploring alternative distribution channels. Context also offers insights based on original market research—leveraging current leaders in the relevant sector—along with syndicated multi-client studies. Another of Context’s strengths is assisting C-suite executives in focusing on internal improvements to ensure effective execution of strategies.

Context has done a significant amount of work helping companies capitalize on the opportunities focused on some of the most exciting and central technologies fueling the AgTech surge. This work includes not only successfully coaching clients through strategic acquisitions, but also developing new market-entry strategies for decision-support software for farmers, driverless tractors, advanced IoT sensors, continuously evaluating soil and weather conditions, and more.

Every organization on Context’s clientele is different, with unique challenges and opportunities. That is why Context’s approach is just as unique, building client engagements by first articulating client goals and objectives in a formal proposal. “Context raises questions in each phase of drafting the proposal, which helps in setting a clear objective so that everyone—the client and Context—is aware of the objective of the venture and the methodology we plan to employ,” adds Ben Smith, a senior consultant at Context.

Similar to the AgTech industry, Context’s global footprint continues to expand. For several years now, more than half of its annual revenue has come from collaborations on projects outside of North America. A new office in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is scheduled to open soon. Moreover, the company is poised for additional growth in such areas as Europe and Africa.

Just like for the AgTech industry, the sky is literally the limit for Context. “Growers all over the planet stand ready to continue to adopt some of the most awe-inspiring and impactful technologies known to mankind, and there are companies out there who are making the most of this time,” says Griffin. “We believe if we keep doing what we’re doing –helping innovators succeed at this historic era of opportunity—we will keep growing with them towards a limitless future.”

Company
The Context Network

Headquarters
West Des Moines, IA

Management
Mike Borel, Principal, Doug Griffin, Principal, Mark Nelson, Principal, Tray Thomas, Principal and James Mann, Principal

Description
A partner for advancing agriculture, Context delivers management and consulting services to organizations around the world in the Food and Agriculture Industry, including AgTech

The Context Network