Mark Johnson. Photo: GrainBridge

In 2011, Mark Johnson sold his startup Zite to CNN for $20 million (it was later acquired by Flipboard). Three years later, he moved to New Mexico, where he ran Descartes Labs, which makes sense of satellite imagery. In May, Johnson made another big move — relocating to Omaha to run GrainBridge, an agriculture tech company that is a joint venture between Cargill and ADM.

Why it matters: Tech is seen as vitally important for the global agriculture industry, which faces the stresses of climate change and predictions of a significant increase in food demand with roughly the same amount of land devoted to farming.

How it works: GrainBridge's software helps farmers figure out the best time to sell their crops. With crop prices in constant flux, farmers' timing of their sales is critical to their bottom lines.

What they're saying: Johnson said he became fascinated by agriculture during his time at Descartes Labs.

  • "We did a lot of work on understanding sustainability from space, looking at global crop productions, trying to understand demand factors, and understanding global shipping," Johnson told Axios. "If we're going to both feed a growing population and do so more sustainably over the next few decades, technology is key."

The big picture: Johnson notes that while many U.S. farms are multimillion-dollar businesses, few have the sophisticated software tools they need. And, he said, that challenge is compounded by a trade war with China and supply chain disruptions brought on by COVID-19.

As for Omaha, Johnson said he continues to believe there are lots of places outside of Silicon Valley that are filled with talent.

Go deeper: John Deere quietly opens tech office in San Francisco

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Oct 13, 2020 - Podcasts

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the COVID-19 vaccine race

Johnson & Johnson has paused Phase 3 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, after one patient reported an “unexplained illness.” This comes after AstraZeneca paused its Phase 3 trials due to an adverse event, and Moderna slowed its trial because of enrollment difficulties.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper with Tom Frieden, who led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2009 and 2017.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.