S1E8: 008 Virginia Emery - Frass Happens: Dissecting Insect Farming


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Virginia Emery is an entrepreneur with a passion for insects and the founder and CEO of Beta Hatch, a company that grows insects as sustainable protein for animal feed. Virginia’s current mission is the save the world by breeding a bug that tastes like bacon. Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he and Virginia discuss the fascinating world of insect farming, its impact on the vertical farming industry and the importance of promoting diversity in this ever-growing market.

Special thanks to our Season 1 Sponsor

IGS – https://intelligentgrowthsolutions.com/

Key Takeaways

00:01 – Virginia expounds on her background as an Insect Entrepreneur, speaks to the many ‘bug banquets’ she’s attended and shares her passion for changing the world

06:12 – Virginia speaks to how she educated herself about the indoor agriculture industry, the work she does with Beta Hatch and surprises she learned along the way

13:37 – Other vertical farming business models that inspired Virginia during the early stages of Beta Hatch

16:16 – Virginia breaks down the supply chain aspect of Beta Hatch and the impact of robotics technology on this industry

24:55 – How Virginia has grown and evolved as a business owner and entrepreneur

30:16 – Virginia shares her thoughts on opportunities for women and minorities in the AgTech industry and can be done to promote diversity

40:43 – The decision to seek out funding through a third party investor and a hard question Virginia has had to ask herself and answer recently

47:34 – Harry thanks Virginia for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can follow and connect with Virginia and Beta Hatch


“If you can identify what your passion is and you can use that to fuel your career, that means that work is not ‘work’ in a sense of something you’re not enjoying or something that’s burdensome but rather something that you feel passionate about.” (05:50)

“The U.S. is a net exported of feed – because we produce a lot of soy – but we’re a net importer of aqua culture, seafood and aqua feed products. So, there’s some interesting geographical components to the food system that, again, most people are not realizing when they go to the grocery store and get their food.” (13:09)

“Frass is your word of the day. Frass is insect manure, so bug poop. We have a saying at Beta Hatch that ‘Frass Happens.’” (17:18)

“As an entrepreneur that’s one of the most exciting things I think about having a business is there’s always something new to learn. And that’s something that we really value at our company is we really work to hire lifelong learners.” (26:03)

“I’ve always tried to pursue my interests with a real drive, and I think that naturally being an entrepreneur fits really well with that.” (30:07)

“I think it’s the responsibility of anyone who’s working in an organization that’s not very diverse to really think about why that is.” (33:09)

“What I’ve come to realize is that investors and the people that are helping to scale this industry, they invest in people. So I think that it’s important that you are authentic with people and that you’re really using that to motivate and drive what you do.” (46:22)

Links Mentioned:

Virginia’s LinkedIn

Beta Hatch Website

Intelligent Growth Solutions

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