Ag Innovation Showcase Blog

What’s on their minds?

By July 6, 2018 Ag Issues, Updates

Members of the Ag Innovation Showcase Advisory Committee share developments in their companies, and some thoughts on the landscape around food and ag. One in a series.

Bill Aimutis will retire from Cargill at the end of July to assume the position of director of a newly formed center housed in the Kannapolis campus of the University of North Carolina’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  The Center will serve as a one-of-a-kind enterprise to attract early-stage food companies to North Carolina.  It will provide good manufacturing practices (GMP) services for lab testing of early-stage food products, enabling them to assess hazards and establish control systems from early in the conceptualization and validation process.

Sam Fiorello of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announced a new resource for crop innovations at the Center made possible by a generous donation. 30 farms have opened up 120 acres for beta testing and field tracking that will innovators to go beyond the lab and greenhouse.

Sam is proud of the 2018 Ag Innovation Showcase’s emphasis on providing opportunities for the input side of the food value chain to interact with the food brands and consumer side.

Rob Leclerc of Ag Funder, shared with us that they are investing at a “blistering pace”.  For the moment they are looking at markets outside the US where the competition is less intense.  They are finding opportunities in markets in Australia, South Africa, and Brazil, and they are looking mid-stream in the food value system.

Pat Morand and the investment team at Open Prairie investment team are focusing on innovations to bring broadband communication to rural areas to enable the IoT revolution on the farm and impact economic development in rural areas. Open Prairie received one of the first licenses from USDA to operate a Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC).

Open Prairie raised a fund of over $55 million, from lending institutions in the Farm Credit System, family offices, farm organizations and individuals committed to rural development. America.

Bob Morris of AndMore Associates, LLC highlighted a big emphasis on plant nutrition across the food value chain, noting changes in R&D as well as retail structures within the universities and the input industry.  Bob is excited about his own efforts to engage the fertilizer industry with the Ag Innovation Showcase community this year.  He sees significant opportunities for productivity gains from new collaborations across the food value system, going beyond “spray and pray”.

David Russell of Lewis and Clark shared that they are seeing good opportunities to increase farm productivity through digital and “traditional” innovations as well as improving supply chain post farm gate.

Nancy Shawver (communications and PR lead), sitting in for TechAccel’s Michael Helmstetter, announced TechAccel’s investment grant to a UC Davis gene editing technology led by Anne Britt of UC Davis through the Davis Venture Catalyst Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIR™) Grant program at The University of California.  In general, TechAccel is focusing considerable attention on post-harvest technologies across the food value system to reduce waste and improve shelf-life with a goal of meeting consumer demand and increasing the sustainability of the food system.





Ag Innovation Showcase 2018 Lineup of Speakers will Address Issues and Trends Across the Food Value System from “Farm to Plate”

By July 3, 2018 Speakers

Ag Innovation Showcase 2018 Lineup of Speakers will Address Issues and Trends across the Food Value System from Farm to Plate
This year’s theme of Farm to Plate aims to foster connections among those focused on food and agriculture innovations across the food value system. Speaker highlights include:

  • Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairman & Chief Scientific Officer of Global Research & Development, PepsiCo, speaking on The Modern Consumer’s Reverse Commute Across the Value Chain.
  • Mark Thompson, Vice President, Business Development at Nutrien in conversation about plant nutrition across the value chain and innovation in the fertilizer industry with Stefan Fürnsinn, Senior Vice President Digital Farming at Yara as moderated by Charlotte Hebebrand, Director General International Fertilizer Association.
  • Jill Kolling, Global Sustainability Leader, Cargill speaking on Transparency. Traceability. Transformation.
  • Neal Gutterson, CTO at Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, speaking on Toward a more sustainable agriculture: delivering solutions for farmers.
  • Rakesh Kapur, Joint Managing Director of the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited in conversation with Zhao Jidong of Kingenta and a representative of the OCP Group about the big inputs markets of India, China, and Africa as moderated by Bob Morris.
  • Six successful alumni companies (Agronomic Technology Corp, Growcentia, New Leaf Symbiotics, TerViva, Vestaron, and ZeaKal) will discuss lessons they have learned along their commercial journeys and reflect on what the next decade is likely to bring in innovation from Farm to Plate.
  • Two farmers with government and not-for-profit experience will provide personal Views from the Farm: Chris Chinn, the current Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture and Rebecca Doyle, a former resource Director for the World Food Programme (the leading humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide).
  • Matt Crisp, CEO of Benson Hill and Sanjeev Krishnan, Managing Partner of S2G Ventures will lead a discussion on 3 aspects of the food value system: transparency enabled by block chain technologies, high-value foods to meet consumer demand, and future protein.

For further information about this year’s Ag Innovation Showcase, visit.
To register to attend this year’s Ag Innovation Showcase.

Dupont Pioneer’s Open Innovation Platform Challenge on “Nitrogen Sensing in Plants” to Close Soon

By June 25, 2018 Uncategorized


DuPont Pioneer, one of our top sponsors at the 2018 Ag Innovation Showcase, and a long-standing supporter of the event, offers challenges on their Open Innovation Platform (which they unveiled at the 2017 Ag Showcase).  Currently, they are asking for submissions for one that is about to close: Nitrogen Sensing in Plants,  focused on ideas for “non-destructive sensing of nitrogen in plants to improve precision and sustainability of fertilizer application in fields.”  This is aligned with an important subject for discussion at the 2018 Ag Innovation Showcase, which has attracted high-level attention from the fast-changing fertilizer industry. Read More

Crops and Farm Economics: Trends in the Indoor Agriculture Industry

By May 6, 2018 Ag Issues, Updates

indoor ag image

The benefits of flavour and freshness to consumers along with benefits to the environment of both low water use/unit of crop yield and with zero runoff of inputs for indoor-grown crops have been much touted.  Now the industry is beginning to mature with an increase in the profitability of established indoor farms.  Stakeholders in the indoor agriculture industry, 550 people from more than 300 organizations, gathered for the Indoor Ag.con conference, May 2-3, to explore trends and share solutions to commercial barriers in this rapidly growing sector of agriculture.   Read More

Celebrating the 10th Ag Innovation Showcase

By April 12, 2018 Recommendations, Speakers, Updates

 3imageNoText-2Innovations are disrupting the food supply chain beginning with farm inputs and continuing through to consumers to create a sustainable food system that will produce nutrition to feed the planet.   The 10th year event, September 10-12 in St Louis, will curate discussions looking forward to emerging industry trends, present high-impact agrifood innovations from around the world celebrating alumni from previous years and introducing new companies.

This year’s speakers will include:

  • Jill Kolling, Global Sustainability Leader at Cargill
  • Neal Gutterson, CTO at Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDupont
  • Chris Chinn, Director Missouri Department of Ag.
  • Leaders from the fertilizer and soil heath industry.

Ag Innovation Showcase is widely acclaimed as the “go to event” for agrifood innovation. Read More