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GOVERNOR’S RECEPTION AT BORLAUG DIALOGUE HIGHLIGHTED IOWA’S LEADING ROLE IN FOOD AND AG INNOVATION; MEGA SEED PARK ANNOUNCEMENT
DES MOINES, IOWA (October 18, 2017) – The Cultivation Corridor partnered with the Ames Chamber of Commerce, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa State University to host the Governor’s Reception, an official World Food Prize side event, during the 2017 Borlaug Dialogue international symposium.
The reception featured speeches from Iowa State University’s Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Wendy Wintersteen, and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and highlighted three innovative Iowa-based agricultural startups. The speakers touted Iowa’s role in global food and agriculture innovation and addressed challenges and opportunities for the agricultural system.
“I know that together, Iowa State University and the private sector will meet these challenges and opportunities through science, innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development,” Wintersteen said. “The Cultivation Corridor is a great example of how we are already succeeding—how we are moving results of innovative science in to business and industry applications.”
Governor Reynolds spoke of the value agricultural entrepreneurs provide for people, communities, and Iowa as well as for the rest of the world by pursuing opportunities that make agriculture more productive, innovative, and resourceful. Reynolds said she demonstrated advocacy of agricultural entrepreneurs by signing a proclamation marking the week of September 24-30, 2017 as Agricultural Entrepreneurship Week in appreciation and acknowledgement of the impact agricultural entrepreneurs have on the agricultural system.
A special announcement was made by Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, that his State has laid the foundation for the establishment of a Seed Research and Technology Business Center and Mega Seed Park in the Kurnool district. Naidu stated the project is part of a public-private partnership between Iowa State University, the Andhra Pradesh state government, Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University and other state agencies to “achieve and ensure continued seed security” through science-led innovations, policies and public-private partnerships.
Wintersteen thanked Chief Minister Naidu for inviting Iowa State University to be represented at the October 9th Foundation Stone ceremony. She noted the event drew a crowd of more than 20,000 farmers.
“We certainly appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with you in your vision of improving the availability, accessibility and affordability of quality seed to farmers,” Wintersteen said.
The reception was capped off by presentations from representatives from the Ag Startup Engine, the ISU Startup Factory and Iowa AgriTech Accelerator programs. The programs make up the Cultivation Corridor’s “Ag Startup Ecosystem,” a synthesized startup support network designed to help build companies to solve global agricultural and food issues.
Representing the Ag Startup Engine Program was the founder and CEO of Smart Ag Colin Hurd. Hurd said his company’s technology empowers farmers to leave the cab and complete operations faster with less labor and smart equipment.
“Smart Ag’s goal is to give farmers the technology to farm smarter and eliminate the choice between what is best for their farm and constraints like available labor, brands of equipment or data compatibility,” said Hurd. “Our first product AutoCart™ can be used with an operator in the grain cart tractor or autonomously and is compatible with any brand or combination of brands of equipment. Using a simple tablet-based interface in the cab of the combine, customers establish unloading and staging areas in the field and can call the grain cart or send it to different areas with a push of the button while having full control and visibility at all times.”
Hurd credited the Ag Startup Engine Program for helping him receive the mentorship and support his company needed to get off the ground. Hurd said his goal is to use his company’s technology to disrupt the farming industry on a global level and feed the world smarter.
Nebullam co-founder and CEO Clayton Mooney, and co-founder Danen Pool represented the ISU Startup Factory program. Nebullam is currently part of the ISU Startup Factory’s 2nd cohort which will graduate in December.
Mooney explained his company’s innovative technology.
“Nebullam is excited to play its part in a more sustainable future for farming. By combining the world’s most advanced growing technology, High Pressure Aeroponics, with artificial intelligence, we have developed a proprietary solution to help feed the world,” Mooney said. “Our technology reduces water usage by 95% when compared with field-farmed crops, and over 40% when compared with hydroponics, while automating each process between germination and harvest.”
The company founders said their technology could be used just about anywhere—even outer space.
“Our system happens to be applicable elsewhere, too; such as zero gravity conditions,” Mooney said.
FarrPro CEO Amos Petersen and Vice President of Sales Chris Hanson presented on their company’s modern approach to creating efficient and effective piglet heating solutions. Peterson said the pork industry’s current method of supplementing a piglet’s heat, using a lightbulb, is inefficient, ineffective and dangerous. In contrast, his company’s first product, the Haven, creates a microclimate “brood heater” for piglets that is 80 percent more efficient, reduces piglet mortality rate by 40 percent and is safe.
“FarrPro is changing the way the world grows pork,” Peterson said. “We’re making the best piglet heating solutions we can, with the hope that small communities and consumers around the world truly benefit.”
FarrPro is a member of the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator’s inaugural cohort and one of four companies to present at the Accelerator’s Demonstration Day — a showcase of the program’s Class of 2017 startups and successes from the 100-day incubator, which was also held as part of Borlaug Dialogue events.
The reception closed with a sneak peek viewing of a video trailer for an upcoming “Seed” documentary to be released by Iowa State University’s Seed Science Center spring 2018.
About the Cultivation Corridor
Focused on further developing and marketing the world-renowned bioeconomy in Central Iowa, Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor is building on a rich history of innovation to accelerate value-added agriculture business development by attracting companies, talent and capital from across the globe to the state. Representing a diverse public-private coalition of stakeholders including the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Ames Chamber of Commerce, Iowa State University, non-profits and private sector companies from across the region and state, the Cultivation Corridor is one of the nation’s foremost cluster-based economic development organizations. For more information, visit CultivationCorridor.org.