Innovation Grows Here

CultivationCorridorBy Billi Hunt, Executive Director of the Cultivation Corridor

As tens of thousands of farmers and ag industry professionals gather to see the latest advancements in agriculture technology at the 2018 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, this week, it makes me think about what it takes for those technologies and innovations to go from concept to reality.

The start-up process is daunting, but the timing has never been better for entrepreneurs with big ideas to bring their visions to reality here in Iowa.  Iowa offers the resources and infrastructure to quickly elevate and grow start-ups, and our experienced business community stands ready to provide mentorships and partnerships.

Not only is Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor fertile ground for raising crops and livestock, it is fast becoming the most productive region for the ag-related start-ups that are helping drive the next generation of technologies. Why Iowa?

  • Proximity to cutting-edge crop farmers and livestock producers whose focus on continuous improvement provides opportunities for product testing in a real-world environment. Not only are Iowa farmers the nation’s top producers of corn, pork and eggs, they have invested $134 billion in one of the most advanced ag infrastructures in the nation.
  • Access to world-class researchers and scientists as well as students and interns at Iowa State University and other top-tier institutions and advanced skills training programs.
  • Established infrastructure of the leading companies in agriculture and bioscience provides unparalleled opportunities for collaboration, and a regional workforce of more than 76,000 employees in agriculture and related fields provide unmatched networking and resource support.

The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator brings together all of these Iowa strengths into a 100-day program that is yielding results in just its second year.  FarrPro, a member of the Accelerator’s Class of 2017, just completed its investment seed round.  I’m looking forward to demonstrations from the Class of 2018 at the Farm Progress Show this week and at the World Food Prize in October.

If your business launch plan comes through Iowa, your development and testing process needs to start here.  Let’s make it happen.

Billi Hunt is the Executive Director of the Cultivation Corridor, a position she took on in February 2018. She brings a broad range of skills to the corridor’s team with over 20 years of experience in the industry. An Iowa native, Hunt received her Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University and attended Drake University to receive her Master of Public Administration. She lives in Urbandale, Iowa with her family.