Five finalists have been selected for the inaugural Ag Technology Company of the Year Award, presented by Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor. This new award category at the 2016 Prometheus Awards will recognize one company that demonstrates industry leadership in the development and deployment of technology that contributes to more efficient and sustainable agriculture. Candidates for this award must demonstrate leadership in the area of hardware/software agricultural technologies and applications, and offer an innovative portfolio of products or services which results in significant market advantage for customers and/or partners.
The finalists for the Ag Technology Company of the Year include:
AgriSync (Dallas Center, Iowa) – Des Moines-based startup AgriSync recently acquired $450,000 in seed funding to continue to develop and market its two-way video app that allows agriculture advisors and experts to give visual remote support to farmers in their fields.
The new AgriSync application, similar to FaceTime and Skype, allows farmers to access real-time, video advice right from their mobile devices. Using standard smartphone capabilities, AgriSync allows trusted advisors – such as agronomists, service technicians and precision agricultural specialists – to see what their farmer customer sees in a real-time video support session. Common farm issues that lend themselves to the AgriSync solution include: precision technology troubleshooting, evaluating crop health and equipment setup.
The company, founded by Casey Nieman, began working on a prototype in early 2014 and spent most of 2015 getting feedback from farmers, releasing the app in December 2015. The app and service are free for farmers, and a subscription is available for advisors, including agronomists, equipment dealers and precision ag tech providers. AgriSync is available for both farmers and advisors at the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
DuPont Pioneer (Johnston, Iowa) – Founded in 1926 by Iowan and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Vice President Henry A. Wallace, DuPont Pioneer is the country’s largest producer of hybrid crop seeds. The company’s headquarters in Johnston serves as the largest DuPont research center dedicated to advanced crop genetics. Approximately 1,000 researchers at this site are dedicated to improving agriculture productivity through seeds with better herbicide tolerance, disease and insect protection, improved agronomic performance, and increased end-use value. Researchers are combining traditional and new technologies to change the way seed is being produced. Technology is utilized to deliver improved crop genetics to help meet the needs of a growing population whose demand for food, feed, fuel, and materials continues to increase.
In the summer of 2013 DuPont Pioneer opened the Johnston Innovation Center, making it one of just two Innovation Centers in the United States and 12 internationally. The Johnston Innovation Center provides resources for 10,000 scientists around the world who use the high-tech facility as a starting point to connect with each other and the thousands more farmers, industry and government officials, and academic organizations based within the Cultivation Corridor and beyond. As the only Innovation Center to focus specifically on agriculture and nutrition, the facility is DuPont Pioneer’s primary resource for enabling and showcasing the company’s numerous breakthroughs and has jump-started hundreds of projects focusing on biofuels, plant genomics, and increasing crop yield and end-use value.
GlobalVetLINK (Ames, Iowa) – GlobalVetLINK was founded in 1999 by Kevin Maher who had a vision to replace an outdated paper-based animal health regulatory process with an official digital health regulatory software system that would be accessible real-time via the Internet. GlobalVetLINK is now the nation’s leader in digital animal health records, providing intuitive online certification solutions that enable animal health practitioners to quickly and accurately create professional health records. Their services embrace both companion and food animal health practitioners and allow animal owners and producers to manage their records at any time and from anywhere with Internet access.
The GVL system uniquely connects veterinarians, animal owners, animal diagnostic laboratories, industry partners, and government officials and allows them to manage their records at any time and from anywhere with Internet access. Today, all 50 states and 3 U.S. territories accept GVL certificates as official animal documentation with over 173 million animals transported within the U.S. using GVL’s digital certificates.
John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group (Urbandale, Iowa) – The John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group is the company’s premier development facility specializing in creating technology used in maximizing crop yields and bettering food production infrastructure. By employing a mix of over 800 software developers, systems engineers, product testers, marketers and customer support personnel, John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group has invested in technology and ingenuity to create a range of advanced products such as crop management tools, logistics systems and special hardware used in ultra-accurate GPS-driven tractors. This design-oriented and customer-forward development process has paid off: since deploying the model in 2010, John Deere has seen great improvements in production efficiency and field resolution times as well as a significant decrease in warranty expenses, making John Deere exemplary of the innovation and competitive resilience displayed by advanced manufacturing companies in the Cultivation Corridor.
SwineTech (New Sharon, Iowa) – SwineTech, founded in 2015 by Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza, is a biotech company focused on creating products that reduce piglet deaths and increase overall herd health. SwineTech is dedicated to the production of swine farrowing monitoring systems to protect piglets’ lives and improve production. Last year in the United States, over 13 million piglets died due to being laid on by sows, costing the United States pork industry over $689 million.
SwineTech’s technology includes features that analyze the temperature of where the piglets are lying and adjusts it to optimize their health. The technology can also analyze a piglet’s squeals, accurately identifying when a piglet is getting crushed by assessing the wavelengths and frequencies of each and every squeal. When the piglet’s cries are heard, it is communicated to a device on the hips of the sow, initiating a gentle impulse, alerting her to stand up. Another feature alerts the farmer when an abnormal event is occurring, sending real-time alerts via email and phone apps.
The annual Prometheus Awards is considered to be the most prestigious recognition for Iowa’s tech industry. Winners will be announced at a ceremony held Thursday, April 14 from 5 – 8:30 p.m. at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines. Nearly a thousand leaders from business, education, and government are expected to attend.