Collaboration drives innovation. Billi Hunt Leadership Insights
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Collaboration drives innovation in agriculture, communities

Leadership insights from Billi Hunt, Executive Director of America’s Cultivation Corridor 

There’s no doubt fall is in the air in America’s Cultivation Corridor.  School is underway, pumpkin patches, apple orchards and fall festivals are hosting families across the state and corn and soybean harvest is just around the corner.   

There is no better time to reflect on the role of agriculture driving our state’s economy, community and future.  We know that Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of pork, corn, eggs, ethanol and biodiesel.  Agriculture also drives key industries in the state, including advanced manufacturing, food processing, bioscience and is the foundation of communities large and small.   

The most exciting part is the collaborations and partnerships that come together to drive continued investments and productivity gains in Iowa’s agricultural economy.  As agricultural leaders, we understand the need to work together to make things happen.  

In Ames, we celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Iowa State University KENT Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex.  The one-of-a-kind facility was possible thanks to 35 partners, funders and collaborators.  Thirty-five.  That’s nearly three dozen groups who recognize the role that the facility will play in training the next generation of feed and grain science industry leaders, who will deliver new innovations to our state’s farmers and communities.   

At the ISU Research Park, a groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of construction on a new 85,000 square-foot lab to house the cutting-edge research and development work done by Iowa State’s Digital Ag Innovation Lab and other agriculture-based tenants. The Digital Ag Innovation Lab is responsible for 50% of industry research done at the university, holding more than 70 patents and tech transfer outcomes and has developed 32 products that have been sold around the world.    

The Algae Biomass Organization also announced this month plans to relocate its global headquarters from Minnesota to Des Moines.  As the algae and seaweed industries diversify into markets like biomanufacturing, energy, agriculture, water treatment and more, Iowa is the perfect location to help the industry grow and elevate new ideas.  

These are just a few examples of the work across the Corridor that brings private and public partners together to move new ideas forward and open the doors for innovations that will make agriculture more productive and sustainable.  What collaborations are happening in your communities and industry sectors that will drive agriculture forward?   

Published September 2023. 

Corridor News