Innovative ideas come to life in Iowa
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Innovative ideas come to life in Iowa


Billi Hunt

America's Cultivation Corridor

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

“We need to be in Iowa.” 

We heard that phrase over and over again at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit and Animal AgTech Innovation Summit this month in San Francisco.  Innovators, founders, entrepreneurs and investors from around the world are recognizing that Iowa is the place to be for anyone looking to start or grow an agricultural business. 

We attended the summits along with Iowa Economic Development Authority, BioConnect Iowa, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Iowa State University Research Park and Ames Economic Development Commission to connect with founders and leaders about the resources and opportunities in Iowa.   

America’s Cultivation Corridor investor companies and companies with Iowa roots also took event stages. Sam Eathingon, chief technology officer at Corteva Agriscience, shared insights on embedding sustainability into the R&D strategy, and Maya Sripadam highlighted the latest in advancing real-time decision agriculture on behalf of John Deere. Panel discussions highlighted technology developed by Mazen Animal Health and Steve Brody, chief executive officer of BioConnect Iowa shared the latest on AI in animal health.  

We also celebrated National Ag Day in March.  A highlight in Iowa is the Ag Leaders Dinner hosted by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig as part of the state’s Iowa Ag Week celebration.   Hundreds of leaders representing the state’s diverse agricultural community come together to recognize outstanding organizations and inspiring individuals and share stories of the innovations that are making global agriculture more productive and sustainable for a growing population.  

Looking around the room at the Ag Leaders dinner is a good reminder that the famous “six degrees of separation” is actually too high for making connections in Iowa agriculture.  It often takes just one or two calls to make a connection to the researcher, farmer, funder or partner that can help a new business take the next step in bringing their innovation to reality. 

With some of the highest concentrations of agricultural engineers, animal scientists and plant and soil scientists in the country, access to one of the top research institutions -- Iowa State University --  and forward-thinking farmers, and a full slate of resources for new and growing businesses, Iowa provides a competitive advantage to businesses as they start and scale up.     

If, like so many others, you “need to be in Iowa,” please reach out.  We can help you with the connections to the industry, research and startup ecosystem contacts who can answer questions and provide resources about Iowa opportunities.  And, make plans to attend world class events like World Pork Expo, Farm Progress Show, World Food Prize and more. The world comes here, and so should you. 

Published March 2024. 

Corridor News