Restoring Rural America
WASHINGTON—Today, Subcommittee Chairman Rod Blum (R-IA) and the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade heard from a panel of witnesses who are driving agricultural entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Agricultural innovations and technologies (agritech) have the ability to increase farm productivity, reduce resource use, and boost profits,” said Subcommittee Chairman Rod Blum. “Agritech entrepreneurship activity is also spurring rural revitalization with agritech initiatives in America’s Heartland and other regions, attracting talent, dollars, and jobs to those communities.”
How Agritech is Revitalizing the Heartland
Agritech investment is driving rural revitalization with various initiatives using entrepreneurship to bring jobs and dollars into local economies and communities.
“The adoption of agritech will result in a more productive and sustainable agriculture. The process of farm to fork will be more automated, connected, sensed, and traced. The ability to do and create new products, services and experiences will create opportunities that can work anywhere, including rural areas,” said Kevin Kimle, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics and Director of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.
“[Agritech] is driven by the need to feed a growing population, changing food consumption patterns, increased pressure on natural resources, and the dramatic reduction of the cost of enabling technologies such as genomic sequencing and big data,” stated Pete Nelson, President of AgLaunch in Memphis, TN. “We believe in the role of a farmer as a partner in innovation, not just a first customer and this philosophy will change the current agricultural investment thesis. This will create more successful startups and bring forward solutions that more efficiently address real-world agricultural problems.”
“Federal and state research institutes use a variety of means to collaborate with the private sector as does the Danforth Plant Science Center,” said Sam Fiorello, Chief Operating Officer at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and President of BRDG Park in St. Louis, MO. “In the last 20 years, we have established networks of individuals and organizations that help strengthen the ecosystem; inventors, investors, business development experts, key industry players who become acquirers of technologies and/or companies, thought leaders, and more.”
One thing is certain: as the population of the United States continues to grow, the need for sustainable agriculture based off of advances in agritech will also continue to rise.