Memphis Bioworks has been leading the Mid-South effort towards commercializing agricultural innovations since 2006. Centered in a rich and diverse agricultural production area with excellent logistics, leading companies, and agricultural research institutions, the region’s agricultural impact and potential are significant. Memphis Bioworks is home to a broad array of agbio companies including food and food safety, alternative crops and traits and biobased products.
A new model for involving farmers in the discovery process of new opportunities has been developed by Memphis Bioworks, which serves to identify first mover farmers, involve them in training and business development programs, and engage them in crop development and business planning in a way that mitigates risk and captures invaluable on-farm ingenuity and experience.
Originally developed through a grant from Tennessee Department of Agriculture in 2008, Memphis Bioworks has continued to bring together leading farmers to participate in entrepreneurial opportunities. Already this program has led to two new rural businesses that are partially owned by Tennessee farmers, as well as a range of other opportunities including participation in growing new crops partnering with leading seed companies.
Farmers in 10 Tennessee counties have received entrepreneurship training in Tennessee through this program.
Through grants from USDA, Delta Regional Authority, Missouri Technology Corporation, and Kentucky Ag Development Fund, Memphis Bioworks has worked with local partners to train farmers in Kentucky and Missouri to participate in new venture development.
West Kentucky AgBioworks
Memphis Bioworks partners with Murray State University to assist in the development and commercialization of new farm-based innovations. This includes a shared brand, farmer training and research and development priorities. Murray State University shows statewide leadership in agricultural innovation seeking to bring new ideas and technologies directly to farmers. This includes developing demonstrations for biomass crops and technologies. Future activities include development of additional entrepreneurial programs to encourage ag innovation. For more information contact Dr. Tony Brannon, Dean, Hutson School of Agriculture, Murray State University, (270) 809-6923, firstname.lastname@example.org.