Tag Archives: ag

Innovative Ag Start-ups and Investors to Present at Tennessee AgriTech Challenge

Statewide Event on November 11 Supports Governor Haslam’s Rural Challenge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 23, 2014) – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, USDA Rural Development and Memphis Bioworks Foundation will host the Tennessee AgriTech Challenge on November 11, 2014, at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The Tennessee AgriTech Challenge will feature presentations from agricultural technology start-ups, established companies, venture capitalists and thought leaders in support of Governor Haslam’s Rural Challenge: A 10-Year Strategic Plan.

The event will highlight statewide innovative companies that are addressing global hunger, food safety, farm efficiency, and opportunities for new farm income and rural jobs and that have participated in the entrepreneurial support programs developed by Memphis Bioworks. Participating companies are:

  • Climate Adaptive Genetics – Climate Adaptive Genetics is developing heat-tolerant cattle using technology developed at Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University.
  • Croptell – Croptell is the row crop farming industry’s go-to financial farm planning software. The company’s goal is to make farm budgeting and reporting simple, accessible and relevant.
  • Hivalgo – Hivalgo will redefine the grains and oilseeds markets through information technology. Hivalgo’s customers will have access to better information on the tangible and intangible attributes of the grain and oilseeds provided by their producer suppliers and be able to purchase directly from those producers.
  • Sytheros – Sytheros Communications is developing a wireless sensor platform for agriculture and other industries where novel sensors and long-range, low-cost communications can be combined to create solutions to reduce water and energy use.

In addition, business leaders and investors will address future trends in agriculture and the vital role of agricultural innovation in Tennessee’s economy.  Presentations include:

  • Ron Meeusen, PhD, Managing Director, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures.  Cultivian Sandbox is a venture capital firm focused on building next-generation disruptive agriculture and food technology companies capable of generating superior returns.
  • Walt Mullins, PhD, Trait Manager, Bayer CropScience.  Dr. Mullins will give an overview of Bayer’s soy and cotton trait pipeline and Bayer’s $1 billion commitment to ag innovation in the United States, including $17 million investment in its Tennessee-based research center.
  • Barry Knight, Chief Executive Officer, Cresco Ag LLC. CrescoAg is a Tennessee company with the goal of helping farmers gather and compare data in order to make better management decisions for their farms.

“The Tennessee AgriTech Challenge is an opportunity to showcase new and innovative ideas and technologies in agriculture,” said Tennessee Agricultural Commissioner Julius Johnson.  “We believe that the agricultural innovation component of the Governor’s Rural Challenge is an exciting and necessary component to grow rural economies in the state.”

“From a rural development perspective, the AgriTech Challenge allows us to highlight the growing role of innovation in agricultural production and in supporting new job creation,” said Bobby Goode, State Director of Rural Development with USDA.

“Leveraging Tennessee’s agricultural strength and heritage to build successful, innovative agricultural businesses that can compete and provide solutions in a global economy is one of the keys to our state’s economic future,” said Steve Bares, PhD, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

The event is expected to attract more than 100 attendees, including investors, business and community representatives and supporters.

The event is sponsored by: Ag Innovation Development Group, MidAmerica Farm Credit, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee Ag Research, and University of Tennessee at Martin.

For more information, or to register for the event, visit http://www.memphisbioworks.org/tennessee-agritech-challenge.

This project is funded under an agreement with Tennessee Department of Agriculture and USDA Rural Development.


About Tennessee Department of Agriculture

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture promotes local produce and products and ensures safe and dependable food and fiber for all while conserving our natural resources. The Department touches the lives of Tennesseans every day through the food we eat, the fuel we pump, the clothes we wear, the wood products we use and the land we enjoy. For more information, visit www.tn.gov/agriculture.

About USDA Rural Development

USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, health, education, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the lives of people in rural areas and the economic health of rural communities. During the last four years the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.7 Billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants. For more information, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN-Home.html.

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation

Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers. Memphis Bioworks was recently tapped by the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle to lead the Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center (EPIcenter), an organization that will serve as the single front door and single point of accountability for entrepreneurs in Memphis. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org.