Tennessee AgriTech Challenge

November 11, 2014

1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Miller Club at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum

304 W. Thompson Lane

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Reception following

RSVP here

The Tennessee AgriTech Challenge will feature presentations from agricultural technology startups, established companies, venture capitalists and thought leaders in support of Governor Haslam’s Rural Challenge: A 10-Year Strategic Plan.

  • Hear from Tennessee’s agricultural leadership on the importance of agricultural innovation in growing a strong rural economy
  • See investment pitches for promising startups that are seeking investment and opportunities to grow their companies in Tennessee
  • Learn from innovative agricultural enterprises and investors concerning future trends in agriculture and the potential role for Tennessee
  • View highlights of Tennessee’s agricultural innovation strategy mandated by the Governor’s Rural Challenge


1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


  • Moderator:  Peter Nelson, CEO, Ag Innovation Development Group
  • Welcome to MTSU:  Warren Gill, Ph.D., Director, School of Agribusiness & Agriscience, Middle Tennessee State University
  • Special presentation:  Center for Equine Recovery for Veterans Program at MTSU in honor of our Veterans

Opening Remarks

  • Commissioner Julius Johnson, Tennessee Department of Agriculture
  • Bobby Goode, Director, USDA Tennessee Rural Development
  • Joe Pearson, Chief Administrative Officer, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 

Keynote Presentation: Investing in Agricultural Innovation

  • Introduction of the Presenter:  Rep. Andy Holt, Vice Chair, House Ag Committee, Tennessee General Assembly
  • Keynote Presentation, Ron Meeusen, Ph.D., Director, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures

 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Startup Presentations: Part I

  • Introduction of the Startups:  Chandra Reddy, Ph.D., Dean, College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources, Tennessee State University
  • Startup Presentations
    • James West, Ph.D., CTO, Climate Adaptive Genetics
    • John Reams, CEO, Hivalgo

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 

Networking Break Sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America

3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. 

Industry Panel: Does Tennessee Have a Role in Global Ag Innovation?

  • Panel Moderator: Scott Massey, Chairman & CEO, Global Action Platform
  • Panelists
    • William Brown, Ph.D., Dean, University of Tennessee Ag Research
    • Walt Mullins, Ph.D., Trait Manager, Bayer CropScience
    • Barry Knight, Chief Executive Officer, Cresco Ag LLC

4:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. 

Startup Presentations:  Part II

  • Introduction of the Startups:  Todd Winters, Ph.D., Dean, College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, University of Tennessee at Martin
  • Startup Presentations
    • Scott Sartor, CEO, Croptell
    • Jim Stratigos, CEO, Sytheros

4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  

Governors Rural Challenge: Ag Innovation Strategy Preview

  • Tennessee Ag Innovation Strategy Key Recommendations
            • Louis Buck, Tennessee Department of Agriculture
          • Steve Bares, Ph.D., President & Executive Director, Memphis Bioworks Foundation

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Networking Reception Sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America


Brought to you by:








The event is sponsored by:



Ag Logodownload




UT AgResearch Logo

CAAS 151-289 Wordmark

1 Cropped