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Indiana, Fostering a Culture of Agriculture Innovation

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Indiana, Fostering a Culture of Agriculture Innovation

 Julie Borlaug,
Julie Borlaug,

The first of its kind conference held last week brought together Indiana’s top agriculture, technology, and life sciences leaders to discuss fostering a culture of agricultural innovation in our state. The Ag Biosciences Innovation Conference, sponsored by AgriNovus, was designed to bring very different players, from diverse sectors of the state, to collaborate on innovative ideas in agriculture. Keynote speaker at the event Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of Norman Borlaug, said it is vital that agriculture begin to interact with other industries and technologies to foster the kind of innovation we will need to increase food production, “We in agriculture spend a lot of time talking to ourselves, so it is great when an event like this brings together outside groups to focus on agricultural innovation.” She told HAT that a more holistic approach is needed to address the world’s food production problem.

Borlaug said the kind of innovation that will increase food production will not come from within agriculture, but will be a collaborative effort with many different technologies, “It is going to take engineers, and robotics, and computer science, and many others to address the issues we face in agriculture.”  She added that even biotechnology will need to embrace other sectors of the life sciences.

 

Ted McKinney
Ted McKinneyIndiana State Department of Agriculture director Ted McKinney said fostering a culture of agricultural innovation is a primary goal of Governor Pence and that this conference was the first step in making Indiana a Silicon Valley of agriculture, “AgriNovus took the first step and brought all the players together. We have to know what kind of resources we have.” AgriNovus executive director Beth Bechdol said the focus now will be identifying and recruiting the talent that will be needed to foster agricultural innovation in Indiana. Borlaug said one of the keys to getting the right talent is to get more young people interested in agriculture, “We have to show them that the innovation  in agriculture is just as exciting as innovation  in other sectors.”