A new organization has been formed to drive innovation in agriculture in Indiana and bring new markets to Indiana farmers. AgriNovus is a public-private partnership designed to foster and promote innovation in agriculture. The partnership includes farm organizations, agribusinesses, Purdue, and state government which are all focused on fostering new technology and new markets for a wide variety of Indiana farm products. “One of our initial goals for the organization was to build a recognizable brand that was not only a reflection of the sector, but also representative of the State of Indiana,” said Beth Bechdol, Executive Director for AgriNovus Indiana. “Together, with the State and key stakeholders from industry and academia, we believe the new name and identity will bring attention to our strategic efforts and raise the level of awareness around Indiana’s strengths in food and agricultural innovation.”
Earlier this year, AgriNovus Indiana initiated a study for Indiana to examine and understand the State’s agbiosciences assets and to identify opportunities for future sector growth. The report, published today by AgriNovus Indiana and Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, better defines the agbiosciences sector in Indiana. According to the data, Indiana’s agbiosciences sector is an important contributor to the health of Indiana’s economy – providing approximately 68,000 high-wage jobs (not including farming), generating large numbers of patents and scientific publications, and investing significant resources in cutting-edge research.
Bechdol says the analysis showed areas where Indiana agriculture has growth potential. She told HAT Indiana is well-known for plant and animal production, but AgriNovus feels there is a great deal of growth in the food and nutrition sector, “We have all the ingredients for a very successful sector, but we just have not brought them all together.” Bechdol says AgriNovus will also focus efforts in making our state a center for innovation in precision farming technology, “Sensors, smart machines – there is so much potential in this area. We feel AgriNovus can put a stake in the ground and say we are investing in this.” She feels Indiana could become a center for the rapidly growing area of big data for agriculture.
Fostering Innovation in agriculture has long been a goal of the Pence administration. Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann says a group like AgriNovus will help the state to invest more money into growing new markets for Indiana farm products, “Agribusiness is a $16 billion industry in Indiana that includes world-class leaders in research and development both in the private sector and at our state’s leading research universities. AgriNovus will foster new levels of collaboration and synergy among all the players further advancing this important segment of our economy and creating more jobs for Hoosiers.” She feels the General Assembly will be more likely to approve increased levels of funding for agriculture with an organization like AgriNovus in place. Purdue Dean of the College of Agriculture Jay Akridge said AgriNovus will also help Purdue obtain more grants for basic research in agriculture.
AgriNovus Indiana is supported by an executive steering committee comprised of professionals representing AGCO, Beck’s Hybrids, Clabber Girl, Dow AgroSciences, Elanco, Indiana Soybean Alliance/Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Indiana State Fair Commission, JBS United, LDI, Ltd., Purdue Agriculture, National FFA, Whiteshire Hamroc, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and the Office of the Lt. Governor. “Together we have worked hard these past several months to accomplish critical milestones for this effort,” added Bechdol. “It’s exciting to see Indiana taking steps to become recognized as a source of technology and research solutions to some of today’s biggest global challenges. Indiana has long been known as a prominent agriculture state. Looking ahead, we must continue to enhance our production capabilities but now more vocally promote and grow the innovative talent and technologies of Indiana as well.”