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AgTech Connect 2023 Celebrates Midwest as Hub of Innovation

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

AgTech Connect 2023 was a great success, with over 250 engaged attendees at the conference to celebrate the Midwest as the hub of AgTech Innovation.

AgTech Connect 2023 was a remarkable success, with record-breaking attendance and an engaged audience. Expert speakers presented the latest innovations in AgTech, and Nebraska's Governor gave a keynote presentation to the energized crowd. Various networking opportunities offered attendees an even greater chance to connect and learn from each other. There were also numerous breakout sessions throughout the conference where attendees could delve deeper into specific topics related to AgTech and startups, such as robotics, precision ag, founding a successful startup, and insight into large agriculture corporations' views on innovation. Thanks to Saturn's Lens Photo & Video for capturing the event!

This was the second annual AgTech Connect conference hosted by The Combine and Invest Nebraska. The morning started with demonstrations from ag robotic startups that are creating autonomous solutions for everyday agricultural needs-

After the demonstrations, the attendees moved into roundtable discussions, which featured thirty tables with a variety of topics and experts leading the discussion at their tables. This was a highly enjoyed part of the event!

The afternoon showcased two panel sections. The first panel was an Ag Producer Panel, led by The Combine's Insights Network Manager, Tanner Nelson. The panel featured three production agriculture producers and one service provider. Each gave a unique insight into working with technology in their ag operations.

The second panel was a Corporate Agribusiness Industry Panel, in which leaders at ag corporations gave insight as to what their companies value in technology and innovation. The panel was moderated by Chris Roth, President of Reinke Irrigation, and the panelists were Steve Gangwish, CEO of CSS Farms, Will Ruffalo, Strategic Planning & Development Manager at Valley Irrigation by Valmont, and Suresh Seshardi, Chief Architect at Scoular.

Five startups participated in the Startup Showcase. Each startup had 7 minutes to share their business with attendees, and attendees were encouraged to ask questions during the networking break following the showcase.

Ben Williamson, Principal at Invest Nebraska & Managing Director at Grit Road Partners, gave an interactive speech about the trends in AgTech. Listening to Ben talk was many attendees' favorite part of the day!

The final speaker of the day was the Keynote Speaker, Nebraska's Governor Jim Pillen. Governor Pillen has been involved in the agriculture industry his whole life and has been a leader in his family's pig business, Pillen Family Farms and DNA Genetics.

Governor Pillen's message was clear: innovation in agriculture is extremely important and the Midwest is the place to be leading that innovation.

The conference concluded with Appetizers and a Happy Hour, giving attendees a final time to network and ensure they received valuable connections from the day.

The 2023 AgTech Connect was a great event. The event was made possible by the event sponsors, but the Premium Sponsors in particular, The Combine, Invest Nebraska, Grit Road Partners, Nebraska Innovation Campus, and Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

The energy in the room was palpable and everyone left feeling inspired and motivated to continue innovating in this rapidly expanding sector. With overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who participated, it's safe to say that AgTech Connect 2023 was an event to remember and one which will encourage many more people to join us at next year's conference!

Mark your calendar for next year's event on July 17, 2024 at Nebraska Innovation Campus! See you there!


What is The Combine?

Invest Nebraska's Combine Incubator is a statewide initiative focused on supporting high-growth agri-food entrepreneurs through mentoring, commercialization support, physical incubation space on Nebraska's Innovation Campus, and a network of helping farmers and ranchers across the state. Invest Nebraska is a private, non-profit statewide venture development organization focused on high-growth companies in Nebraska and growing the state's entrepreneurial economy. Invest Nebraska works directly with entrepreneurs, researchers, and companies to help commercialize their technologies, launch and grow new businesses, and access needed capital.


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