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Birds Eye Robotics Awarded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant

Birds Eye Robotics Awarded Innovation Grant from National Institute of Food and Agriculture Nebraska-based animal health startup receives an SBIR grant to help the team of robotics experts develop autonomous robotic solutions.

Birds Eye Robotics, a Herman, Nebraska-based company, has been selected as an awardee of the US Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research grant from The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice.

The $175,000 in funding will support the development of computer vision and grapple mechanism to improve poultry welfare across the life cycle through autonomous robotic solutions.

Computer vision is a field of artificial intelligence that enables computers and systems to derive meaningful information from digital images, videos, and other visual inputs — and take actions or make recommendations based on that information.

In the 1970s, chicken accounted for less than 25% of the total U.S. meat consumption. Since 2014, however, chicken now accounts for more than 50%. To support this growing demand, integrators continue to build larger broiler barns in higher quantities. Today the United States has the world’s largest broiler industry, with over 9 billion chickens produced each year. Quality labor continues to be a constraint for these operations.

“We are fortunate to partner with the USDA on this opportunity and this shared vision to allow American producers to remain competitive in the global marketplace.” said Birds Eye CEO Scott Niewohner.

Since initial proof-of-concept development in 2019, the original version of the Bird’s Eye caretaker unit has operated in broiler barns for over 1000+ hours. Birds Eye Robotics has partnered with progressive producers and industry partners to support its early-stage testing.

Other financial supporters of Birds Eye Robotics currently include Invest Nebraska, Innova Ag Innovation Fund, Iowa Ag Startup Engine, Burlington AG-VENTURE, and several angel investors from the industry. Birds Eye Robotics is an alumnus The Combine, an agriculture technology startup incubator located on Nebraska Innovation Campus.


About The USDA SBIR Program

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers competitively awarded grants to qualified small businesses to support high quality research related to important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture that could lead to significant public benefits. The program stimulates technological innovations in the private sector and strengthens the role of federal research and development in support of small businesses.

About Birds Eye Robotics

Birds Eye Robotics 19994 County Road 19 Herman, NE 68029 The upkeep and maintenance of poultry houses represent a real challenge for farmers and growers. With continual pressure in agriculture labor markets, Birds Eye’s autonomous robotic solution aims to connect cutting-edge technology with farmer common sense. The company’s “Caretaker” can perform routine but critical needs of grow-out barns, by removing mortality, tilling the bedding, and improving the overall health and welfare of the birds, thus impacting the growers’ bottom-line profitability. For further information, please consult the company’s website at


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