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 Nebraska Governor Celebrates AgTech Innovation on National Ag Day

Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen and Nebraska Director of Agriculture Sherry Vinton visit The Combine AgTech Incubator to learn about Nebraska’s growing AgTech Startup Ecosystem. 


Lincoln, Nebraska – [March 20, 2024] – In a significant nod to the burgeoning role of technology in agriculture, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen and Agriculture Director Sherry Vinton embarked on a visit to The Combine at Nebraska Innovation Campus this National Ag Day. Their visit underscores a commitment to nurturing the state's AgTech ecosystem, spotlighting the innovative endeavors that position Nebraska as a leader in agricultural technology. 


The Combine, facilitated by Invest Nebraska and bolstered by key partnerships, including the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and the University of Nebraska, serves as a catalyst for propelling the state into the limelight of AgTech innovation. 


Invest Nebraska, renowned for its strategic investment and operational support to high-growth ventures, offers an indispensable platform for Nebraska startups. This includes coaching, networking, and capital investments. The governor's engagement with six trailblazing AgTech startups - Marble Technologies, Grain Weevil, Cattle Kettle, Sentinel Fertigation, Birds Eye Robotics, and ALA Engineering - highlights the vibrant and evolving AgTech startup landscape in Nebraska. 


“Nebraska continues to build out the innovation/entrepreneurship infrastructure for AgTech entrepreneurs, and the results are evident,” said Dan Hoffman, CEO of Invest Nebraska. “Since the founding of the Combine in 2019, twenty-three Nebraska-based AgTech startups have been founded from Omaha to Gering, and Grit Road Partners established the state’s first privately invested seed fund. This results from purposeful collaborations involving the state of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska, agricultural producers, private investors, and non-profit organizations.” 


Grit Road Partners, an investment fund designed specifically for AgTech entrepreneurs in the Midwest, aims to establish the region as a global epicenter for agricultural technology innovation. 


The event drew together key stakeholders, including the Nebraska Farm Bureau, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the University of Nebraska's Office of Research and Economic Development. Additionally, future leaders from FFA and other organizations were present, all bearing witness to Nebraska's advancements toward integrating technology with traditional farming practices. 


Josh DeMers, Program Manager of The Combine, reflected on the day's significance. "This event showcased the collaborative efforts within our ecosystem and the progress in AgTech. Our goal is clear: to establish Nebraska as the premier hub for agricultural innovation. Highlighting the thriving entrepreneurs in our community is key to achieving this vision," DeMers remarked. 


The visit not only marked a celebration of current innovations but also cemented the region's commitment to fostering an environment conducive to AgTech growth in Nebraska. With this visit, the future of agriculture in Nebraska looks bright, with pathways for local entrepreneurs to weave innovation into the land’s rich heritage. 


The Combine is a statewide program that fosters high-growth innovation and entrepreneurship in the food and agriculture-tech sectors. It is led by Invest Nebraska and supported by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and the University of Nebraska. Learn more at 


Invest Nebraska Corporation builds a better future for our state by providing financial and operational assistance to high-growth companies, developing high-growth infrastructure, and attracting out-of-state capital to Nebraska. The program offers one-on-one early-stage coaching, connections to industry mentors, networking events, incubation space, and a network of Nebraska producers. Learn more at 


Grit Road Partners is an investment fund created to partner with and financially support innovative startups in Agriculture Technology in Nebraska and the Midwest. The fund was founded and is run by Mike Jung and Invest Nebraska to invest in entrepreneurs solving REAL producer problems and to help make Nebraska and the Midwest the global AgTech hub. Learn more at 


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