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Midwest AgTech Tests Autonomous Tractors In Nebraska

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Innovations in Agriculture Technology are not only being built in the midwest but are being tested right here in Nebraska. Craig Rupp, CEO of Sabanto Ag, is a leader in AgTech with a special interest in the midwest, and a team member of The Combine had the opportunity to discuss Sabanto's progress, his experience in the midwest, and why he would want to build a company here when so many others head to the coast to do so.

Craig is a well-known founder in the agriculture technology industry. Craig's impressive experience has brought the industry the StarFire receiver, the Greenstar display, and was a co-founder at 640 Labs, the creator of the FieldView Drive.

Sabanto Ag is a developer of a Farming-as-a-Service technology designed to perform row-crop operations using advanced autonomous equipment. The company's technology provides total turn-key agriculture services using a supervised autonomous equipment platform, enabling farmers to get technology and systems to monitor and operate farmlands from one central location.

The autonomous tractors started with a broad focus on commodity ag by first planting conventional corn. Rupp stated that they realized the company needed to niche down to find their ideal customer market, which led to Sabanto Ag pivoting to focus in the organic farming realm. The industry requires more labor-intense practices to manage weeds and monitor pests.

When Sabanto Ag started looking for farms to participate in on-farm trials, they knew the midwest was the place to be. Midwest farmers are passionate about row crop, and Rupp commented that they have not had any issues finding talent in the midwest.

"We are just as capable here as the coasts."

- Craig Rupp, CEO of Sabanto Ag

The process of finding the right farmer for on-farm trials was not difficult for Sabanto. If you're from the midwest, you know that it seems everyone living here is within two degrees of separation. From Rupp's network, the innovative company was connected with Granstrom Farms, a large organic grower in Hastings, Nebraska. The company knew they needed a farmer with a progressive mindset and someone who shares Sabanto's vision. When speaking with Rupp, his gratitude for the partnership was clear, and he emphasized the importance of finding the right partners.

The Combine's Insight Network was discussed, in which The Combine has a network of farmers who have the progressive mindset and will to innovate their agricultural operation. The Combine team understands the importance of the right partners for startup's pilot programs. Watch the autonomous tractor in action in this tweet from Sabanto Ag:

The final topic of discussion was Sabanto Ag's route to success. Rupp commented that he is a big believer in actually doing it, not just talking about it. They've learned the most by the field trials and learning from doing, not just putting pen to paper. Sabanto Ag had a round of field trials this spring, and now, they are ready to go hard after refining and improving their processes in time for fall. Their team is made up of fifteen people right now, and they all have agriculture experience.

From the team at The Combine, we are excited about Sabanto Ag and ecstatic that this revolutionary startup is taking place right here in the heartland of agriculture.


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