AgTech Innovation Hub to help address agricultural issues

Ohio State University and Nationwide have collaborated to form an AgTech Innovation Hub to help address climate issues facing the agriculture industry.

Cathann Kress, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), says the innovation hub will benefit farmers.

“It will benefit the ag industry because we can move so much quicker to get ideas out there or fail faster if that’s the case. We can move quicker, get ideas out there, and even be able to fund start-ups and the beginnings of some of the manufacturing of some things that could end up being helpful tools for farmers,” she says. “That’s really the goal, whether it’s applied research or technology transfer or intellectual property, we want to be able to move it quickly into the hands of farmers who can use it. We want to be able to not only move it quickly, but also how can we do it so It’s more economical. Sometimes when a new technology comes out it’s expensive. Well, can we do better, and can we make sure that there’s a technology coming out that more people can have access to as well.”

The two central Ohio-based institutions will encourage the development of solutions to challenges facing the industry while better understanding, managing, and mitigating climate risk.

“The whole idea of adding in this AgTech Innovation Hub was to create more opportunities and incentives for students, researchers, partners, inventors, entrepreneurs, people with good ideas to all come together and quickly move ideas from that idea phase and into being able to be utilized,” she says. “Those ideas could range anywhere across all of agriculture—it could have something to do with software that could be useful to producers; it could be a vaccine; it could be that there’s some new kind of technology. It’s this idea of how we can put the research and development and the people who can manufacture and implement it all together and think about things that could make a tremendous difference for agriculture.”

Kress says the partnership builds on an existing collaboration with Nationwide, the Nationwide Foundation, and the CFAES.

Nationwide is pledging up to $2 million in initial funding and plans to provide additional funding resources in the future.  

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