AgriNovus Indiana announces winner of first-ever Producer-Led Innovation Challenge

December 11, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 11, 2020) — AgriNovus Indiana, an initiative focused on growing Indiana’s agbioscience economy, today announced the Benton Group from Ambia, Ind. in partnership with iYOTAH Solutions, as the winning team of its Producer-Led Innovation Challenge, awarding them $25,000 provided by Purdue Foundry.

The Producer-Led Innovation Challenge, presented by Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance, was designed to create new solutions that solve critical gaps in farm management software, as identified by Indiana producers. From tech startups to student teams, participants worked to create a solution that accomplished the following objectives:

 Reduces manual data entry (typically conducted in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets or similar) by automating the aggregation of data from farm operating systems
 Makes it possible for data quality to be validated quickly (examples: field-level information, seed inventory, accounting entries, etc.)
 Automates alert notifications based on farmer-defined standards and user roles
 Visualizes data to quickly make easily informed decisions

“Two of Indiana’s greatest strengths are our progressive agriculture industry and our thriving tech ecosystem,” said Mitch Frazier, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. “In our first-ever Producer-Led Innovation Challenge, Indiana innovators and producers proved to be a powerful combination that together can deliver solutions to improve operational efficiency and ultimately improve net farm income.”

Benton Group’s Challenge team includes Keith Hoeing from the Benton Group, and Paul Ousterhout and Elaine Thorndike from iYOTAH Solutions. The team’s innovative technology is designed to ingest data from multiple data sources, secure that data in the cloud and provide data analytics offering better and more connected information. Their advanced technological solution is being built from the ground up with input from pilot herds and key industry thought leaders.

“We are excited to be selected as the inaugural winners of the 2020 AgriNovus Producer-Led Innovation Challenge,” said Keith Hoeing, site manager of the Benton Group “The contest provided the Benton Group and iYOTAH Solutions team the opportunity to chase the results that matter the most, pushing us to think bigger and dream up new ideas, like Feed Cadence™. The results show great promise to significantly impact financial performance for this farm and others in 2021 and beyond.“

The Benton Team was selected from 15 teams representing industry, startups and academia with 58 participants from multiple states including Indiana, Iowa and Colorado.

“A farm is like any other small business, and most small businesses today rely on the latest technology for success and efficiency,” said Indiana Soybean Alliance Board Member Anngie Steinbarger, a farmer from Edinburgh, Ind., and a contest judge. “Historically, farmers are problem solvers. The Producer-Led Innovation Challenge is exciting because these problem solvers worked directly on the tasks that need attention.”

The Producer-Led Innovation Challenge concludes as AgriNovus releases its latest study, Innovative Agbioscience in Indiana: 2020 Assessment, which identifies agtech as the fastest growing sector in Indiana. That report can be found here.

About AgriNovus Indiana
AgriNovus Indiana is the state’s initiative focused on advancing the agbiosciences sector as a nationally recognized leader through education, research and talent development; strategic collaborations among corporations, industry associations, government and universities; the creation and support of new companies; and branding and targeted promotions to elevate the sector. AgriNovus Indiana is part of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), an effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. To learn more about AgriNovus Indiana, visit www.agrinovusindiana.com.

About Indiana Corn Marketing Council
The Indiana Corn Marketing Council was established by the Indiana General Assembly to promote the interests of corn growers in the state and manage corn checkoff funds. The Council is composed of 17 voting farmer directors and seven appointed industry and government representatives who direct investments of corn checkoff funds on behalf of more than 28,000 Indiana corn farmers. The ICMC works to build new markets for corn through the promotion of grain marketing, livestock, production research, ethanol and environmental programs. Learn more at www.incorn.org.

About Indiana Soybean Alliance
The Indiana Soybean Alliance works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the effective and efficient investment of soybean checkoff fund. The ISA works to build new markets for soybeans through the promotion of biodiesel, livestock, grain marketing, aquaculture, new soybean uses and research. ISA is led by an elected, farmer board that directs investments of the soybean checkoff funds on behalf of more than 28,000 Indiana soybean farmers. Visit www.indianasoybean.com for more information.