INDIANAPOLIS (June 23, 2021) — AgriNovus Indiana, the initiative to advance Indiana’s agbioscience economy, launched a $25,000 innovation challenge today for the tech community to solve a critical data gap that prevents farmers from participating in Carbon markets, where companies purchase credits from farming operations that sequester Carbon.
Presented by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance, the 2021 Producer-Led Innovation Challenge seeks to inspire innovators to create software to make it faster for farmers to aggregate the complex multi-year, multi-source data sets required to participate in Carbon markets.
“Carbon markets are emerging as an opportunity to increase net farm income by paying Producers for stewardship of the land,” said Mitch Frazier, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. “The Producer-Led Innovation Challenge empowers innovators with a Producer view of the current Carbon market challenge and provides a $25,000 grand prize to the team who creates the most effective solution to simplify the data aggregation and packaging required in current markets.”
Entrepreneurs, students, startups and tech companies must apply to compete in the Challenge either as individuals or as a team by Midnight July 9, 2021 at www.AgriNovusIndiana.com/Challenge. Those competing will have access to sample data and can participate in weekly mentoring sessions led by Indiana Producers and experts from Bayer, Beck’s Hybrids, Ceres Solutions, Granular (Corteva), John Deere, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network and others.
“What we’re hoping to see in a winning submission is technology that will help farmers tap into a source of income for the conservation practices they’re implementing,” said Courtney Kingery, CEO of Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance. “The top reason farmers said they want to participate in carbon markets is to create another source of net income. But right behind that, farmers want to invest in good, sustainability efforts.”
While more than 95% of Indiana farmers report they are not currently participating in a Carbon market, 67% plan to in the future, according to a June 2021 survey of Indiana producers conducted by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance. Producers completing the survey identified that the most critical requirement for Carbon markets in the future is simplicity – the ability to use existing data to document farm management practices and processes.
“The data being required for farmers to qualify in carbon markets is extensive and in the case of some operations, perhaps not all efforts toward sustainability and soil health have been thoroughly recorded,” said Larry Wilkinson, Noble County producer and director of the Indiana Soybean Alliance. “Many farmers aren’t fortunate enough to have a combine monitor, much less the ability to transfer data to a computer. Having a solution in place to integrate data and give farmers an entry point into carbon markets is critical as a measurement of our sustainable contributions to the planet.”
A panel of Indiana Producers will select the winner of the Challenge based upon the solution’s ability to reduce the manual data aggregation steps required of today’s market and the solution’s ability to be commercialized by 2022. AgriNovus will announce the winner Sept. 22, 2021. In addition to the $25,000 grand prize from the Purdue Foundry, the winner will receive complimentary financial advisory services from Sikich LLP and creative services from the PLAID agency.
The 2021 AgriNovus Producer-Led Innovation Challenge follows the inaugural Challenge in 2020 that welcomed 15 teams and 58 participants from multiple states competing for a $25,000 grand prize to improve farm management software. Ambia, Ind.-based Benton Group in partnership with iYOTAH Solutions won the Challenge with their software that used data to improve feed timing in dairy operations to increase milk production.
To learn more about the 2021 Challenge and to register a team, visit www.AgriNovusIndiana.com/Challenge.
About AgriNovus Indiana
AgriNovus Indiana is a non-profit organization focused on advancing the agbiosciences sector by connecting and convening stakeholders to deliver innovative ways to inspire and attract agbiosciences talent, companies and innovation to the state. AgriNovus Indiana is an initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), an effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. Learn more at 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