A look back at Ag Innovation Showcase

Looking back on 13 years of Ag Innovation

The premier industry event for ag & agtech entrepreneurs, investors, and executives.

Ag Showcase provided an intimate venue  for industry leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs to form relationships and engage in substantive  discussions that will  enable  innovative solutions coming to market for consumer, social, commercial, and environmental benefit.   We invited  speakers, sponsors,  early-stage companies, and other stakeholders in food and agriculture innovation to network with each other  to  address today’s questions  and  develop tomorrow’s solutions for feeding the planet. 

of presenters introduced to new partnership opportunities
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The common theme across the 10-year span of AIS since 2008 was to explore global and national issues related to soil health, food production, food sustainability, food waste and food security. AIS has been at the forefront of bringing thought leaders and influencers in the field of agriculture and related industry to initiate dialogue and drive collaborations domestically and internationally. 

In 2021, we sought to identify the concerns uncovered during the world’s year of crisis, in order to describe the contours of recovery. We doubled down on the continued evolution of regeneration as an organizing principle for agriculture and food production. We described the arc of reimagining the changed and rapidly evolving landscape of agriculture and food.

The 2021 Showcase curated these and related issues, leading up to the UN Food Summit in November 2021, and further mark and stimulate the agenda for the 2022 Showcase.

Looking ahead to ECO

Larta Institute’s new ECO Innovation Festival not only champions emerging technologies in Agriculture, but in all the different ways people can work together to make the world a better place. Together, we will feed fuel and heal the world!

What our attendees had to say:

"Unquestionably the world’s leading thought leadership event for innovative AgScience and Technology."
Darryn Keiller
WayBeyond Ltd
"A high quality event with an incredibly focused niche audience and serious attendees."
David Camerlengo
Trade & Investment Queensland
"Innovation is about stretching your current thinking and making decisions that lead to real actions of implementation. The Ag Innovation Showcase caters to both."
Paul McGill

Ag Innovation > The People

Thank you to everyone who’s been a speaker since 2009.


Sarah Davidson Evanega

Director, Alliance for Science, Cornell University, and Borlaug Scholar

Chavonda Jacobs-Young

Administrator, USDA-Agricultural Research Service

Jack Bobo

CEO, Futurity

Ted McKinney

Under Secretary of Agriculture, USDA

Ray Cameron


Sanjeev Krishnan


Mark Ritchie

CEO, Global Minnesota

Teddy Bekele

CTO, Land O’Lakes

Mehmood Khan


Adrian Percy

Bayer AG, Crop Science

Vipula Shukla

Sr. Program Officer, Discovery Research Agricultural Development, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Darryn Keiller

Chairman, Autogrow Systems Limited

Hank Giclas

Senior VP Science & Technology, Strategic Planning, Western Growers
Screenshot 2022-10-31 at 4.59.26 PM

Matthew Mayer

Operator & General Manager, MPG Farms

David Crean

VP for Global R&D, Mars Inc

Bart Weimer

UC Davis

Jeff Wesler

Almaden Lab Director, IBM

Dr. Steve Savage

Consultant, Savage & Associates

Dr. Robert T. Fraley

Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto Company

Dr. James W. Budzynski

Managing Principal, MacroGain Partners

Dr. John J. Tracy

Chief Technology Officer, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Operations & Technology, The Boeing Company

Dr. Yuri Gleba

Co-founder & Managing Director, Icon Genetics Founder, Nomad Bioscience

Gregory T. Lucier

Chairman and CEO, Life Technologies, Corp.

Jason Pyle, CEO

CEO, Sapphire Energy, Inc.

Paulo Rabello de Castro

Chairman and Principal Partner, SR Rating/Duff and Phelps

Jerry Caulder

Executive Chairman, Finistere Ventures
Colorado State University

Bryan Wilson

Director, CSU Clean Energy Supercluster

David J. Rothkopf

President and CEO, Garten Rothkopf

Carl Casale

Executive VicePresident, Strategy and Operations, Monsanto Company

Ag Innovation > The Startups

Thank you to all the startups who participated in the events since 2009.

Event highlights over the years.

Sept. 13–14, 2021

Recovery, Regeneration, Reimagining

The 2021 Showcase was a virtual event presented in partnership with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. We sought to identify the concerns uncovered during the world’s year of crisis to describe the contours of recovery. We doubled down on the continued evolution of regeneration as an organizing principle for agriculture and food production. We described the arc of reimagining the changed and rapidly evolving landscape of agriculture and food. We welcomed thought leaders across sectors and government including Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Administrator at USDA-Agricultural Research Service and Jewel Bronaugh, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at USDA. Our keynote speaker Dr. Sarah Evanega from Cornell University brilliantly illuminated three imperatives to reimagine the future of food & agriculture across the globe – Inclusivity, Communication, and Collaboration.

Aug. 27–28, 2020

Call to Action

Hosted virtually for the first time, the 2020 Showcase explored new and evolving business models in agriculture and food production, highlighted new waste management and environmental mitigation approaches, and identified new economic and governance concerns around farm and farmers’ health.

Jack Bobo, CEO of Futurity, our keynote speaker, hosted a thought-provoking session titled “Can Agriculture Save the Planet?”. Jack is a globally recognized thought leader, having delivered over 300 speeches on the future of food/consumer psychology. He has been an integral part of the Showcase for many years.

Sept. 9–11, 2019

The Power of Convergence

The 2019 Showcase arrived to the beautiful Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN, one of the most prominent hubs for food and agriculture and one of the nation’s leading export centers, in the midst of a dynamic explosion of entrepreneurial activity.

Our theme, The Power of Convergence, sought to illuminate the intersection of scientific perspectives in various disciplines and the remarkable pursuits of practical solutions to meet threats and needs. in refining this theme, we engaged corporate players, advocacy groups, researchers, thought leaders, investors and others.

Sept. 10–12, 2018

Celebrating 10 Years

Our Keynote, Dr. Mehmood Khan from PepsiCo, addressed showcase attendees on, “The Modern Consumer’s Reverse-Commute Across the Value Chain.” In addition, this year we had had robust conversations in a new format we deemed as the ‘Talk Shows’ on our Ag Showcase stage, our panelists discussed impressive topics such as “Precise Plant Nutrition” and moving across the value chain from “Farm to Plate.” 

Our 2018 AIS was the largest attendance yet of Ag industry stakeholders and we hope that you will continue to grow with us as we move to new territory in Minneapolis for 2019. 

Sept. 11–13, 2017

Food, Farm, and Feast of Data

The 2017 Showcase was sold out for the third year.

With the backdrop of mergers and consolidation going on in the agriculture industry, our keynote speaker, Adrian Percy shared an expansive view of the state of the art, the science and the challenges from the perspective of Bayer Crop Strategies.

We convened a “disruptive dialogue” to explore innovations that address soil health. For the View from the Farm we turned to next generation family farmers.

Sept. 12–14, 2016

Agriculture Inputs That Improve Environmental Outcomes and Lower Costs of Crop Production

The 2016 Showcase sold out for the second year.

We continued our exploration of global agriculture and food production issues, which included innovative solutions to food waste, and the build-up of consumer trust and social license for emerging technologies like gene editing.

We expanded the View from the Farm to include perspectives from large contract growers, California fresh produce growers, and indoor growers regarding the technical, environmental, and reputation issues that farmers are facing.

Sept. 14–16, 2015

Disruptive Dialogues

The 2015 Showcase was a sold out event featuring presenting companies from 12 countries, attendees from across the globe, and dialogues on Ag’s most pressing topics. 

Four of the presenting companies were women owned business, eight brought biological solutions to the market, and several jumped industry lines with their concepts. 

Sept. 8–11, 2014

6 Years and Counting: Looking Back and Looking Forward

The 2014 Showcase set another record and ascended to world-class status, discussing major issues facing Ag from the profile of the new modern farmer to the role of biotechnology beyond GMs.

After 6 years, the Showcase proved to be not just a conference but a community with new faces joining the ones who have attended since its inception in 2009.

Sept. 9–10, 2013

Precision agriculture: the use of biological solutions in agriculture; the development of plant-based renewables; and innovations in traditional agriculture

In 2013, the Showcase covered a diverse set of topics including sustainability and re-use, food security, precision agriculture, and the use of data in farm management. Through lively discussion, the Showcase was able to bring all of these elements together into what closing keynote speaker, Jim Budzynski, called “Ag 3.0.”

Sept. 10–12, 2012

Crossing Borders: Advancing Ag in Emerging Economies

In 2012, the Showcase attracted a record number of 11 countries, including China, India, and South Africa.

Discussions focused on the unique challenges and unprecedented opportunities for Ag in emerging markets, as well as how to drive funding in the food and agriculture industries.    

May 23–24, 2011

New Frontiers in Ag Research: Tools to Drive Discovery

In 2011, the Showcase sought to explore the unique challenges faced by members of the Agriculture industry as they continue to drive the industry forward. Discussions focused on how to develop new tools to drive innovation, challenges to Ag entrepreneurs, and how to increase investment in Ag related research. 

May 24–25, 2010

Is Agriculture the Next Clean-tech?

In 2010, the Showcase focused on the intersection between energy and agriculture. Speakers and panels discussed the myriad of ways agriculture is both affected by energy issues and how it plays a role in developing new energy alternatives. 

May 18–19, 2009

Spurring Ag Innovation Through Public Private Partnership

In its inaugural year, the Ag Innovation Showcase brought together key influencers across various sectors of the agriculture industry in order to highlight, discuss, and bring new solutions to the top issues and concerns facing the industry. We were ahead of the curve and anticipated the nexus of agriculture & data, “precision agriculture.”

Ag Innovation > The Content


Here’s a curated section of talks from Ag Showcase since 2009.


Deeper Dive was a monthly limited series that focused on the innovators and issues that are redefining global agriculture. Larta Institute has assisted and transformed over 6,000 early-stage innovations, working with entrepreneurs to help them achieve measurable goals and access specialized expertise through a unique network of industry experts and award-winning commercialization programs. 

Deeper Dive Episode 1: How Industry Leaders Are Supporting and Driving Innovation in Agriculture

Episode 1 of Deeper Dive features Kerry McNamara, CEO, OCP North America and Sara Boettiger, Head of Global Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability, Bayer. They join Rodger to discuss their companies’ work with markets around the world how they address sustainability challenges, climate change, and reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture around the world.

Themes: agriculture, crop protection, supply chain, rural development



Deeper Dive Episode 2: Carbon to Nutrition: How Sustainable Nutrient Densification can Harmonize the Ag Supply Chain

Episode 2 of Deeper Dive features Han Chen, CEO of ZeaKal, a plant traits innovator developing technologies that have been proven to increase carbon capture, improve nutrient use efficiency, elevate protein, and promote higher levels of healthier oils across several crops. To make  agriculture more responsive to the  needs of the future, we must produce more affordable, nutritious food in a sustainable way. Han Chen will discuss how agriculture can sustain productivity while enhancing nutrient density and nutrient use efficiency through improved photosynthesis.

Themes: Sustainable agriculture, nutrient density, carbon capture, supply chain, social impact, rural development

Deeper Dive Episode 3: Keeping Nutrients on the Field: Nutrient Optimization and Reducing Runoff

Episode 3 of Deeper Dive features Dan Poston, Director of Agronomy, Pivot Bio, and Jim Elser, Director, Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance. Nutrient management is a challenge in agriculture; when handled correctly, it can provide great benefit, but when mismanaged, it can result in serious consequences. Jim Elser, Director of the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance, and Dan Poston, Director of Agronomy at Pivot Bio join host Rodger Wasson to discuss how innovation can play a key role in improved nutrient optimization and how nutrient efficiency and management can reduce nutrient runoff.

Themes: Sustainable agriculture, nutrient density, carbon capture, supply chain, social impact, rural development

Deeper Dive Episode 4: How Do We Get Farmers to Take Action on Climate Change?

Episode 4 of Deeper Dive features Mitchell Hora, Farmer, Founder/CEO Continuum Ag, Co-Host of Field Work Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @Continuum_Ag

Climate change can be a sensitive and polarizing topic for farmers. In this episode, Rodger talks with Mitchell Hora founder of Continuum Ag who has first-hand experience working with farmers on adapting to more sustainable agricultural practices. Through his work, Mitchell understands the benefits and challenges that sustainable agriculture presents to farmers.

Themes: Climate change, disruptive farming practices, farmer engagement, environmental impact, the role of innovation, social impact

Deeper Dive Episode 5: Bridging the Gap Between Farmers and Innovators

Episode 5 of Deeper Dive features Danny Royer, CSO, Growth Insights. He joins Rodger to discuss how we can better bridge the gap between farmers and innovators.

Themes: Ag-tech adoption, market fit, farmer engagement, bridging the gap between farmers and innovators


Deeper Dive Episode 6: Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities of Farming Carbon

Episode 6 of Deeper Dive features Kari Hernandez, VP of Carbon Operations at Indigo Ag. She joins Rodger to discuss the challenges and opportunities for farmers looking to get into carbon credits. They discuss the role of innovation and how data collection and digital solutions can help.

Themes: carbon sequestration, farmer engagement, ag-tech adoption

Deeper Dive Episode 7: How Innovative Data Solutions Are Increasing Efficiency and Combating Climate Change in Agriculture

Episode 7 of Deeper Dive features Anastasia Volkova, CEO of Regrow. She joins Rodger to discuss scaling data collection — remote sensing, modeling, and soil sampling – and how collaboratively harnessing these tools could increase scale, quality, and accuracy, helping to create resilient and sustainable agriculture across the supply chain. Learn more about how these tools are used to impact climate change through increasing input efficiency.

Themes: Harnessing the power of data. How new technologies are helping combat climate change

Deeper Dive Episode 8: Indoor Ag: What Can Be Contained, Can Be Sustained

Episode 8 of Deeper Dive features Nicola Kerslake, Founder of Contain Inc. She joins Rodger to discuss the innovations and solutions that indoor ag can provide for our food supply chain and farming footprint. 

Themes: indoor agtech, investment trends, supply chain & farming footprint solutions, robotics,

Subthemes: AI, opportunities and insight for innovators

Our first ECO Event took place in December, 2023

Our first event in Los Angeles (December, 2023) moved beyond the pre pandemic formula of traditional VIP panels & networking — ECO provides a platform to really listen to the people and communities most in need of solutions, and identifies breakthrough innovations that can be scaled for impact.

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