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.
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 Showcase event will not only champion 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:
Ag Innovation > The People
Thank you to everyone who’s been a speaker since 2009.
Sarah Davidson Evanega
Dr. Steve Savage
Dr. Robert T. Fraley
Dr. James W. Budzynski
Dr. John J. Tracy
Dr. Yuri Gleba
Gregory T. Lucier
Jason Pyle, CEO
Paulo Rabello de Castro
David J. Rothkopf
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
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.
Ag Innovation Showcase
2021 Ag Innovation Showcase Taking on Conventional Wisdom: Population, Food & Reimagining the Future
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 new Eco Event is coming Q4 2023
Our first event in Los Angeles (Q4 2023) will move beyond the pre pandemic formula of traditional VIP panels & networking – Eco will provide a platform to really listen to the people and communities most in need of solutions, and shall identify breakthrough innovations that can be scaled for impact.