Agriculture Technology Innovation Summit


March 4, 2020
University of Illinois Research Park
Champaign, Illinois 

Before you settle in for a long winter's nap, please register for the next AgTech Summit taking place on March 4, 2020 at the I-Hotel and Conference Center. You can register by clicking here

Join us to explore how technology solutions are addressing some of the most significant challenges facing agriculture today - and learn about what is on the horizon. One of the premier AgTech hubs in the nation, Champaign-Urbana is uniquely positioned to bring together entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and industry for learning, networking and advancing this sector.

The 2020 AgTech Summit will include panels and discussions on how Big Data is modernizing the agriculture value chain, investment in AgTech, industry leaders on the state of agriculture, the digital transformation of animal health and how growers are preparing for future generations.  The event will conclude with an AgTech Showcase and Networking event from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. immediately following the summit. 

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. We will do our best to accommodate your preferences but can not make any guarantees. 

Please direct any inquiries to Laura Bleill at

2020 Panels 

Big Data in Agriculture: Modernizing the Value Chain
This panel will discuss the latest innovations maximizing data-driven insights in order to enhance producer decision making from season to season.  Advancements in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, and IoT are being integrated to improving productivity and sustainability. It will bring together a broad set of perspectives on how analytics – once a novelty in agriculture – has become ubiquitous in all aspects of the industry

Investment in AgTech: A Maturing Industry? 
While still a niche industry in the overall venture capital market, investment in foodtech and agtech startups has grown exponentially since 2012 – reaching $17 billion in 2018, according to AgFunder. This panel of experienced AgTech investors will discuss how the industry continues to “mature”, what technologies are attracting the most interest, why and what they hope to see in return.  

Corporations and Collaboration: Industry Leaders on the State of Agriculture
Leading agriculture corporate executives will delve into today’s most pressing challenges, and the variety of ways that digital solutions are shifting the conversation away from just rehashing problems to implementing solutions.  This panel will discuss strategies including (but not limited to) collaborations within industry; outsourcing innovation to startups; and partnering with academic institutions to advance their corporate technology portfolios. 

The Digital Transformation of Animal Health
From small-batch diet formulation to precision animal management, technology is revolutionizing the health and productivity of animals, from husbandry to nutrition, production and distribution. This panel will focus on various aspects of how digital information will continue to impact the future of animal health advancements.

Insights from Growers: Preparing for the Next Generation
Growers are on the “front lines” of bringing farming from the industrial age into the digital age, at a record pace. From land management to machinery to maximizing inputs, growers are not only balancing the need to adapt, but also how to make farming viable for the next generations. Our panel of growers will discuss how they’re navigating labor shortages, climate change and maximizing yields as they adopt new technologies and services.

2020 Agenda

Wednesday March 4, 2019 
7:30am: Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00am: Welcome and Opening Remarks 
8:35am: Morning Keynote Address
9:30am: Panel #1
10:15am: Break
10:30am: Panel #2
11:20am: Panel #3
12:05pm: Lunch Buffet
12:35pm: Afternoon Kickoff and Moore Innovation Prize
1:10pm: Lunchtime Fireside Chat
2:00pm: Break
2:15pm: Panel #4
3:05pm: Panel #5
3:35pm: Closing Remarks
4:00pm: AgTech Showcase and Networking Event

*Panels and agenda are subject to change.

Last Year's Schedule of Events 

Tuesday March 5, 2019
USDA SBIR Workshop

MWIN I-Corps Industry Connect Event

Opening Reception

Wednesday March 6, 2019 
Registration & Continental Breakfast

Welcome & Opening Remarks 
- Laura Frerichs, University of Illinois Research Park
- Adam Davis, University of Illinois ACES
- Frank Dohleman, The Climate Corporation

Morning Keynote Address
- Mark Moran, John Deere Technology Innovation Center

Collaborations Between Startups & Corporations
Learn more about the important symbiotic relationship between entrepreneurs and established companies in order to implement new products.
- Roger Vanhoy, University of Illinois Corporate Relations
- Mark Fincham, John Deere
- Tim Kuehlorn, Nutrien Ag Solutions
- Kirsten Skogerson, Bayer Crop Science
- Scott Wilkin, University of Illinois National Center for Supercomputing Applications


Investment Landscape
AgTech investments are growing rapidly. Key elements include biotech, software & IoT, robotics and automation and commodity platforms. This panel will cover how this is impacting the agricultural industry.
- Nancy Sullivan, Illinois Ventures
- Connie Bowen, The Yield Lab
- Tim Foote, Flyover Capital
- Kevin McCurren, Michigan State University 
- Corbett Kull, Tillable
- David Pierson, Syngenta Ventures

Animal Health & Nutrition
Industry leaders will highlight the teamwork between academia, startups and businesses to advance new ways to ensure a safe food supply and enhance the well-being of animals.
- Rod Johnson, University of Illinois College of ACES
- Angela Green-Miller, TellTail
- Lena Head, AGCO/GSI
- Ryan Lane, ADM
- Bruce Taillon, Elanco

Lunch Buffet

Afternoon Kickoff

- Sponsor remarks, Ryan Lane, ADM
- Moore Innovation Prize Presentation

Lunchtime Fireside Chat
- Laura Frerichs, University of Illinois Research Park
- Dennis Beard, Serra Ventures
- Dave Stanko, Nutrien/Agrible

Digital Agriculture
- Robert Brunner, University of Illinois
- Lance Brown, AGCO Grain & Protein
- Eric Barnard, Granular
- Kelly Gillespie, Bayer Crop Science
- Chris Dempsey, Case IH
- Robert Lubben, Rabo AgriFinance
- Chinmay Soman, EarthSense
- Rebeccah Stay, Cargill, INC.


Growers Talk Back
- Chris Harbourt, Research Park Entrepreneur In Residence
- Jason Little, Nutrien Ag Solutions
- Matt Barnard, Barnard Farms
- Heath Huisinga, Huisinga Farms
- Ken Dalenberg, Scattered Acres Farm
- Josh Plunk, Plunk Brothers, Inc.

Watch videos of the 2019 keynotes and panels here.