2019 AgTech Summit a Success

Category : Research Park
Posted on: April 12, 2019

The 2019 Agriculture Technology Innovation Summit was a success yet again, bringing together the biggest agriculture companies and brightest minds in agtech to discuss new ideas that will revolutionize the farming industry. The AgTech Summit is a collaboration between the University of Illinois Research Park, the University of Illinois, College of ACES, and the Office of Corporate Relations.


This year’s panels included those such as “Investment Landscape”, “Animal Health and Nutrition”, and “Digital Agriculture.” They were mediated by Champaign’s agtech experts, including Mark Moran, Director of the John Deere Innovation Center. In his keynote speech, Moran said that there “has been more change to ag in the last 100 years than the 10,000 years before that. Those of us that do it every day maybe don’t realize how different it is from just a century ago” (Brownfield Ag News). It’s true–the talks throughout the day explored brand new technologies such as robots and artificial intelligence and explored how they are rapidly changing farmers’ approaches to production and sustainability issues on their farms.


Another talk included University of Illinois professor Angela Green-Miller. The idea for her pig production company TellTail “originated from the idea of taking university research and translating that into tools that are immediately accessible and easily used by producers,” similar to other EnterpriseWorks startups (Brownfield Ag News). Startup TellTail was the winner of the Moore Innovation Prize this year.


Thank you to all those from the local agriculture community as well as others from all over the Midwest that attended the event. Another thank you to the moderators and panelists for sharing your time and talents. Last but not least, thanks to the AgTech 2019 sponsors–Bayer/The Climate Corporation, John Deere, ADM, and COUNTRY Financial–for your generous support of AgTech Summit 2019.


For more information on this year’s event, go here. To browse the event’s photo gallery, go here. For this year’s agenda, look below. And don’t forget to save the date for next year’s Agriculture Innovation Technology Summit on March 4, 2020.


Tuesday March 5, 2019

EnterpriseWorks Atrium, 60 Hazelwood Drive, Champaign

8:00am-12pm | USDA SBIR Workshop

5:30-7:00pm | Opening Reception

Wednesday March 6, 2019

I-Hotel & Conference Center, 1900 South First Street, Champaign

7:45am | Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:10am | Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Laura Frerichs, University of Illinois Research Park
  • Adam Davis, University of Illinois ACES
  • Frank Dohleman, The Climate Corporation

8:30am | Morning Keynote Address

  • Mark Moran, John Deere Technology Innovation Center

9:15am | 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

10:15am | Break

10:30am | 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

11:30am | 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

12:30pm | Lunch Buffet

12:50pm | Afternoon Kickoff

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

1:05pm | Lunchtime Fireside Chat

  • Laura Frerichs, University of Illinois Research Park
  • Dennis Beard, Serra Ventures
  • Dave Stanko, Nutrien/Agrible

1:45pm | Digital Agriculture

Now is the time to discuss the technologies that provide the agricultural industry with the

tools, data and knowledge to make better on-farm decisions and improve productivity

and sustainability.

  • 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.

2:45pm | Break

3:00pm | Growers Talk Back

Leading farmers and key customers for new technology developments will discuss the

challenges they face, the technologies helpful to their businesses and what types of

products they’re looking for as they continue to advance.

  • 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.