Agriculture Technology Innovation Summit


March 4, 2020

University of Illinois Research Park
Champaign, Illinois 

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.
Please direct any inquiries to Laura Bleill at

Stay tuned for the 2020 speaker list!
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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 farmers’ knowledge from season to season.  Developments in precision agriculture, automation and IoT are all playing a part to transform how innovations are improving productivity and sustainability. 

Investment in AgTech: Fertile Ground for New Technology
A growing global population is driving investment opportunities in AgTech. From precision agriculture to data analytics, technologies are being developed to increase productivity without continuing to tax limited resources like soil and water.  This esteemed panel of investors will cover which components of the agriculture industry they’re interested in supporting and what they hope to see in return. 

Corporations and Collaboration: Industry Leaders on the State of Agriculture
Leading agriculture executives will delve into today’s most pressing challenges and how they are looking for digital solutions to address global problems.  This panel will discuss the partnerships and technologies necessary to move agriculture forward.

The Digital Transformation of Animal Health
From small-batch diet formulation to precision animal management, technology is revolutionizing the way our world is enhancing the health and wellbeing of animals. This panel will cover how technology is being used to change the landscape of agriculture by enabling real-time decision making to enhance diet quality and production efficiency.

Insights from Growers: Preparing for the Next Generation
Agriculture is well-suited for the innovations Big Data will bring, but implementing new technology is high risk. Our panel of growers will discuss how they’re preparing to navigate labor shortages, climate change and maximizing yields as they adopt new technologies and services.

Last Year's Schedule of Events 

Tuesday March 5, 2019
USDA SBIR Workshop

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.