CHICAGO, Feb. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Global AgInvesting(GAI) today announced that it has formed a strategic alliance with the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program in support of its annual AgTech Nexus USA conference, which showcases the innovations and investment opportunities in the burgeoning agtech sector. This year's conference will be held in Chicago at the Standard Club, July 22-23.
"At AgTech Nexus, we have consistently featured the latest in data-driven farm management tools, advances in genetics, robotic developments, blockchain technology, predictive agriculture and AI platforms, connecting interested investors with the innovators," said Kate Westfall, chief operating officer for GAI and event director for AgTech Nexus. "This year, through co-hosting with the ISA, we will incorporate producers' voices into the conversation, bringing firsthand knowledge and bottom-line insight into the room of engaged investors. We are very excited about this collaboration."
The agtech investment landscape has exploded over the last decade, from a niche investment for opportunistic venture capitalists to a legitimate asset class. More than $1.6 billion was deployed in the sector in 2018 – as reported by a collaborative report from PitchBook and Finistere Ventures – supporting 209-plus deals.
Technology to lead change in ag
The vision of ISA, a statewide organization funded by producers through a checkoff program that collects a portion of their soybean sales proceeds, is to enable Illinois soybean producers to be the most knowledgeable, sustainable and profitable in the global marketplace. Yield is a key factor and yields continue to rise, as ISA CEO Craig Ratajczyk explained: "If Illinois were a country it would be the fourth largest soybean producer globally, and Illinois has led all states in soybean production in five of the last six years."
"Now, ISA is increasing focus on agtech and the benefits Illinois producers can realize through successful incubation and implementation of new ag technologies," Ratajczyk continued. "This focus has created the partnership with AgTech Nexus."
As environmental and nutritional awareness rise, the trade war looms and population growth continues, consumers are increasingly demanding transparency, sustainability and healthier options in their food choices. "Producers are investing checkoff dollars, looking for ways to drive top-line value for their crops to address these variables," added Ratajczyk. "Following along with our goals to be the center for technology and innovation in soybean research and development, we have partnered with the preeminent industry event – AgTech Nexus. With this, we can explore, examine and adopt the next generation of technological solutions that promise prosperity for our members, as well as make a sustainable and quantifiable difference in the sector as a whole."
Highlights of this year's AgTech Nexus include presentations and interactive panel discussions from industry experts, boots-on-the-ground visits to local farms, compelling company pitches from startup innovators, and a showcase of concepts from young entrepreneurs.
Global AgInvesting (GAI), a brand of HighQuest Group, is the world's most well-attended agriculture investment conference series and leading resource for events, research and insight into the global agricultural sector. GAI's AgTech Nexus USA, now in its fifth year, is a one-and-a-half-day conference where attendees are immersed in the innovations and investment opportunities surrounding this compelling, nascent sector that has the power to change the trajectory of the global food system. www.agtechnexus.com@agtechnexus.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is a statewide organization that strives to enable Illinois soybean producers to be the most knowledgeable and profitable soybean producers around the world. ISA represents more than 43,000 soybean producers in Illinois through two primary roles: the state soybean checkoff, and legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts. www.ilsoy.org