Sept. 11-13, 2017 | St. Louis, MO

The Ag Innovation Showcase is an intimate event that gathers the most influential and forward thinking minds in agriculture to incite industry-changing discussion around key themes. Each year, our goal has been simple but ambitious: to bring together thought leaders focused on issues of predominant interest to both the agricultural industry and society as a whole.

Opening Keynote: Adrian Percy of Bayer AG, Crop Science, Shaping the Future of Farming Through Innovation & Collaboration

The Crop Science division of Bayer shares how innovation and collaboration are essential to solving the global agriculture and food challenges that society faces today. Through a combination of novel R&D discovery, external partnerships, investment in disruptive technology and open innovation tools, Bayer is working today to shape the future of farming.

To view Dr. Percy's Slide Deck, please click here.

Adrian  Percy

Adrian Percy Head of Research & Development Bayer AG, Crop Science

Spotlight 1: View from the Farm

With an eye toward innovation adoption, a new generation farmer shares his views on what excites him for the future of his family’s Midwest farm. He will share with us what innovations he has adopted and what problems that need to be addressed by small and big agriculture.

Garret Riekhof

Garret Riekhof 5th Generation Farmer GR Farms

Spotlight 2: Food Labeling Strategies

Transparency Matters to Consumers - Product Data Science is the Key - 


Over the past year, Label Insight research has highlighted the importance of product transparency and the implications for both consumers and manufacturers.


A recent study reported that two-thirds of consumers find it challenging to decipher if a product meets their dietary needs, and half of shoppers (48%) feel that they are “not informed at all” about products, even after reading the product label. As a result, these shoppers turn to the Internet to seek out answers in an attempt to combat the lack of transparency manufacturers provide. The question manufacturers need to ask themselves is: What information will consumers find when they search for my products online?


The most successful brands today, are the one who take a proactive approach to transparency in order to satisfy consumer needs. These brands are finding that product transparency is more than a nice to have, it has a real and lasting impact on their bottom line, leading to to increased brand loyalty and perceived brand worth. 94% of consumers are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency and 73% of say they would be willing to pay more for a transparent product.


In this session, Patrick Moorhead, CMO of Label Insight, will explore the implications of these findings and share what manufacturers can do to take a strategic approach to product transparency.

Patrick Moorehead

Patrick Moorehead Chief Marketing Officer Label Insight, Inc.

Spotlight 3: Vestaron’s Bioinsecticides – Putting the Pieces Together

Vestaron specializes in isolating the non-toxic components of venoms for use as insecticides.  Our first series of products, based on a component of spider venom, will be ready for commercialization in late 2017 or early 2018.  We’ll describe what it took to get us here!

John Sorenson

John Sorenson President & CEO Vestaron

Spotlight 4 & 5: Data and Machine Learning in the Great Outdoors & Data and Machine Learning Inside the Bubble

Is data the next currency for agriculture?  What will it take for machine learning and data to go beyond describing “what is the situation on the ground or in the house” to predicting performance and prescribing decisions?  What can outdoor commodity farming and indoor high value crop farming learn from each other?

To view Bill Danker's presentation click here

Nicola Kerslake

Nicola Kerslake Founder Newbean Capital

Bill Danker

Bill Danker Domain Head for Biotech and Breeding - Seeds Research and Product Development Syngenta

Spotlight 6: View from the Farm

Stearns County, Minnesota is home to the fictional Lake Wobegon, and the very real heart of dairy country, where Jenn Wagner-Lahr’s family farm operates. She brings a unique perspective as someone who professionally promotes value-added ag and also runs a family dairy farm. Learn how a typical dairy operation in central Minnesota works, and understand how one farming family approaches local and global opportunities and challenges.

Jen  Wagner-Lahr

Jen Wagner-Lahr Senior Director of Innovation AURI

Disruptive Dialogue: Soil Health and Input Management

Moderated by: Pete Nelson, AgLaunch

Different voices will explore trends and issues with soils and inputs. What is soil health?  What inputs are critical, how are they being managed on farms?  How do management practices and inputs interact to determine sustainable yields?  How is big data and machine learning impacting decisions on farm and input management?

Nicholas Goeser

Nicholas Goeser Director National Corn Growers Association

Poornima Parameswaran

Poornima Parameswaran Co-Founder & President Trace Genomics

Steve Swaffar

Steve Swaffar Executive Director No-till on the Plains

Pete Nelson

Pete Nelson President & Executive Director AgLaunch

C. Ryan Bond

C. Ryan Bond VP - Strategic Marketing & Innovation Koch Agronomic Services

Special Content Session: Meet the Canadian Delegation (Invitation Only)

Monday, September 11 from 10:30am-12:30pm at the Langenberg Theater

This Special Content Session is organized by the Canadian Consulate

This “first look” session is your introduction to the six innovative companies that make up this year’s Canadian delegation to the Ag Innovation Showcase. Their disruptive technologies can yield better results in greenhouses, make livestock healthier, increase efficiencies in hiring seasonal labor, and make the food chain safer. The first half of our program will be dedicated to mini-pitches so you can learn about the companies and their goals.

During the second hour, you will have a chance to meet and talk with the entrepreneurs in a speed-dating session.

Contact Alexis Roy, Christina Connelly or Chris Bigall with any questions.

Disruptive Dialogue: Closing Insights and Future Trends

Key members of the Ag Innovation Showcase reflect on insights from this year’s 2017 Showcase and highlight current trends in food and agriculture and predicts what to expect for next year’s 2018 Showcase.

Han Chen

Han Chen CEO ZeaKal Inc.

Vonnie Estes

Vonnie Estes Independent Consultant Independent Consultant

Jacqueline Heard

Jacqueline Heard Venture Partner Anterra Capital

Ron Meeusen

Ron Meeusen Managing Director Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, LLC

Mat Müller

Mat Müller Ag Biotech Business Development Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

Matthew Crisp

Matthew Crisp CEO and Co-founder Benson Hill Biosystems

Special Content Session: Early-Stage Technologies for High Throughput Phenotyping and Digital Agriculture

Tuesday, September 12 from 3:20-5:10pm at the Langenberg Theater

This Special Content Session is organized by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)

This session features several early-stage innovations that could transform the efficiency and effectiveness of plant breeding and crop management. Innovations include sophisticated sensor suites on autonomous and semi-autonomous ground and aerial platforms; machine learning algorithms for recognizing biologically and economically important plant features; and data mining and crop modeling tools for analyzing these features and identifying associated genes. These technologies are initially being used for the development of improved varieties of energy sorghum, but they can be readily extended to other fuel, food, feed, and fiber crops. Cross-functional teams will present 10 innovations they are developing with support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and its Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) program. ARPA-E provides R&D funding to early-stage technologies that could fundamentally change the way we generate, use, and store energy. These teams will also be exhibiting their technologies in a reserved space at the Danforth Center, which session attendees are invited to visit.

Participating institutions:

Blue River Technology

Carnegie Mellon University

Carolina Seed Systems, LLC

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Near Earth Autonomy

Purdue University

Texas A&M University

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

More information about ARPA-E and the TERRA Program: The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) at the U.S.

Department of Energy provides R&D funding to early-stage technologies that could fundamentally change the way we generate, use, and store energy. ARPA-E’s TERRA program integrates plant genetics, information technology, and robotic sensors in order to accelerate year-over-year yield gains, stimulate discovery of crop traits that improve water productivity and nutrient use, and enable development of crops that are sustainable, affordable, and provide abundant bioenergy feedstocks.

Special Content Session: Argentina, Ideas that Feed the World

Tuesday, September 12 from 3:20-5:10pm at the AT&T Auditorium

This Special Content Session is organized by Argentina Investment & Trade Promotional Agency

Argentina is well known for its capability of producing food for almost ten times its population and of feeding the world for decades. But Argentina is also famous for its human talent, entrepreneurial ecosystem and disruptive innovation. If you want to know more about Argentina’s expanding AgTech Ecosystem, our biggest and world-renowned agro-companies, as well as disruptive ventures, accelerators, government plans and business opportunities involving Argentina and the United States, do not hesitate to join us at the AT&T Theatre this Tuesday at 3:20pm!

Special Content Session: Partnering with Strategics: Research and Commercial Collaborations, and Equity Investments

Tuesday, September 12 from 3:20-5:10pm at the Danforth Library

This Special Content Session is organized by Sidley Austin LLP

This session will focus on important issues for corporate venture capital and entrepreneurs to consider in entering into strategic partnerships (financial and commercial).

Panelists are:

• Dan Cosgrove, DuPont Pioneer

• Matthew Crisp, Benson Hill Biosystems

• Josh Hofheimer, Sidley Austin

• Sandi Knox, Sidley Austin

• Eran Kosover, Evogene

• David Pierson, Syngenta Ventures

• Ryan Rakestraw, Monsanto Growth Ventures

Special Content Session: Accelerating Food and Agriculture Innovation through Public-Private Partnerships

Wednesday, September 13 from 8:30-10:00am at the Langenberg Theater

This Special Content Session is organized by Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR)


Join the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) for a special session exploring the benefits of public-private partnerships in agricultural research. The goal of this session is to bring together entrepreneurs with research needs, innovative researchers, and potential funders to learn how they can work together on groundbreaking projects. The Crops of the Future Collaborative, an international, multi-partner consortium led by FFAR to accelerate crop development, will be featured.


This two-hour session will include a brief introduction to FFAR’s unique public-private partnership model. The program will end with a question and answer segment followed by the chance to network with FFAR staff and other session attendees.


Learn more about FFAR: | Follow us on Twitter: @FoundationFAR

Special Content Session: Doing Good and Doing Well: Industry, Government and Not-for-Profit Collaborations

Wednesday, September 13 from 10:30am-11:30am at the Langenberg Theater

This Special Content Session is organized by Bryan Cave LLP

The path for creating partnerships that connect private and public sectors to drive commercial success is multi-dimensional. Aligning needs and technology with ideas doesn’t happen organically, it takes time and effort to identify each opportunity. Please join Matt Colgan, Engineering Manager with Blue River Technology, Joe Cornelius, Program Director at ARPA-E, Christopher Topp, Assistant Member and Principal Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Warren Shafer, Vice President Global R&D and Regulatory Affairs, Valent Biosciences and moderated by Powell Carman, a Partner and Co-Leader of the Agribusiness and Food Practice at Bryan Cave as they discuss how you can find support in new areas to knock down and push through the barriers.

PARTICIPANTS FOR SPECIAL CONTENT SESSION: MODERATOR; POWELL CARMAN, Partner and Co-Leader of the Agribusiness and Food Practice Bryan Cave LLP PANELISTS: MATT COLGAN, Ph.D., Engineering Manager Blue River Technology JOE CORNELIUS Ph.D., Program Director Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy U.S Department of Energy WARREN SHAFER, Ph.D., Vice President Global R&D and Regulatory Affairs Valent Biosciences CHRISTOPHER N. TOPP, Ph.D., Assistant Member and Principal Investigator Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

University Showcase: Research Institutions Highlight Earliest Stage Innovations

Wednesday September 13 from 9:00-11:00am at the AT&T Auditorium

This Special Content Session is organized by Technology Acceleration Partners (TechAccel). 

The Ag Innovation Showcase brings the second year of a Special Content Session to showcase early stage innovations coming out of UniversitiesThese teams will also be exhibiting their technologies in the main auditorium at the Danforth Center, with an advance panel discussion.

Panel Discussion with: Michael Helmstetter (TechAccel), Scott Horner (Middleland Capital), Karen Studer-Rabeler (Michigan State University), Bob Morris (AndMore Associates), and Zachary Ellis, Jr. (The Ohio State University)


The participating institutions:

Michigan State University: Project Name: Biodegradable Slow-Release Plugs for Trunk Injection of Pesticides

Presenter:  John Wise, PhD

Purdue University in collaboration with Purdue Foundry: Project Name: Feast of Data: Forecast & Visualizations

Presenter: David S. Ebert, PhD

University of Illinois: Project Name: PETROSS: Plants Engineered To Replace Oil with Sugarcane and Sorghum

Presenter: Ank Michielsen

University of Missouri: Project Name:  Increasing Seed Oil Content by Improving Enzyme Complex Activity

Presenter: Dr. Jay Thelen,PhD

University of Tennessee: Project Name: SHRIMP: System for High-throughput Robotic Extraction and Manipulation of Protoplasts Presenter: Scott Lenaghan

Regulatory Update

Ms. Kulkarni provided regulatory policy insights for a panel that continued an ongoing Ag Showcase exploration of frontiers and challenges of gene editing, for the 2016 Ag Showcase.  She returns to provide a short update on the "Coordinated Regulatory Framework for Biotechnology" as the FDA, USDA, and EPA have proposed changes this year to each agency will address gene editing.

Deepti Kulkarni

Deepti Kulkarni Associate Sidley Austin LLP