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Common Ground
Farm Credit Services of America Blog

AgTech Start-Ups to Compete in Our Second Ag Innovation Pitch

by FCSAmerica Staff Reports | Nov 19, 2018

UPDATE
ChorCheck won the grand prize of $20,000. The people's choice award of $5,000 went to HitchPin.


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In pursuit of Farm Credit Services of America’s vision to be agriculture's most valued financial partner, we actively engage, support and collaborate with the growing community of innovators focused on agriculture and agtech.

One way we do this is by showcasing companies with solutions that can help both our customer-owners and the industry as a whole. Six start-ups in the agtech community will compete December 5 in our second Ag Innovation Pitch Competition, held as part of the 2018 Nebraska Power Farming Show.

Our Ag Innovation Pitch is focused on solutions that have the potential to improve the lives of farmers and ranchers, including the more than 50,000 customers we serve. The six startups compete at 2 p.m. in Pavilion 2 East. Chad Moyer, KTIC Radio farm director, will emcee.

A $20,000 grand prize will be awarded by our co-sponsors Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Innovation Campus and Rain and Hail. The audience will help select the winner of our $5,000 People’s Choice Award, funded by CoBank, Farm Credit Leasing and the Nebraska Corn Board.

Below are the competing innovators and their products:

Product

Innovator(s)

ChorChek: Changes the way farmers and producers manage their daily tasks by streamlining their processes and data collection. ChorChek uses blockchain technology and small data to streamline your processes and data collection. They work here to make your chores as simple as humanly possible and help ensure they’re taken as accurately as a saint. The technology on farms have advanced tenfold, but our recordkeeping is extremely lagging.

 

Lukas Fricke graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015 before returning to the family farm near Ulysses, also dealt with those challenges, and saw an opportunity to simplify the process and improve transparency in livestock production.

FarmAfield: Historically, agricultural investments such as cattle have only been accessible to investors with significant capital, industry expertise, and direct connections to producers. FarmAfield has removed those barriers by cultivating relationships with trusted producers, leveraging technology to bundle smaller investments into larger ones, and compiling industry data that will drive higher returns. The result is an online marketplace that gives investors access to a new asset class and producers access to a new source of risk capital.

 

 

Mitch Minarick founded FarmAfield after an agricultural development trip to Africa helped him better understand how vulnerable agricultural systems can be without adequate support, and how often critical tools and support systems in developed countries are taken for granted or neglected. The rapid proliferation of cell phones and data access in rural areas around the world opens many possibilities for farmers and ranchers to connect to new markets and tools, and FarmAfield was founded to help foster these connections. John Elliott brings a rich collection of experiences to the table as FarmAfield’s chief operating officer. He was raised on a small family farm, studied communication at the University of Illinois, taught public school in inner city Atlanta, and most recently launched a thriving church in Champaign-Urbana. These experiences have greatly enriched John’s understanding of human nature and cultivated a deep passion for helping teams achieve their full potential.

Farmland Finder: From the beginning, FarmlandFinder set out to discover new ways to make finding land information easy and enjoyable for farmland professionals. They are dedicated to empowering farmland professionals with data, insights and knowledge about the land market, while connecting them with the right people at the right time. The team believes in a future where 100 percent of the world's farmland information is accessible and it is on a mission to make that happen.

 

Steven Brockshus leads the FarmlandFinder team, setting the vision, building the brand and growing relations with customers and stakeholders. Steven was raised on a 5th generation family dairy farm in Northwest Iowa and is a former National FFA Officer. He received his B.S. in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University.

HitchPin: Using advanced technology similar to Airbnb and Uber (two of the fastest growing private companies), HitchPin help monetize underutilized capacity in agriculture by connecting farmers who need a service or product to those who can provide it. Farmers can use the HitchPin app to hire a custom harvest crew or purchase hay in seconds. They can also post their services or products to sell in minutes. HitchPin was founded to help farmers stay in business by generating more revenue from the equipment they have or to save money by hiring services for less than the cost of owning equipment.

 

Trevor McKeeman, CEO and founder of HitchPin, has 20-plus years of agricultural, technology and startup experience. He was a technology and strategy consultant for Andersen Consulting/Accenture, then led legislative policy efforts for U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran in agriculture, technology and banking. Since then, he has founded three tech companies and helped lead three others. Trevor grew up farming near Abilene, Kansas, and is a graduate of Kansas State and the Sloan Fellows program at MIT.

Quantified AG: A precision livestock analytics company, Quantified AG provides feedlot workers with the tools to identify sick animals sooner and more accurately. Through early detection, Quantified Ag’s technology helps dramatically reduce costs by lowering re-treatment rate and death loss ,and getting animals back to peak performance faster.

 

Vishal Singh, CEO and Founder of Quantified Ag, was born and raised in his formative years in the metropolitan city of New Delhi, India. His family moved to a small farming community in Nebraska in the mid 1980s. This was his first exposure to the world of agriculture.

Tillable: Forty percent of US farmland is rented, creating a $32 billion a year market. However, very little data on pricing and relative performance exists, leading to a very inefficient market.Tillable was created to introduce data transparency to this market and make it more efficient to the benefit of all parties. The Tillable marketplace will provide price discovery, unprecedented access to new land, and information management to all parties, in one easy to use platform.

 

Corbet Kull is a Chicago-based entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience. Prior to starting Tillable, Corbett was the head of Chicago operations for the Climate Corporation and Sr. Director of Engineering. He was responsible for engineering teams in Chicago, Morton, IL, Seattle, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. His team created the FieldView Drive which is one of the most rapidly adopted technological innovations in agriculture. He has an MBA in Marketing from Illinois Institute of technology and a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

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