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AgTech Start-Ups to Compete at the 2019 Iowa Power Farming Show

We are again hosting the AgTech Innovation Competition at the 2019 Iowa Power Farming Show to help connect farmers and ranchers with technology solutions that have the potential to improve their operations.

Five startups will compete at 2:30 p.m. January 30 in Hy-Vee Hall for a $20,000 grand prize and a $5,000 people’s choice award. Each startup will pitch its solution to a problem facing agriculture. A team of judges picks the grand prize winner and audience members are invited cast their vote for their favorite innovation.

This is the third AgTech Innovation Competition, made possible with support from co-sponsors who share a commitment to the agricultural industry. The first competition was held at last year’s Iowa Power Farming Show and served as a model for a second competition at the recent Nebraska Power Farming Show.

“Everything we do at FCSAmerica, and have done over the past 100 years, is in support of agriculture and rural America. The AgTech Innovation Competition has provided a great opportunity for us to connect farmers and ranchers with technology solutions that have the potential to improve their operations, and to help our customer-owners understand how each of these companies can benefit their business,” said Dave Martin, our chief strategy officer. “We continue to work with several past contestants to connect them with farmers and ranchers in order to deliver effective technology solutions to serve agriculture producers.”

Below are the innovators competing at the 2019 Iowa Power Farming Show:



AgVend: A leader in agricultural eCommerce, AgVend is an online marketplace that enables farmers to purchase inputs and services from trusted ag retailers. AgVend doesn’t believe farmers should have to choose between fair prices and peace of mind, which is why the company works with partner retailers to sell, deliver and back purchases with the goal of saving farmers time and money.


Alexander Reichert is co-founder and CEO of AgVend. Prior to starting AgVend, Reichert was vice president of product at Mavrx, where he helped agronomic service providers maximize their value in their roles as a grower's trusted advisor. Reichert also led product for Euclid, where he worked with traditional retailers, banks, other Fortune 500 companies looking to integrate an eCommerce strategy into their existing sales channel.

FarrPro: More than 17 percent of live-born piglets die before they are weaned. Poor thermal environments are upstream of every preventable cause of piglet death. FarrPro’s premier product, the Haven, is a microclimate environment for piglets that keeps them warm, safe and healthy during the dangerous farrowing process. The Haven replaces heat lamps for indoor-raised piglets and separates their warm local environment from the much cooler ambient environment needed by the sow, improving herd health, comfort and productivity. The Haven also is more energy-efficient than conventional supplementary heating methods.

Amos Petersen, FarrPro’s CEO and co-founder, is an economics-driven technologist and electrical engineer with a passion for invention. He is the son and grandson of Iowa farmers and a serial entrepreneur wiho focuses on improving life in the rural Midwest.

Rabbit Tractors: With a belief that the value in autonomous farm equipment will do more than just decrease labor costs, Rabbit Tractors is rethinking how the tractor is designed. This "tractor of the future," the Rabbit, is a compact, multi-purposed farm robot that works in swarms to more efficiently outproduce its larger counterparts, while minimizing soil compaction, environmental damage and capital costs. With an interchangeable center platform, the first Rabbit implements are an automated soil sampler and precision sprayer.

Zack James is CEO of Rabbit Tractors. With a finance and corporate law background, he leads company strategy and customer relations. To stay true to his vision of an "open source" tractor that farmers can maintain and upgrade themselves, he personally fabricates all first prototypes.

Rantizo: The company is creating a targeted drone spraying platform that utilizes electrostatic technology to safely and precisely deliver cartridge dispensed agrichemicals when and where they are needed. The platform also provides an end-to-end solution that identifies problem areas, diagnoses field issues, autonomously prescribes treatments, sprays required agrichemicals and verifies that the issues have been addressed accurately, all through an easy-to-use hardware and software solution that generates recurring revenues through cartridge sales.



Rantizo was founded by Iowa native, chemist and venture capitalist Michael Ott in early 2018. He has assembled a team with Midwest roots, farm backgrounds and experience with some of the top names in agriculture and education to bring the Rantizo vision to life in 2019. Ott previously worked in corporate venture capital backed by Monsanto, Novozymes and Bunge and invented a patented technology that delivers small amounts of nitrogen on a rice seed as it grows.

SwineTech: Dedicated to the development of technologies that improve animal welfare, sustainability and productivity on sow farms all over the world, SwineTech offers a suite of products focused on increasing survivability by decreasing piglet crushing and stillbirths, while also tracking health, behavior and the environment. These capabilities not only drive instant savings for producers, but also provide valuable insights for many stakeholders in the swine industry.


Matthew Rooda leads the SwineTech team by leveraging a lifetime of experience in the pork industry to drive a vision, lead a team and solve real problems. Rooda graduated from the University of Iowa, with a degree in enterprise leadership and went through the pre-medicine track. In 2015, Rooda founded SwineTech, Inc. to solve the global issue of piglet deaths on farms, and has since grown the business to 15 employees. Rooda has also been named the EO National Student Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year and was selected as part of the 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 class in the category manufacturing and industry.



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