AgInnovation summit promotes collaboration, action for future | MyWindsorNow.com

AgInnovation summit promotes collaboration, action for future

Samantha Fox
sfox@thefencepost.com

George Seward saw first hand the necessity of agricultural education.

The corn farmer and cattle rancher grew up in Yuma, and in the 1980s, the town started to struggle, until big ag came in with a healthy dose of innovation and collaboration.

Now, Yuma is one of the top agriculture counties in the state.

Speakers at the AgInnovation Summit on Thursday at Colorado State University advocated that innovation, through the means of collaboration, should start now.

For Yuma, the time was in the '80s. The who was Monfort. The company opened a feedyard, and because of that one addition, according to Seward, land values doubled six months later.

Then the hog farms came in. And now there are three large dairies.

Recommended Stories For You

"We had to go with big ag to get the community back on its feet," he said.

According to the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture's Ag Census, Yuma was No. 1 in Colorado for the value of sales for hogs and pigs, grains, oilseeds, dry beans and dry peas; the country also was No. 1 in acres for corn for grain and amount of hogs and pigs.

The collaboration of the different agriculture industries in Yuma was an example of how multiple sectors of agriculture can come together with successful outcomes.

Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, in Thursday's concluding remarks, referred to what he calls the "global triangle" as the foundation for collaboration. The triangle includes the government, the public and companies.

Experts believe the global population will reach 9 billion in 2050. That raises the hefty question of how to produce enough to feed that many people. It's only 33 years away. But Menon, as many in the industry do, knows that responsibility falls to the agriculture industry. But collaboration is key.

"Innovation cannot take place by land grant universities by themselves to solve these problems," he said.

An example of that sort of collaboration is what The Kroger Co. is looking into. Chris Hjelm is the CIO and executive vice president of Kroger, and discussed a number of ways the company uses innovation.

But one of the collaborations outside the agriculture industry the company is working with is Uber. Hjelm said the companies are seeking ways to implement home delivery.

Uber and agriculture are not normally associated. But a collaboration such as the one emerging between Kroger and Uber is an example of the partnerships Menon called for.

Menon said innovation needs to start now to prepare for the future.

"In the end, its about the next generation," he said. "(With innovation) at least we an give them the infrastructure they need. The next generation deserves a lot more from us."

Go back to article