Participation in the Missouri Agri-Tech Connect Programme has provided a gateway to the St Louis agri-food ecosystem for a number of organisations in the Agri-TechE network.
The St. Louis ag-cluster is located in the heart of US agricultural production. With its vibrant grower communities, innovation centres, international ag and food corporations and centres of plant science research, the cluster offers a wealth of opportunities for collaborative projects.
Nearly 50 per cent of US crop and livestock production is located within 500 miles of St Louis so this is a good launch point for companies looking to engage with US food production.
We are delighted that the Missouri Partnership will be taking part in the International Café at REAP 2021 and asked Mark Sutherland, CMO of Missouri Partnership, about his aims for the event.
Q: Agri-TechE members have been involved in a number of missions, and since that last one there has been a change of administration in the US – have there been any interesting developments?
MS: There have been a number of changes at the national level, but very few changes at the state level. And this is a good thing. Missouri has been focused on agritech partnerships for years, including sustainability and climate change, and ensuring precision farming can provide the tools, insights and data needed to ensure we can provide the food, fuel and fiber for a growing population while ensuring we can protect the environment for future generations.
Missouri has also had an international focus for years, as exhibited in the recent agritech missions from Missouri to the UK and from Cambridge to Missouri. Organizations and companies from across Missouri are keen to build more connections across academia, R&D, commercial and governmental areas of focus.
Q: Net Zero is becoming increasingly important for agrifood value chains in the UK. What sort of trends are you seeing? Where do you see the opportunities developing?
MS: One of the things many of us discovered a few years ago is the striking similarity between what happens in the UK agritech ecosystem and what happens in the Missouri agtech ecosystem.
Vertical farming, food development, precision ag and sustainability are part of the ethos in Missouri and many organizations are focused on them. Just recently, AeroFarms announced a vertical farming project in the St. Louis region in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and the St. Louis Controlled Environment Agricultural Coalition. This new 150,000 square foot indoor vertical farm is AeroFarms’ largest to date and will increase productivity up to 390 times greater than traditional field farming, while using up to 95 percent less water and zero pesticides.
Q: The International Cafe is a new feature of REAP – what do you want to achieve at the event?
MS: Missouri is a state of partnerships. We work closely with numerous organizations from across the state, and have travelled with many of them to Cambridge in the past. There is a strong interest and desire to work together to ensure agriculture continues to become what the future needs it to become. And we look forward to being at REAP with our Missouri partners, and with our friends in the UK.
Q: It is great that Missouri Partnership is a sponsor of REAP – why did you choose REAP?
MS: The work that Agri-TechE does to build international partnerships and to provide resources to UK agritech innovators is essential to the future. We are honored to be a member of Agri-TechE and we look forward to seeing many of the people we have met before and introducing new people to the opportunities that exist between the UK and Missouri. And we are thrilled to be a sponsor of this amazing conference.
If you are interested in collaborations or opportunities for expansion in the US there will be an opportunity to discuss this with the Missouri Partnership at REAP 2021.
REAP 2021: Changing Time(s) for Agriculture – 10th November 2021
Imagine a world where agriculture is not constrained by time. The ability to manage and manipulate time is increasing and REAP 2021 will explore the advances in technology and breakthroughs in science that is making this possible.
REAP brings together people from across the agri-tech ecosystem who believe that innovation is the engine for change. The conference bridges the gap between producer needs and technology solutions and showcases exciting agri-tech start-ups.