The director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture says he has ‘never seen the stars aligned’ as they are now for Indiana’s agbiosciences sector. Ted McKinney says the diverse nature of the industry holds enormous potential for communities of all sizes statewide. "When people go down the interstate, they think corn, soy, pork and poultry, but wow, we are much more than that," said McKinney on Inside INdiana Business Television. "We are top 5 or 6 in most of the commodity items and if you take everything that feeds into that you’ve got a heck of a food chain that we can build upon." This week, business, industry and thought leaders will attend the first Indiana AgBiosciences Innovation Summit at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.
The Thursday event will put a spotlight on an industry that employs nearly 70,000 Hoosiers with wages that are more than 30 percent higher than the state average. They include the types of jobs communities nationwide are aggressively seeking. "The R&D for these companies is huge," said Agrinovus Senior Director Brian Stemme. There’s almost as many patents in the agbiosciences as the life sciences so there is a lot of very sophisticated work going on," said Stemme.
Private sector-led Agrinovus was formed one year ago to spur collaboration and innovation in the state’s $16 billion agbiosciences industry and to help foster the creation of new companies. It is supported by a broad base of corporate members and a high-profile executive steering committee.
Among the organization’s accomplishments in its first year: providing support for emerging Hoosier companies. "We’ve been working very hard to get our startups connected with venture capital firms, both in state and out of state," said Stemme. "It’s very important to get them with the fuel they’re going to need to grow."
This week, Agrinovus will also announce plans to address a key issue they are hearing about from the ag community: workforce. A detailed talent and workforce study will "give us a sense of our current workforce and where we have gaps and where we need to focus for the future," said Stemme.
Indiana AgBiosciences Innovation Summit
Thursday, December 10, 2015, 1:00 – 6:30 p.m
JW Marriott Hotel
White River Ballroom
10 S West Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204