The first-ever Producer-Led Innovation Challenge hosted by AgriNovus Indiana is now about halfway through the four-month initiative. The challenge is designed to create new solutions that solve critical gaps in farm management software.

Farmers say there is often a disconnect between farm-specific software and consumer software, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

Like any business, farmers and agribusiness use those spreadsheet programs for data analysis and documentation.

“I think we have a lot of these tech companies out there that say, ‘There’s a problem, let’s go fix it,’” said Andy Tauer, Indiana Farm Bureau director of public policy, during the latest episode of the Ag+Bio+Science podcast. “But what might work in the tech sector may not always work on the farm.”

Tauer says the disconnect can cost farmers countless hours each year as they are forced to duplicate data from farm management software to a spreadsheet.

“When you’re out feeding cows, or are in the combine and trying to utilize the technology in real-time, I think having that collaborative conversation (between software) will just make the farmers more efficient,” said Tauer. “Because time is one of our most limiting factors on the farm today.”

The innovation competition is challenging 18 teams to find solutions to the problems.

The winning team will receive a $25,000 grand prize from the Purdue Foundry. Teams must submit their entries by December 4.

Click here to learn more about the Producer-Led Innovation Challenge.

Tauer says another challenge facing farmers is the lack of broadband internet in rural Indiana. During the upcoming session of the Indiana legislature, broadband will be a key issue Indiana Farm Bureau takes before state lawmakers.

“I think that’s the thing that that’s really been a focus or highlighted as part of this COVID situation, is the areas that are underserved and don’t have really that that bandwidth capability to really drive some of this technology to be able to utilize it at home and on the farm,” said Tauer.

To hear more of the conversation between Tauer and Inside INdiana Business host Gerry Dick on the Ag+Bio+Science podcast presented by AgriNovus Indiana, click this link. The podcast will go live on Monday morning. Until then, numerous other podcasts from AgriNovus and IIB are available.