“True humility,” according to the Urban Dictionary, “is to see there is far greater than ourselves into who we can become, who others can become, and how much more we can do and be.” This definition perfectly describes the State of Indiana with regard to the power and potential we have to contribute to advancing Ag+Bio+Science. As a state often characterized as “humble,” the Hoosier state is uniquely poised to lead the next generation of progress. Two attributes of Indiana combine to create the synergy for Agbioscience: A business environment that embraces both science and agriculture, and a network of public and private Stakeholders catalyzed by AgriNovus Indiana working together for progress.
Indiana is indeed “A State That Works”
Although this is the broader state government “motto,” there is visible truth in these words when it comes to creating an environment for investment in Ag+Bio+Science and being an attractive magnet for talent. Embracing Midwest values (including humility) with an aggressive venture and investment posture previously only associated with East/West Coast states, the economic climate is outstanding and attractive for talent in all fields of Ag+Bio+Science. This attraction is wide and pervasive, far beyond the traditional Ag Sciences and moving into the broader fields of engineering, computing, and modeling sciences that are redefining modern agriculture. This approach can be seen from Governor Holcomb, who personally sponsors and attends delegations to numerous countries to tout the potential of Indiana for business in Agbioscience, to the Ag-friendly county and city governments such as the Hamilton County community of Fishers who welcome and incentivize innovation directly through innovate approaches such as “Launch Fishers”.
Another key attribute of Indiana is the depth + diversity that distinguishes it from other mid-America agricultural states. Yes, Indiana is strong and deep in corn and soybeans, yet it also leads in popcorn and is major in numerous specialty crops with large enterprises in tomatoes, alfalfa/hay, small grains, and all categories of livestock from ducks to swine. This diversity provides the framework necessary for Ag+Bio+Tech firms to explore and test new innovations in a wide range of environments and prototypes.
Public-Private Partnerships “Do More” when Catalyzed by the AgriNovus Indiana Community
A catalyst is an event or person/group that accelerates or creates a reaction. Ag+Bio+Science is so expansive in reach, application, and potential it clearly needs a catalyst to focus on results – that catalyst is AgriNovus Indiana. A non-profit organization with the purpose to promote and accelerate the growth of the Agbioscience community in the state, AgriNovus Indiana has indeed catalyzed a network – no, catalyzed a community – of large, small, start-up, and spin-off businesses working with world class public institutions such as Purdue University and the National FAA, along with state organizations such as the State Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development, all focused on a common purpose. AgriNovus Indiana seeks to “connect the dots” and leverage the already extensive investment in Indiana to focus on four mission areas:
- Amplify the Ag+Bio+Science Story in Indiana
- Build World Class Talent
- Activate Entrepreneurs
- Connect People + Organizations
These mission areas are clearly interdependent within the overall purpose, but the tactics and approaches may vary for impact. These include, among other approaches, an Annual AgriNovus Agbioscience Innovation Summit scheduled for November 29, 2018 with keynote speakers, workshops, and networking with over 400 leaders and practitioners across the state. Recently, AgriNovus Indiana also signed on as a Title Sponsor with the National FFA with the creation of the “Blue Room” concept whereby students can learn about the wide range of Ag+Bio+Science advances and careers in ways that are interactive and inviting – these are breakthrough approaches to reach the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, and farmers.
Beyond the activities sponsored and organized by AgriNovus Indiana, what is really catalyzed is the commitment of its members – a commitment not only to Indiana and the broader growth of Agbioscience, but a commitment to each another and the community created. Indeed, this community is focused on collective dedication and collective benefit.
Norman Borlaug, the Noble Prize winner who was credited with saving billions of people as the father of the green revolution, was quoted as saying “There are no miracles in agricultural production”. He was quite correct – there are no miracles – but a community focused on creating progress through selfless dedication to the purpose and vision of improving food security and safety surely can make a difference, just as Dr. Borlaug did with that same commitment.
Indiana, a state that works for Ag+Bio+Science, energized with the catalyst provided by AgriNovus Indiana and its many partners will make that difference. We have a story to tell!
Dr. Scott Hutchins is a Global Director of R&D at CortevaTM Agriscience, the Agricultural Division of DowDupontTM. He recently was nominated by President Trump to serve as the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics and Chief Scientist of USDA; this nomination requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate.