Landus, Iowa’s largest farmer-owned grain cooperative, has taken a major step in ensuring farmers are at the epicenter of the future of agriculture.
Newly opened in downtown Des Moines is Landus’ first-of-its-kind Innovation Connector, an intersection of cutting-edge agriculture technology, farmers and urban audiences.
The goal of the Innovation Connector is to directly place farmers at the heart of agricultural innovation in a space that fosters collaboration and drives Iowa agriculture toward a more-sustainable future.
“Ag innovation is moving fast, and this is our opportunity to enable our farmer-owners to be at the center of that innovation and co-create the future of farming,” said Matt Carstens, Landus president and chief executive officer. “Through the launch of our Innovation Connector in Des Moines, we have the ability to create an intersection for farmers, technology companies and consumers to collaborate on the solutions of tomorrow.”
The Des Moines Innovation Connector will host farmer events that will bring at least 1,000 farmers to the downtown area each year. The events will connect farmers to global innovation leaders and give them an opportunity to leverage innovations more quickly.
Currently, 11 innovation partners will be featured at the Innovation Connector. They include AGI, Grain Weevil, Haber Technologies, CapstanAg, Drift, ChopLocal, Indigo, Yara, Sukup, Midland and Intellinair.
By also inviting urban stakeholders, Landus has created a holistic approach that brings together the key segments of agriculture – from farm to table and the technology in between.
“We’ve long felt farmers should have a greater voice when it comes to the technology they need to farm more efficiently,” said Carstens. “Placing farmers at the front line of these conversations, while inviting our urban audiences, drives that innovation at a quicker rate.”
The Innovation Connector will host programming such as startup pitch competitions and “Hackathons” while serving as the foremost hub of agricultural innovation. Consumers, city leaders and elected officials will have the opportunity to see the performance technology available to growers. And, with the exponential growth of data resources, urban audiences can collaborate with Landus farmers to learn more about food production practices and sustainability efforts.
The launch of the Innovation Connector is one of many steps the cooperative is taking to keep farmers the focus of ag innovation. In May, Landus announced a partnership with Des Moines Water Works where the two collaborate for the purpose of improving Iowa water quality.
In addition to viewing the latest in agricultural technology, farmers attending events at the Innovation Connector will be able to travel to nearby Water Works Park via bus to tour the water treatment facility and Landus’ sustainability-focused test plots within the park.