News: AgLaunch and Farm Journal Announce 2020 Row Crop Challenge Focused on Increasing Sustainability of Row Crop Agriculture
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (July 16, 2020) – AgLaunch and Farm Journal are pleased to open applications for the 2nd Row Crop Challenge to select leading startup companies addressing the biggest problems in production agriculture. This year’s Row Crop Challenge will focus on technologies that accelerate the adoption of sustainable production practices toward the farm-of-the-future, specifically outlined in the Cotton Trust Protocol.
Up to 10 companies will be selected to participate in a virtual sprint week held November 16-20, 2020. Teams will present their refined pitch to a panel of farmers and aligned investors at the end of the sprint week. Row Crop Challenge winners earn the opportunity to participate in the AgLaunch365 accelerator, a program designed to calibrate the needs of farmers with emerging technology.
Once accepted into AgLaunch365, participants will receive $200,000 worth of programming and services from AgLaunch and its partners including possible cash investment from Innova Ag Innovation Fund and AgVentures Alliance, access to media and data support through Farm Journal, and services provided through the acceleration process.
“We’re excited for new applicants and the innovative ideas they’ll bring to the table,” Pete Nelson, Executive Director of AgLaunch, said. “We’re hoping to provide them the support that they need to continue changing technology and how it is used in the industry of agriculture.”
AgLaunch’s unique multi-year model starts with the AgLaunch365 accelerator and ends with a three-iteration on-farm trial pathway that takes ideas from proof-of-concept to peer-to-peer scale with targeted investor touch points along the way. AgLaunch365 operates in three phases over a 12-month period, ramping towards on-farm trials across the United States. Phases include:
- Phase I – Participants receive support services to refine their startup’s value proposition and prepare to pitch to row crop farmers and agricultural investors through a virtual pitch competition.
- Phase II – A panel of farmers choose up to six startups to participate in this phase, beginning January 2021. Startups will construct in-depth field trial plans while fine-tuning their business model.
- Phase III – The balance of 2021 is dedicated to implementing field trial plans with the AgLaunch Farmer Network. Participating startups typically work directly with farmers for three iterations of their technology and have exclusive access to farmer input and feedback.
Participants in AgLaunch365 will have access to the following services:
- Customized programming focused on agriculture and lean startup
- Collaborative access to Farm Journal teams and the opportunity to attend Top Producer Summit, the leading event for farmer CEOs
- Field trials and access to farmer network of leading innovative farmers including cost share opportunity
- Support from a national network of mentors and service providers
- Opportunity to showcase their technology at an investor-focused demo day in conjunction with the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show
Applications are being accepted through August 31. Start-up companies who are interested in the AgLaunch365 accelerator can apply here.