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OVER THE COLES: AgTech Innovation Summit returns to Champaign for fifth year
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OVER THE COLES: AgTech Innovation Summit returns to Champaign for fifth year


CHAMPAIGN — The brightest minds in agtech will convene Wednesday, March 4 for the fifth annual AgTech Innovation Summit hosted by the University of Illinois Research Park and presented by Bayer and The Climate Corporation.

The AgTech Innovation Summit features a unique mix of investors from throughout the Midwest, large corporations, prominent academics and startups to provide a well-rounded perspective on the future of AgTech. Attendees will explore how technology solutions are addressing some of the most significant challenges facing agriculture today.

2020 began with above normal temperatures and precipitation

“Over the past five years this event has grown from a regional conference to draw national participants from across the ag value chain,” said Laura Frerichs, executive director of the University of Illinois Research Park. “We have seen first-hand how this type of talent in a room together can advance the agtech sector in Champaign-Urbana and well beyond.”

Attendees will also hear from executives leading the agtech industry including Cargill’s Chief Technology Officer Keith Narr, Land O’Lakes Chief Technology Officer Teddy Bekele, and The Climate Corporation’s Chief Science Officer Sam Eathington.

Multiple faculty members from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) will present throughout the event, with ACES Dean Kimberlee Kidwell moderating a session on the state of agriculture with industry leaders in the afternoon.

New this year to the AgTech Summit is the AgTech Showcase and Networking Reception immediately following the event. The AgTech Showcase is an opportunity to connect with Research Park companies, discover innovative technologies, and network with industry leaders.

The complete agenda is available online at

The Showcase is free and open to the public, regardless of attendance at the AgTech Summit; see first-hand how technology is affecting the agricultural industry.

The event will take place at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign. Register online at

The AgTech Summit and programmed by the University of Illinois Research Park in partnership with the Office of Corporate Relations and the College of ACES. The generous sponsors who make the AgTech Summit possible include: Bayer and The Climate Corporation, John Deere, Kin + Carta, Google Cloud, Corteva, COUNTRY Financial, AGCO, Land O’Lakes, and the Illinois Center for Digital Agriculture.

Farm Focus: A look at agriculture — past present and future

The JG-TC's annual Farm Focus special section highlights the challenges faced by farmers in 2019, the past 10 years and a look ahead to 2020 and beyond. Check out our coverage:

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Wet weather, trade wars, ethanol battles, continued climate and water quality discussions, and a parade of Democratic presidential candidates beginning their trek toward the White House were all major issues for farmers last year.


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The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural and forestland producers. To participate, producers can apply for EQIP throughout the year.

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