INDIANAPOLIS — Two heads are better than one, and leaders of
the agriculture community have acknowledged this by supporting the Food and
Agriculture Innovation Initiative.
The initiative, a brainchild of BioCrossroads, encourages
collaboration between public and private stakeholders.
Leaders in government, business and academia came together
recently to discuss future plans and long-term strategies. The goal is to make
Indiana a global headquarters for research and education.
“Since the inception of BioCrossroads over a decade ago, the
food and agriculture sector has been a highly innovative industry due in large
part to the remarkable set of resources that exists in our state,” said David
Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads.
“Today we are moving that focus into action by organizing a
forum in which key stakeholders ... can work together to capitalize on our
strengths to not only benefit our economy, but to help solve global challenges
the sector faces.”
Beth Bechdol, director of agribusiness strategies at Ice
Miller, will lead the initiative. The effort will be housed under the Central
Indiana Corporate Partnership and BioCrossroads.
“In the past several months, with the support of
BioCrossroads and CICP, we have traveled the state talking to many food and ag
organization who are eager to participate,” Bechdol said.
Elanco Animal Health, Beck’s Hybrids, Clabber Girl, Dow
AgroSciences, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, JBS
United and Purdue University are some of the organizations on board.
The next step is to create a sophisticated brand that will
represent the initiative, Bechdol said.
Leaders of the program will encourage collaboration between
stakeholders in strategic areas, such as nutrition and ag production. The group
also will support the formation of new agricultural companies.
“It began with a BioCrossroads report on food and
agriculture innovation, 21st-century opportunities, where they looked at how
could we better leverage the assets we have in Indiana,” said Lt. Gov. Sue
“We have many, many good companies in Indiana that are doing
great, innovative work around agriculture. When you combine that with the
resources throughout the state, synergizing those ... we see this as a
public-private partnership that we want to leverage to create this innovation
initiative,” she said.
BioCrossroads is conducting another study to quantify
innovation and the scope of Indiana’s ag industry. The report will include
numbers on the amount of patents filed, amount of money spent on research and