America’s Cultivation Corridor kicks off 10-year anniversary celebration at World Pork Expo

Venture capital funding for Iowa bioscience and agtech deals increased more than 175% in the last 10 years.

June 10, 2024

3 Min Read
National Pork Board

America’s Cultivation Corridor is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a series of events and promotions recognizing a decade of significant innovation in Iowa’s agriculture, food and bioscience industries.

“Innovation is thriving in Iowa and in our agriculture,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “New ideas, new collaborations are driving increased productivity and sustainability in our farms, communities and industries, and, most important, we’re seeing new solutions for some of the world’s

most difficult challenges.”

Leaders of America’s Cultivation Corridor kicked off the anniversary celebration with a reception in the Iowa Pork Producers Hospitality tent at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines on Thursday, June 6.

America’s Cultivation Corridor was founded in 2014 by a group of Iowa agricultural leaders to strengthen the state’s resources and focus on driving innovation and growth in the foodtech, agtech and bioproducts industries. The Corridor is governed and advised by leaders representing the food, agriculture and bioproducts industries, allied institutions and services.

Innovation leads to results. The number of Iowa-based businesses in the food and agriculture industry has increased more than 40% in 10 years and nominal wages earned by Iowa-based employees in the food and agriculture industry increased 89% in 10 years to total approximately $7.3 billion in 2022.

In the coming months, the Corridor will highlight 10 years of progress and innovation with stories and social media content focusing on “10 Ways that Iowa Innovation Makes the World Better.”

“We’re excited to share the people, products and ideas that are making a difference, from raising healthier animals and building more vibrant communities, to improving food safety and raising more productive crops,” said Kevin Rasmussen, owner of Owl Lake Production Company, member of Iowa Pork Producers Association and chair of the board of directors of America’s Cultivation Corridor. “Our rich agricultural heritage combined with forward-thinking farmers, world-class research institutions, global agricultural leaders and innovative startups make Iowa the place to be for the next generation of agricultural solutions.”

Iowa is the epicenter of global agricultural production and research, evidenced by the more than 9,500 patents that have been awarded to Iowa-based food and agriculture innovation in the last decade.

In addition to being home to long-standing, respected industry brands, entrepreneurs find unparalleled success here too. With access to potential partners as well as innovative producers, whose focus on continuous improvement provides opportunities for product testing in a real-world environment, it’s easier than ever to access funding and launch a new business venture in the state. In fact, venture capital funding for Iowa bioscience and agtech deals increased more than 175% in the last 10 years.

“Opportunity abounds. Whether you are starting a business, relocating or expanding a business or making a difference at a global company, you can do it in Iowa,” said Billi Hunt, executive director of America’s Cultivation Corridor. “With the amount of Iowa-licensed technology now used around the world and an increase in venture capital funding that is out-pacing the U.S. in total by a rate of four-to-one, the momentum is building for Iowa as the place to be for starting or growing an ag, food or bioscience business.”

Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of corn, pigs and eggs, and ranks second in total agricultural exports and soybeans. In addition, it is a top-10 producer of beef, turkeys, cheese and more. Global leaders in animal health; plant science; renewable fuels; and grain, food and meat processing all have significant presence in Iowa, and Ames-based Iowa State University is the home of some of the world’s best agricultural, engineering and entrepreneurial programs with a strong track record in partnering with founders to bring exciting new technologies to commercial reality.

Investors and partners of America’s Cultivation Corridor are working together to accelerate the development of new technologies, strengthen Iowa’s ag bioscience workforce, and attract economic development, all focused on meeting the challenge of feeding a growing world population in a sustainable way.

Stakeholders in America’s Cultivation Corridor include Iowa State University, Corteva Agriscience, Deere & Company, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Pork Producers, Kent Corporation, MidAmerican Energy Company, Ames Economic Development Corporation, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, ISG, Chevron Renewable Energy Group, Scoular and Sukup Manufacturing.

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