The virtual REAP Conference 2021, held on November 10, 2021, was an excellent opportunity to take stock of the latest innovations in agriculture and what the future holds for the sector.
In Missouri, agtech is big business. Agriculture is a $94 billion industry, providing employment for more than 456,000 people.
REAP 2021 was an important networking event for Missouri. Missouri Partnership has been attending the event, which is hosted in Cambridge, England, in-person and virtually for the past three years. I attended to learn more about what’s happening in the global agtech industry and to speak during one of the sessions. I had the opportunity to share his insights on the nexus of agtech and geospatial alongside Missouri’s 39 North Agtech Innovation District and the UK’s Wyld Networks in the REAP International Café.
Missouri is the global leader in agtech, and its reputation has attracted companies including Bayer Crop Science, BASF, KWS, Boehringer Ingelheim, Smith Seed Services, and Ostara to the state.
The benefits for the agtech industry in Missouri include:
- Rich natural resources: including crop and livestock diversity, an abundant water supply, and excellent soil quality
- The establishment of unique plant science and animal health clusters to further research and develop innovative technology. These are led by organizations including Danforth Plant Science Center, Bayer Crop Science, Boehringer Ingelheim, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Yield Lab, BioSTL, 39 North and KCADC.
- So much agricultural product is shipped via river barge from Missouri along the Mississippi River that it is known as the “Ag Coast” of America
- Missouri has an abundance of world-class talent to support the agtech industry, with universities offering advanced plant science degrees
- Nearly 50% of U.S. crop and livestock production is located within 500 miles of St. Louis
The theme of the most recent REAP conference – ‘Changing Time(s) for Agriculture’ – fully resonates with the latest developments in Missouri’s agtech sector.
For example, in 2021, the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources opened its first Center for Regenerative Agriculture in Columbia, MO.
The center is enhancing research, education, and extension impacts in agriculture and food systems, and creating a focal point for regenerative agriculture
Elsewhere in the state, agtech firm Benson Hill opened a new agtech innovation facility with the aim to massively expand its ability to test and develop plant-based food and ingredients products. The new 47,000 square foot research and development facility includes infrastructure to advance the company’s product development efforts. Technology inside the facility includes growth houses and chambers, additive carbon dioxide, and temperature, humidity, and lighting controls.
In Missouri, the future of agtech is happening today.
Benefits of Moving or Expanding Your Agtech Business to Missouri
There are a host of reasons why Missouri makes sense as the newest home for your agtech business.
- An established and robust statewide agtech ecosystem
- Opportunities to work with other industries
- Relatively low cost of living compared to many other states
- Centrally located, it’s easy to travel to other parts of the country
- Missouri has the second-lowest corporate income tax rate in the U.S. and the most business-friendly tax structure
- A large agtech talent pool ready to support your growth
From smart farming, input optimization, and precision agriculture to biologicals, breeding, green chemistry, and a fully developed agtech infrastructure, they’re all in Missouri.
Learn more about our agtech industry here. And then come visit.