Increased collaboration among Iowa business, academic and government leaders is driving greater innovations that are benefitting farmers and consumers in the United States and worldwide, Billi Hunt, executive director of America’s Cultivation Corridor, said as the group kicked off its 10-year anniversary celebration earlier this month at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines. 

The Cultivation Corrider was founded in 2014 by Iowa agricultural leaders to strengthen the state’s resources and focus on driving innovation and growth in the food tech, ag tech and bioproducts industries. 

The results have been impressive. The number of Iowa-based businesses in the food and agriculture industry has increased more than 40% in 10 years. 

In the past decade, more than 9,500 patents have been awarded for Iowa-based food and agriculture innovators, and venture capital funding for Iowa bioscience and ag tech deals increased more than 175%.

There’s been a particular emphasis on creating a vibrant start-up culture in much the same way as Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program, founded in 2006. 

“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 Hunt. “With the amount of Iowa-licensed technology now used around the world and an increase in venture capital funding that is outpacing 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.”