Landus is stretching the bounds of traditional farmer cooperative services with a new Innovation Center designed to connect its farmer-owners with developers of early stage technologies and “moonshot” ideas that are shaping the future of farming.

“The agriculture value stream is upside down today,” said Matt Carstens, president and CEO of Landus, which has about 600 full-time employees in more than 60 communities offering agronomy, grain, feed, animal nutrition and data services. “We must start putting farmers at the center of ag innovation and better connecting with outside industries and end users if we want to arrive at a more sustainable and profitable future of farming.”

Located at the Landus facility in Ralston, the Innovation Center occupies a revitalized office space to accommodate an ongoing rotation of strategic partners, emerging technology show spaces and collaboration spaces. Initial partners featured in the center are Sentera, Sukup Manufacturing, TerraClear, Enogen, Practical Farmers of Iowa and Rantizo.

A 10-acre test plot on site will host field trials dedicated to proving out new sustainability solutions and demonstrating the latest ag technologies. Rantizo showcased its ability to swarm drones over fields to treat weed and insect infestations during the Innovation Center’s launch event last month.

“Drones for agricultural applications are not the future of agriculture; they are very much a valuable tool being used in farm fields across the country now,” said Emily Carlson, marketing manager for Rantizo. “Rantizo is excited to land at the Landus Innovation Center to highlight the capabilities of drone application technology and innovation and what it can offer to elevate precision agriculture.”

In addition to the opening of the Innovation Center, the Landus has also invested in a first-of-its-kind innovation cell to redefine the future of farming around emerging technology, sustainability and long-standing farmer legacies. The Innovation Cell will bring thought leaders in science, technology and small business to collaborate with Iowa farmers at the Innovation Center and pioneer new ideas.

“As more and more industries look to us to solve the latest problems of sustainability, consumer desires, rural vitality and food security, it’s critical that we enable our farmers to actually drive innovation and co-author the solutions of tomorrow,” Carstens said. 

Landus also introduced a new GROW Solutions Center, a virtual hub of specialists that farmers can call for instant and ongoing ag answers to questions spanning from sustainability improvements to carbon markets to value-added grain programs.