Meet the 11th Annual Ag Innovation Showcase University Partners!

Penn State, Colorado State, and the University of Missouri will present new agtech innovations alongside the Presenting Company cohort.

Larta has announced the University partners to present at the 11th Annual Ag Innovation Showcase, which has moved from its origins in St. Louis to a new home in Minneapolis. The University Showcase has, in previous years, been a special content session presented as one block. This year, the Universities will pitch their technologies according to subject block alongside the Presenting Company Cohort.

The innovations to be featured all exhibit key solutions for the challenges facing food and agriculture, and trace the arc of concerns in precise plant nutrition solutions and the future of farming, touching areas as diverse as virtual marketplaces, plant protection, soil and resource management, precision agriculture, health and nutrition and the distribution of food.


Penn State University

Penn State is working to commercialize a platform technology with applications in invertebrate pest control as well as vaccination and genetic editing of egg bearing food species (poultry & aquaculture). The platform technology (Receptor-MediatedOvary Transduction of Cargo, or “ReMOT Control”) allows for targeting of proteins (i.e. Cas9 or antibodies) into oocytes directly through the female parent. Egg bearing animals represent the majority of all animal species, and oocyte development pathways are well conserved – so this technology could have broad impacts in pest control and food production. The method enables easier and cheaper invertebrate editing – and has been used for the first editing of key disease and agricultural pests such as ticks, mosquitoes, whiteflies, and stinkbugs. Penn State is looking for strategic partners to help develop specific pest control and animal health solutions enabled by our technology.


AndroLabb is a University of Missouri startup working in collaboration with International Boar Semen (IBS). AndroLabb founders, Drs. Peter Sutovsky and Karl Kerns, are known for renowned sperm fertilization competency discoveries, and IBS is North America’s first genetic boar stud. U.S. swine herd reproductive performance is limited more by sire subfertility than dam. Today’s boar semen processing and handling techniques have been largely unchanged since the 1980s. The newly identified, but long-time existing problem, is that spermatozoa lifespan is shortened due to processing techniques, limiting overall pounds/sow/marketed. Current USDA NIFA SBIR Phase I funded development is optimizing two patented/provisionally patented intellectual properties for commercialization into the swine industry from the University of Missouri with later application to bovine and human. The core technology is a new generation of fresh boar semen extenders, positively influencing and preserving boar fertility to maximize usage of superior boar genetics across the global sow herd. Future technology commercialization includes biology and data-driven sperm fertility competency algorithms and adapting the technologies for bull studs and human fertility clinics.

Colorado State University

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Soil moisture sensors have great potential for improving irrigation scheduling, reducing water use, and enhancing crop production. However, placing a few wireless sensors in a field and linking them to real-time dashboards will not adequately solve the key problems facing water managers – namely, the need for autonomous, adaptive irrigation control systems. To make this a reality, more granular soil moisture information is needed in both time and space, preferably long-term data collected over entire regions. Only then will the potential benefits of machine learning and AI to be fully realized - and pave the way for fully autonomous “smart” irrigation. Colorado State University is developing a low-cost open-source approach to IoT soil moisture measurement that can be shared and improved upon by a community of users across a range of use cases. The focus is on the value of data analytics and AI training that could results from such a monitoring network once it reached critical coverage density. An IoT carrier board for soil moisture sensing was developed and tested in 2019 in both agricultural and landscape irrigation use cases. Results demonstrate the potential of this technology and suggest next steps for building a community-wide soil moisture network.

Tickets to the 2019 Ag Innovation Showcase are going fast. Register now to see these Universities and other incredible agriculture technologies in action!