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Ag Innovation Showcase to Explore Precise Plant Nutrition Solutions

When the Ag Innovation Showcase debuted back in 2009, it brought together key influencers across myriad sectors of agriculture. Its goal – to highlight, discuss, and bring new solutions to the top issues and concerns facing the industry. 

“We were ahead of the curve and anticipated the nexus of agriculture and data,” says Larta Institute CEO Rohit Shukla.

Through the years, the event has explored biofuels, biomaterials, biotechnology, animal health, alternative proteins, new sources of food, and it has showcased 186 innovators. 

In its 10th year, the theme for 2018 will be promoting nutrition and sustainability. The Ag Innovation Showcase, which will take place September 10 to 12 in St. Louis, Missouri, will tackle these four key questions:

  1. How do enablers of precision agriculture and farm data aggregators incorporate soil and plant diagnostics to get smarter about nutrient recommendations?
  2. How do growers and producers of novel foods look to increase the nutritive value of plants as the basis of their offerings?
  3. What are some innovative approaches to soil diagnostics?
  4. Given consumer trends, how do you increase transparency across the food chain?

Some of the industry leaders, early stage companies, investors and other stakeholders committed to food and agriculture innovation throughout the value chain tapped to answer these questions include:

Dr. Mehmood Khan, MD
PepsiCo vice chairman and chief scientific officer of Global Research and Development  

Mehmood Khan

During his tenure at PepsiCo, Dr. Mehmood Khan has led the company to become the leader in innovation for the food and beverage industry while at the same time transforming its portfolio. Today, nearly 25% of the company’s net revenue comes from its “everyday nutrition” brands that make healthy eating an easier choice for consumers.

As the opening keynote speaker for the Ag Innovation Showcase, Khan will talk about food’s journey from table to farm and the modern consumer’s reverse commute across the value chain.

Chris Chinn
Director, Missouri Department of Agriculture

Chris China

A fifth-generation Missouri farmer, Chris Chinn has been a trailblazer in ag advocacy. She has established her brand through social media and public speaking. Over 10,000 people follow her blog and on Twitter to learn more about her family’s farm.

Named director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture in January 2017, Chinn has held leadership positions in agriculture on the local, state, and national level for more than 12 years, working to move the state’s agriculture industry forward.

Her efforts on and off the farm have not only allowed her to stand up for both rural and urban Missouri and bridge the gap between farmers and consumers, but they have also contributed to the advancement of the state’s No. 1 industry – agriculture.

During her session at the Ag Innovation Showcase, she will give her view from the farm and the impact innovation has had on agriculture in Missouri.

Orlando Saez, cofounder and CEO
Todd Golly, cofounder and COO


As one of 14 start-ups selected to present at the Ag Innovation Showcase, Aker is a global pest and pathogen information network. The start-up uses proprietary sensors and technology to detect insect and disease pressure along with environmental and fertility stress under the crop canopy.

“We are exceptionally proud that the 10th edition of this community event brings together some of the most innovative and influential voices across the global food industry,” says Shukla. “We are looking back to look forward, celebrating 10 years of innovation in the entire industry and recognizing the extraordinary shifts in consumer preferences and interest in food.”

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