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First ever US Swine Innovation Summit is catalyst to solve industry problems

The National Pork Board hosted the first-ever Swine Innovation Summit to better understand and solve industry problems.

2 October 2019, at 10:30am

The National Pork Board hosted the first ever Swine Innovation Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, in mid-September. The event was designed to bring the entire pork value chain together to look at tech innovations and be a catalyst for conversation.

Andy Brudtkuhl, Director of Emerging Technology at the National Pork Board, spoke to The Pig Site's Sarah Mikesell at the Swine Innovation Summit in Indianapolis

"About a year ago we started down this path to figure out where the pork checkoff fits into the innovation landscape and ag technology," said Andy Brudtkuhl, Director of Emerging Technologies with the National Pork Board (NPB). "We've been working with SVG THRIVE out of Silicon Valley, and they've been looking at what innovation looks like from a startup perspective for our industry.

"This week is the Forbes Ag Tech Summit. They had a call to have startups pitch at that event, and part of that process was selecting a few that have a swine or livestock focus. We're doing a startup showcase with them, using a panel of four members from the production side to ask questions about their companies. It includes a five-minute pitch and a five-minute Q&A."

Swine Innovation Summit held in Indianapolis, IN, USA
Swine Innovation Summit held in Indianapolis, IN, USA

The NPB has been working with the THRIVE team for more than a year, and the culmination of those efforts has been considering companies who are working across industry problem areas that the NPB has identified.

The Summit offers swine-focused start-ups the opportunity to present their ideas to producers, and producers get a glimpse of the startup world as well. It is the catalyst to start a conversation between the two groups.

The key for start-ups is to solve an industry problem.

"We can do almost anything we want with technology, but it's no use if it's not solving a problem on the farm or throughout the value chain. One proposition that we can bring from the pork checkoff is to help start-ups validate their problems then help them define their solution to solve those problems," he explained.

"We think there's an opportunity to solve problems a lot faster. Looking at the history in Silicon Valley, we think we can bring that model to the Midwest, specifically in the livestock industry."