Sep 15, 2023
Great Lakes EXPO: Emerging technology in the Ag industry

With several challenges facing growers, such as climate change, rising input costs and more, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest technology. During the 2023 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO, growers and attendees will learn the importance of emerging technology in the agriculture industry, hear from Spartan Innovations, have educational opportunities through Emerging Tech Innovation sessions, an Ag Tech Symposium, plus watch an entertaining and informative performance from the Peterson Bros.

A few notable emerging technologies that will have the biggest impact on growers include plant replicators, robotic fruit and vegetable pickers, digital farm management and record-keeping platforms, remote plant disease management systems, single plant moisture detection and irrigation systems and more.

Steve Kluemper is president of AgriStategies LLC and a Mentor-in-Residence with Spartan Innovations. At Great Lakes EXPO, Kluemper, along with Spartan Innovations, will feature various technologies and innovators they are partnered with. Discussions will be held with industry participants and resources at the Michigan State University (MSU) Research Foundation will be available. In addition, EXPO attendees will hear from a number of innovators during an ag tech forum. This discussion will feature projects that enhance the successful development of solutions to the industry’s challenges.

“Growers can benefit from interacting with innovators at these Great Lakes EXPO sessions by learning from them, collaborating with them and helping them with local and industry knowledge,” Kluemper said.

Steve Kluemper

Spartan Innovations is a part of the MSU Research Foundation with a goal to “enhance research, encourage innovation, support entrepreneurship and facilitate economic development through modern commercialization practices, venture creation activity and innovation partnerships at Michigan State University and across Michigan,” Kluemper added. 

 Spartan Innovations partners with the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for AgBio, which is funded by MSU and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) through the Michigan Strategic Fund to bring resources to the ag tech ecosystem in Michigan.

Emerging Tech Innovation Sessions

During Great Lakes EXPO, Emerging Tech Innovation sessions will “feature technologies that hold promise for addressing challenges to the specialty crop industry related to crop inputs, precision monitoring, irrigation, harvesting, sorting, waste reduction, labor, downstream processing and farm-level decision-making.”

With over 1 million acres of vegetables in the Great Lakes region, growers need to take the opportunity to see new and innovative technology. Great Lakes EXPO is bringing more labor-saving technology in 2023 with an aisle exclusively dedicated to innovation and agriculture technology. Presenters will teach growers the process of bringing innovation to the industry and how they can benefit from the testing or early-stage use of these technologies.

Ag Tech Symposium

The Ag Tech Symposium will identify innovation opportunities in the specialty crop industry while highlighting recent technological successes. Producers, innovators, entrepreneurs and established industry leaders are invited to share their experiences and develop conversations with potential partners. According to Kluemper, the objective of the symposium is to “catalyze further innovation, identify opportunities and facilitate growth-oriented conversations between Great Lakes EXPO participants in an industry-wide discussion.”

On Thursday, December 7, Spartan Innovations will host a facilitated ag innovation networking event at The Bridge, wrapping up the Ag Tech Symposium at Great Lakes EXPO. The event will include a light lunch and will facilitate casual interactions and deeper discussions among MSU Research Foundation and MSU employees, producers, processors, suppliers, innovators, investors and other resource providers that can help bridge the gap between ideas and successful innovation in the agricultural industry.  

Participants will have the opportunity to join discussions to speak with others who have similar interests in a personalized setting. Spartan Innovations encourages growers to attend and meet with industry participants helping find and develop solutions to the challenges on their farms. All are welcome to register and attend at no additional cost. 

Peterson Farm Bros

Greg Peterson, a fifth-generation farmer near Assaria, Kansas, grows corn, wheat, soybeans, forages and sorghum and raises cattle — all while maintaining a thriving YouTube channel. 

Peterson Farm Bros

The Peterson Bros consist of Greg and his two brothers, Nathan and Kendal. Their YouTube channel has amassed over 50 million views with videos of music parodies to popular songs like “Gangnam Style” (Farmer Style) and “I’m Sexy and I Know it” (I’m Farming and I Grow it). 

Greg first came up with the idea to create music videos in 2012 while he was a junior in college at Kansas State University. As a major in Agricultural Communications and a minor in Music Performance, Greg was inspired by class discussions on consumer disconnect and where their food comes from. With the idea to create music videos with his brothers, their channel had 5 million views within their first week. Since then, the Peterson Bros have created 30 music videos and several other videos depicting farm life. 

“Our videos are designed not only to entertain farmers and provide education for how farms in different parts of the country work but also to give them a resource to share with their friends, family and online discussions,” Greg said. “They are great conversation starters when sharing what agriculture is, does and looks like.”

At Great Lakes EXPO, the Peterson Bros will be sharing their story, performing some of their greatest hits and talking about the lessons they’ve learned over the last eleven years. Attendees can expect to be entertained and inspired.

Important Date Sessions

Ag Tech Symposium — Thursday, Dec. 7. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST.

Specialty Crop growers from the Great Lakes region will be in attendance along with key industry partners. Right before noon, a key speaker will wrap up our focus on innovation for the Expo and give us THEIR vision of Ag Tech in the specialty crop industry.

Ag Tech Session — “Adoption in the Ag Tech Space.” Tuesday, Dec. 5. 9 a.m. EST.

Several Ag Tech companies will share their innovative product along with an early adopter of the product.  The story of implementing that product will be shared.

Emerging Tech Innovation Sessions — Wednesday, Dec. 6. 

Learn about emerging technologies being developed in Michigan for the specialty crop industry, the innovation process and how the industry can benefit from being involved in the innovation process.



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