CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Agricultural technology is exploding, thanks to the University of Illinois Research Park southwest of the State Farm Center. That has allowed Champaign-Urbana to become one of the fastest growing high-tech communities in the world
High tech start-ups are hatched and helped get off the ground with funding from the Illinois Ag Tech Accelerator, which is holding a virtual premier introduction Thursday afternoon to introduce its current five companies.
“So as an accelerator, we exist to help early-stage start ups connect with customers, investors and other partners that can help them grow their businesses as quickly as possible,” said Managing Director Jack Marck. “We help them make those connections at a scale and a pace they may not be able to make on their own. Certainly, very upstream agricultural technologies around agronomy and machinery, as well as downstream technologies such as processing into food products and things like that.”
One of those is a cellphone-based aid, called Cabview, that helps the operator find important features on a farm. And a second company makes high-protein meats from grasshoppers.
“When you look even globally, at where you are going to find top tech talent, where are you going to find subject matter experts in agriculture and where you are going to find a critical mass of customers, Champaign-Urbana is about the only place in the world where you are going to find those things in the concentration, quality and density that we have here,” said Marck.