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AgTech Innovation Hub gets the “green” light

Nationwide, The Ohio State University collaboration designed to tackle climate change challenges

According to a recent report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, climate change could make it more difficult to grow crops, raise animals, and catch fish in the same ways and same places as have been done in the past. Changes in the frequency and severity of droughts and floods brought on by climate volatility are real threats to farmers, ranchers and the world.  

To help the agricultural industry meet the ever-changing concerns of its stakeholders, Nationwide and The Ohio State University have collaborated to form the AgTech Innovation Hub. This innovation hub will be facilitated by the offices of innovation for both organizations as well as the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The two central Ohio-based institutions will work together to encourage the development of new solutions that will help the agricultural ecosystem while better understanding, managing and mitigating climate risk.  

Nationwide is pledging up to $2 million in initial funding to identify and execute initiatives for the Innovation Hub and plans to provide additional funding and resources in the future. The partnership was announced at the 2022 Farm Science Review.  

“Transitioning to a green economy, climate change – these are long-view issues that won’t be fixed overnight," said Kirt Walker, Nationwide’s Chief Executive Officer. “Agriculture is a part of Nationwide’s DNA, and we believe it’s important to invest in resources that pave the way for a vibrant and robust food supply chain. This innovation hub will be an incubator for those groundbreaking ideas. We are proud to partner with our colleagues and experts at Ohio State and to provide the funding to support this exciting and important work.” 

The AgTech Innovation Hub will provide a variety of tools, resources, skillsets and funding platforms to address the dynamic and changing needs of agriculture innovation to minimize climate risk and accurately insure those risks.  

“This partnership will build on the collaborative that Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation already have with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and The Ohio State University,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. “It will challenge our students and faculty to bring innovative solutions to the table to tackle the grand challenges we face regarding the nexus of ecosystem sustainability, food security, and viable production agriculture.”  

“The agricultural industry is on the front lines of the climate change battle. Not only are farmers significantly impacted by the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, they also can – and must – play a key role in reducing them,” said Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson, PhD. “From carbon sequestration to adopting new technologies to further green farming practices, this partnership will help establish best practices to safeguard both our food supply and our environment for future generations. Our thanks to Nationwide for helping make this possible.” 

The Hub will promote applied research, technology transfer, the exchange of knowledge & experience, and transdisciplinary innovation in support of agricultural technology. Programs in scope may include early-stage entrepreneurs, established companies or producers developing new or value-added products or manufacturing processes, collaborations across institutions or industries, or those seeking new solutions to supply chain or other challenges in the food and agricultural ecosystems. 

“Innovation has always played a key role in Nationwide’s mission of protecting people, businesses and futures,” said Mike Mahaffey, Nationwide chief strategy and corporate development officer. “Nationwide stands ready to share our expertise and resources with those taking part in the Innovation Hub to develop solutions that will enrich the agricultural community for generations to come.” 

For more information about the AgTech Innovation Hub, visit https://news.nationwide.com/osuhub