Nationwide, Ohio State University form AgTech Innovation Hub

First announced in September 2022 fall, the AgTech Innovation Hub was established by Nationwide and The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), with support from the Ohio Farm Bureau. The Hub aims to encourage the development of new solutions that will help the agricultural ecosystem while better understanding, managing and mitigating climate risk.

Nationwide pledged up to $2 million in initial funding to identify and execute initiatives for the AgTech Innovation Hub. 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 with a goal to expand the reach of the Hub over time.

“This partnership builds on the collaborative partnership 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 create innovative solutions to tackle the challenges we face regarding the nexus of risk prevention, improve underwriting, ecosystem sustainability, food security, and viable production agriculture.

To read about the inaugural research projects that were awarded funding, go to


The Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Center (CEARC) will provide a platform for interdisciplinary research at the nexus of horticulture and crop science, engineering, entomology, plant pathology, food science, computer science, and human nutrition/health. The $35.8 million project is scheduled for completion this fall at the CFAES Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory and will offer dynamic platforms for hands-on teaching, outreach, and engagement activities. Click here for a tour of the facility.

The multispecies animal learning center will bring people and animals together for hands-on learning, public events, and Extension programming. Practicing and teaching precision agriculture in animal production are among the motivations behind the center. So is having an appropriate setting for public discussions and research involving animal welfare and food production. 

Nationwide and The Ohio State University share a rich and storied history of supporting the agriculture industry and the infrastructures that hold them together.

As the #1 farm insurer in the U.S., agriculture has been at the heart of Nationwide since the very beginning. With a passion for protecting and advancing the lives of farmers, ranchers, and commercial agribusiness, it is a natural fit for us to partner with Ohio State to collaboratively develop solutions for supporting and growing the agriculture ecosystem.

A look back at 100+ years of collaboration between Nationwide, The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation

1917 — "Uncle" George Cooley, also known as father of Ohio Farm Bureau (OFBF) and president of Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (FBMIC), is made director of the Ohio Agricultural Extension Department at The Ohio State University (OSU).

1919 — George Cooley leads the first meeting of the OFBF at Jennings Hall – formerly the Botany and Zoology building on the OSU campus. Ohio Farm Bureau members, along with many OSU Extension Agents, convene adopting its first resolutions pledging support for farm legislation, the organization of a national farm bureau and the expansion of county extension agent work in cooperation with OSU’s College of Agriculture and Experiment Station (CFAES).

1926 FBMIC begins operating.

1936 — Murray D. Lincoln, executive vice president of OFBF, debates Professor Theodore Beckman on the Cooperative Movement in the Commerce Auditorium at OSU.

1942 OFBF and FBMIC offer prize money to winners of the Ohio vocational agriculture judging contests hosted at the OSU campus.

1962 OSU hosts “The Role of Food in World Peace” international symposium. Murray D. Lincoln gives the luncheon keynote speech on "The Stewardship of Abundance." Food for Peace Director George McGovern, and B. R. Sen, Director-General of UN Food and Ag Organization are in attendance.

1971 OFBF establishes a scholarship for CFAES undergraduate students majoring in Agribusiness.

1980 — OFBF establishes a scholarship for CFAES freshmen majoring in Agricultural Education.

1986 — OSU Board of Trustees establishes the Farm Income Enhancement Endowed Chair in Agricultural Policy, Trade and Marketing with gifts from Nationwide and OFBF.

1995OSU Board of Trustees establishes The C. William Swank Chair in Rural and Urban Policy, with gifts from Nationwide and OFBF in honor of the retirement of OFBF leader, Bill Swank.

2001 — The Arden L. Shisler Center for Education and Economic Development on the CFAES Wooster campus is named in honor of the former chair of Nationwide, Arden Shisler.

2008 The Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center opens as the first center for 4-H in the United States and the first Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) building on the OSU campus.

2014 OSU conducts water conservation research on Terry McClure’s (Nationwide and OFBF Board Member, Retired) farm.

2018 – Renovation of the 5th floor Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center begins.

2019 – OFBF’s Centennial celebration takes place, establishing a historical marker at OSU commemorating the first OFBF meeting at Jennings Hall.  

2019 — Nationwide and CFAES formalize the Nationwide-Ohio State Collaborative to build on their shared goals and values of ensuring viable agriculture, dedication to young people, working for the public good, commitment to science-based solutions and community engagement.

2019 — The Welcome and Education Center, including the Nationwide Orientation Room, opens at the Secrest Arboretum on the CFAES Wooster campus.

2019 – Mark Berven, president & COO of Nationwide Property & Casualty, participates in the inaugural Dean’s Charity Steer Show.

2020 The CFAES Knowledge Exchange launches, focused on data leadership, research collaboration, and expanding connections of research and knowledge to those outside of the academic landscape.

2021 – As part of the Nationwide-Ohio State Collaborative, Nationwide seeds the vision with a foundational gift for the Multi-Species Animal Learning Complex (MALC) at the CFAES Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory (Waterman).

2022 Kirt Walker, CEO of Nationwide, participates in Dean’s Charity Steer Show at the Ohio State Fair.

2022 The Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Center (CEARC) officially opens in September at Waterman with Nationwide as a foundational partner to its development. The facility — a high-tech greenhouse, enables technology-driven practices to optimize food production and a platform for interdisciplinary research.

2022 Nationwide and Ohio State launch the AgTech Innovation Hub to develop new solutions to help the agricultural ecosystem understand, manage, and mitigate climate risks.