Nebraska agriculture technology company finalist for Build Back Better grant
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The objective of Invest Nebraska Corp. is to make Cornhusker State a leader in agricultural technology. They are just one of the 60 finalists awarded for the Build Back Better challenge.
Invest Nebraska says they will use robot technologies and advanced manufacturing automation to help the agriculture industry become safer and more efficient. Company officials add that we have all the talent here to develop this technology in Nebraska.
Robotic solutions are increasingly common across all industries, including agriculture, as the country battles labor shortage issues, among other variables.
âWhen you think of agriculture, especially in rural areas, they were already limited by their labor supply before the pandemic,â said Dan Hoffman, CEO of Invest Nebraska. âThe pandemic has only further exacerbated this problem and partly the decline of the population in rural areas. “
Invest Nebraska is a development company – one of the start-ups they’ve invested in eliminates the need for farmers to work inside grain elevators. A robot is used to move inside the bins and collect data.
âOn average, I think between 15 and 20 farmers are killed each year because they have to go into a grain elevator,â Hoffman said. âBut if you think about this technology in the grain hopper, it makes the process a lot easier for the farmers because this robot gives them real-time information about their grain hopper and the drought of their crop. “
Hoffman says there will always be a human component, but the agriculture industry needs new innovations and technologies. He says Omaha and Lincoln are among the nation’s fastest growing fields for artificial intelligence.
âWhen we looked at some of the data, we found, I think, the fourth highest proportion of high school and college teams participating in robotic cluster competitions in the United States.
Hoffman also plans to invest in meat packaging and poultry houses by bringing innovation and technology to an industry that needs workers.
âWe believe there are many solutions like these that will help farmers and ranchers not only in Nebraska but across the country,â Hoffman said. âIf we don’t get ahead of this and start developing the solutions ourselves, we will be faced with the adoption of the solutions developed by others in other parts of the country or other parts of the world. “
Invest Nebraska received $ 500,000 for Phase 1 of the grant; the company will ask for $ 30 million over the next four years in phase 2.
Hoffman said between 30 and 40 Phase 2 grants are expected to be awarded.
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