Innovation Award 2023 Team Winners

Where’s the Next Breakthrough in Agriculture Coming From? 

The answer could be from the students participating in the ߲ݴý Innovation Award, who are exploring innovative ideas for feeding a growing world. 

The 2023 ߲ݴý Innovation Award recently concluded, and once again teams of college students proposed innovative ideas for feeding a growing world population. Watch this video to hear what the students and the award judges had to say about the teams’ ideas for feeding a growing world and the Innovation Award.

“The Innovation Award was launched as part of the company’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2021. In the two years since the program began, 230 students have participated on 60 teams, bringing forward creative ideas to enhance agriculture and food production,” said ߲ݴý President and Chief Executive Officer John Buckley. “Choosing the most promising ideas from such a great collection is difficult. But this year, one idea was particularly impressive – and that idea came from the Grain Science Team at Kansas State University, which received the Innovation Award’s top prize of $25,000.”  

During a celebration that included Innovation Award finalists, senior ߲ݴý leaders and supporters of the program, additional $5,000 Honorable Mention awards were presented to four teams.  

Congratulations to the 2023 winners!

Grand Prize Winner

TEAM: Grain Science Team at Kansas State University 

Increasing production of perennial crops

The Grain Science Team from Kansas State University made the case that perennial crops require less soil-intensive practices than annual varieties, and outlined how increasing production of perennials could promote soil health, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water quality, and agricultural systems that can adapt better to climate change.  

Kansas State University

(students pictured left to right)

  • Tucker Graff 
  • Brianna Iorga 
  • Conrad Kabus
  • Julia Rivera
  • Jenna Flory

Honorable Mentions

TEAM: Retriever Essentials

Tapping the potential of halophytic algae to desalinate salt water

The Retriever Essentials Team from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, outlined how this innovative approach could increase water supplies for agricultural production in coastal regions facing water scarcity.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

(students pictured left to right)

  • Ben Bhattarai 
  • Nhi Nguyen
  • Ariel Barbosa

TEAM: The Helios Team

Using 3D biophysical crop models and Virtual Reality technology to help growers make better informed crop management decisions

The Helios Team from the University of California, Davis, outlined how greater use of this technology could improve crop productivity, resource efficiency and sustainability. 

University of California, Davis

(students pictured left to right)

  • Pranav Ghate
  • Ismael Mayanja 

Advisor: Dr. Brian Bailey, UC Davis 

TEAM: Controlled Environments Club at Iowa State University

Expanding production of mushrooms as a high-quality, economical source of protein, fiber and other nutrients

This idea was explored by the Controlled Environments Club at Iowa State University, which proposed growing mushrooms in highly controlled environments (like container farms), which could be especially beneficial in urban areas where land is limited. 

Iowa State University

(students pictured left to right)

  • Meadow Edwards 
  • Sam Burns 
  • Max Smitten
  • Noah Mack 
  • McKenna Murphy 

Advisor: Dr. Suzanne Slack, Iowa State University

TEAM: Kansas State University Entomology Team

Increasing the diversity of pollinators, as well as expanding habitats and resources to help them flourish

The Kansas State University Entomology Team focused not only on honey bees – which are essential food pollinators, supporting more than 80 crops – but also on other pollinators, including birds, bats and butterflies.  

Kansas State University

(students pictured left to right)

  • Tanner Liba
  • Rupinder Singh 
  • Sabita Ranabhat
  • Festus Ajibefun
  • Hazel Scribner  

Congratulations to all the 2023 Innovation Award winners … your creativity is an inspiration for everyone who cares about the future of agriculture!  

Apples scattered on a yellow background.

Stay tuned for more information

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