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MSU aims to become the silicon valley of agriculture

MSU aims to become the silicon valley of agriculture

By Andi Anderson

Michigan State University (MSU) is aiming high – to become the Silicon Valley of agriculture. This ambitious goal hinges on partnerships, private investment, and a focus on research and development (R&D) to drive innovation in agriculture, impacting both Michigan and the global stage.

Larry Walker, an adjunct professor at MSU and leader in the Indian biofuels industry, spearheaded a recent trip showcasing Michigan agriculture to Indian leaders. India, the world's second-largest sugar producer, is exploring diversifying from sugarcane to sugarbeets.

Walker believes collaboration is key: "We can come up with solutions through dialogue and partnerships. There's no reason we can't be the hub of agricultural innovation."

The potential for collaboration extends beyond India. MSU's AgBioResearch director, Dr. George Smith, sees collaboration with food leaders worldwide to address challenges faced by farmers and producers. He acknowledges achieving "Silicon Valley of Agriculture" status is a long-term goal requiring leadership across various sectors, including universities, government, and private investors.

MSU has a strong foundation for this pursuit. They've secured major investments in recent years, like the Agriculture Climate Resiliency Program (SEEDSS) which tackles long-term climate and water challenges in agriculture.

Additionally, MSU has invested in state-of-the-art facilities and faculty recruitment, including specialists in applying robotics, sensors, and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop smart agriculture systems.

These efforts highlight MSU's commitment to automation and mechanization, which Dr. Smith sees as crucial for specialty crop industries. He emphasizes the "tremendous potential" for applying these technologies to agricultural challenges.

While the road to becoming an ag innovation hub may be long, MSU is making significant strides in building the necessary infrastructure, fostering collaboration, and attracting the talent required to achieve this ambitious goal.

Photo Credit: michigan-state-univsersity-msu

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Categories: Michigan, General

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