Georgia company wins People's Choice Award in Ag Innovation Challenge
By Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau
Georgia Farm Bureau member Dr. Chris Cornelison and his colleagues at MycoLogic LLC won the People's Choice Award in the AFBF Agriculture Innovation Challenge. The startup, which originated in the BioInnovation Laboratory at Kennesaw State University, received a $5,000 prize for being voted the People's Choice Award by those attending the AFBF convention. This is in addition to the $10,000 the company won as one of the contest’s nine semi-finalists.
MycoLogic co-founders Cornelison and Dr. Kyle Gabriel developed technology farmers can use to grow larger quantities of specialty mushrooms - like Shiitake, Oyster and Lion’s Mane - more efficiently. Luc Lalire is responsible for MycoLogic’s business development. Will Beeson manages mushroom cultivation and operations.
The company’s proprietary software can be applied to shipping containers or existing infrastructure and facilitates a semiautonomous system for fruiting of specialty mushrooms. The company says this technology increases the profitability of existing farms and lowers the barrier for new growers by providing a turn-key solution for increasing the size and frequency of harvests while reducing labor costs.
“Our software can help people successfully grow mushrooms anywhere in the U.S.,” Cornelison said. “The sales of specialty mushrooms have increased by 50% in the past five years and most of the specialty mushrooms consumed in the U.S. are grown overseas.”
The Ag Innovation Challenge provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. This is the ninth year of the challenge, which was the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching food and agriculture businesses. The contest is organized by AFBF and sponsored by Farm Credit with additional support from Bayer Crop Science, John Deere, Farm Bureau Bank and Farm Bureau Financial Services.
In the Final Four round of the competition, MycoLogic competed against teams from Iowa – Chop Local - an online store that facilitates sales of meat directly between livestock producers or local butchers & consumers); Texas – EmGenisys Inc. - a company that has developed software to help beef and dairy producers evaluate the health/viability of embryos before implanting into mama cows to increase calving success & genetics goals; and Kansas – NORDEF - a company that has developed technology and machinery to allow farmers/large equipment operators to mix diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) onsite in the quantity that they need by using a pod of urea and mixing it with water. DEF is injected into the exhaust stream of diesel vehicles to break down emissions to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards.
NORDEF won the overall competion to receive a total of $50,000 in prize money. Austin Hausmann, a Kansas Farm Bureau member, is team lead for the company.
EmGenisys Inc. was named runner-up in the contest and received a total of $20,000. Cara Wells, a Texas Farm Bureau member, is team lead for the company.
Each of the nine semi-finalist teams won $10,000; the final four teams were awarded an additional $5,000 each.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2024 Ag Innovation Challenge. Learn more at www.fb.org/challenge.