By the year 2050, experts predict that the world’s population will be 9.7 billion people, nearly 2 billion more than currently inhabit our planet. The world’s land and water resources are finite and this population growth will place pressure on these valuable resources. Increasing heat and drought also threaten food security due to their negative impact on crop productivity.
To meet the increased need for food without depleting land and water resources, we need crops to produce more output on existing land with fewer inputs like water and fertilizers. So how do we increase the yield potential of crops without taking up more land mass? One answer might lie within the plants’ genomes.
At the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, the Center for Plant Science and Sustainable Agriculture applies genomics to plant research to create more sustainable farming practices, address the challenges of climate change, create plants that are resistant to pests and fungi, and much more. HudsonAlpha’s internationally recognized experts bring the most advanced techniques of genomic research to plants and agriculture to provide one path to greater sustainability in the agricultural field. Recent projects include work to increase peanuts’ drought tolerance, reduce agricultural dependence on nitrogen fertilizers, and greater understanding of a promising biofuels crop.
These advancements in research and breeding are an important part of the needed solutions. In addition, involving growers, customers, and consumers is vital to a comprehensive approach. Working with Alabama’s farmers, businesses, and government leaders, HudsonAlpha is proud to play a key role in the efforts to make Alabama agriculture even stronger.
Innovation in agriculture technology is needed throughout this comprehensive approach. In March, HudsonAlpha partnered with the State of Alabama and gener8tor, a nationally-ranked startup accelerator and venture fund, to launch a new AgTech Accelerator. The accelerator will provide agriculture technology innovators with the coaching, capital and connections to take their ideas to new heights by investing in startups selected for the program through a fund managed by gener8tor.
“HudsonAlpha is dedicated to driving advancements to improve the lives of people in Alabama, our region, and far beyond our borders.” said Carter Wells, vice president for economic development at HudsonAlpha. “The Institute is leading the way in the discovery of new tools for growing food and producing biofuels that will improve our world. This accelerator is a key part of a larger strategy to create new economies for growers by linking scientific research to commercial opportunity.”
Collaborative research at HudsonAlpha’s Center for Plant Science and Sustainable Agriculture has led to new understanding of plant and animal genomes, methods for crop improvement, trait identification and precision breeding. Already at the forefront of agriculture, the HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator will enhance the Institute’s commercialization pipeline for new ideas.
Located in Huntsville, the HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator will recruit promising startups from around the country for a 12-week immersive business acceleration program. Selected participants will be a part of the HudsonAlpha ecosystem and have access to the state-of-the-art facilities across the 152-acre biotech campus. The Accelerator’s startups will also have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with HudsonAlpha scientists.
Recruitment of the first cohort will begin in Summer 2022 and will commence in Fall 2022. Startups interested in applying or wanting to meet with the HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator team can visit: www.gener8tor.com/accelerator/hudsonalpha.