Agtech Grows In Michigan

Michigan is more famous for its car industry, great lake, and big 10 universities than it is for agriculture. But about 180 miles west of Detroit is West Olive, a township located in Ottawa County founded by Dutch immigrants. With a population just shy of 5,000, West Olive is non-descript and sleepy, but it is also the base for one of the few agtech incubators in the U.S. Could Michigan be the next Silicon Valley?

ACRE AgTech was launched in the Ottawa County Government Offices at the tail end of 2014. ACRE is the acronym for AgTech Connections and Resources for Entrepreneurs. But it started as early as 2010 when the county government made a commitment to use agtech as a platform to develop jobs and the economy. In 2012, it piloted with three local agtech startups by offering them resources and services, including helping the startups license or sell client technology. ACRE AgTech also helps incubators find space locally when needed.

Some of the startups that it has helped include Grassroots Energy LLC, which produces a technology that collects ethanol at low temperatures and thus consumes less energy than at conventional high temperature extractions.

Becky Huttenga
Becky Huttenga, ACRE AgTech

We recently caught up with Becky Huttenga, a program developer at ACRE AgTech, who shed insight on why agtech in Michigan makes sense.

Q: What was the main reason why ACRE AgTech opened?
A: ACRE AgTech began as an economic development initiative for Ottawa County. After the recession hit, we needed to kick start the economy and create jobs. A feasibility study showed that a business incubator would be a great way to do that, particularly one focused on ag technology. And ACRE AgTech was born.

Q: What kind of startups do you currently house?
A: None! We invest all of our resources into business development services, not a brick and mortar building. Our experience has been that most of our potential clients have some degree of physical capacity in terms of work space, and it is really the expertise and connections that they need. But to answer your question, we are currently working with a wide variety of different technologies, mostly related to alternative energy concepts, digestion systems, indoor growing systems, and biomass.

Q: What kind of start ups are you looking for?
A: Our doors are open to all technologies that have the potential to advance agriculture. Typically those are tools, software, or machinery, but not always. Some will be a fit for our mission, some will not. But we make sure those entities are connected with resources that can help them along their entrepreneurial journey.

Q: Why is West Olive, MI, a good place for agtech?
A: Michigan is the second most diverse agricultural state in the country, second only to — you guessed it — California. Ottawa is the third highest ag producing county in the state of Michigan and also has great capacity for food processing. Given those attributes, combined with an abundance of tech suppliers and ag manufacturing, it just makes sense for Ottawa County to be a hub for innovation in agtech.

Leave a Reply

Tools & Smart Equipment Stories
Tools & Smart EquipmentMachine Learning: The Secret Sauce of Precision Agriculture for Fighting Crop Diseases
February 13, 2018
With the development of agricultural technologies, crop and plant diseases have been advancing as well, causing degradation of both quality Read More
Tools & Smart EquipmentAutonomous Tractors Could Work in Wetter Conditions than Traditional Tractors
February 8, 2018
March 20th is the first day of spring, making spring much closer than even I expected. On the farm I Read More
AmericasPrecision Farming Companies to Watch in 2018 (OPINION)
January 17, 2018
My friends, as many of you told me repeatedly throughout the last 12 months, 2017 was an interesting year in Read More
Soybean Field
Tools & Smart EquipmentPrecision Ag Technology: Use It, Don’t Lose It in 2018
January 2, 2018
With the start of the New Year, I always find myself reflecting on the past year and identifying what worked Read More
Trending Articles
Business ManagementBeing a Great Team Player in the Precision Agriculture Game
March 15, 2018
Only great team players who are great teammates, have the potential to get championship results. Each player on the team Read More
Dr Brian Arnall Oklahoma State Paul Schrimpf
Excellence AwardsOpen For Nominations: PrecisionAg Awards Of Excellence Honor Outstanding Achievement in Ag Technology
March 7, 2018
Nominate an outstanding individual for one of four PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence. Recipients will be honored at a special ceremony during the 2018 InfoAg Conference in July. Read More
AmericasCrop Scouting in Brazil Improves Through Intelligent Pest Monitoring Systems
February 28, 2018
About nine years ago, shortly after finishing my graduation, my first job was as a monitor of pests and disease Read More
Events12 Groundbreaking AgTech Startups Selected to Pitch at AgLaunch Startup Station
February 22, 2018
AgLaunch is bringing its Startup Station pitch event back to the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show for a second time Read More
Industry NewsNFMS 2018: Case IH Talks Autonomous Agriculture, Announces Pilot Program
February 20, 2018
Since the reveal of the autonomous concept vehicle, Case IH has been evolving the technology and further defining automation and Read More
AsiaCloud-based Irrigation Could Double India’s Crop Yield and Halve Water Use
February 12, 2018
A cloud-based, micro-irrigation system tested on a farm in India has cut water use by up to 80%  and doubled Read More
Latest News
Corn Field
Industry NewsIndustrial IoT Company Intros Remote Asset Monitoring S…
March 16, 2018
FreeWave Technologies today announced the general availability of the WAVECONTACT WC30i-AXIS Wireless Angle Sensor. This sensor measures thief hatch states Read More
Decision Support SoftwareOpinion: The Missing Link in Precision Agriculture
March 15, 2018
The agtech boom over the last two years is indeed astonishing. Farmers are becoming more open to new, emerging technologies Read More
Sensors/IoTEstimating Field Weather and Soil Conditions
March 15, 2018
There is a favorite expression of mine that I love to apply to meteorology: “Measure with a micrometer, mark it Read More
Filling The Planter from Cab
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture: What is it?
March 15, 2018
If we look at the title of the article, all of you will come to an answer. These answers will Read More
Business ManagementBeing a Great Team Player in the Precision Agriculture …
March 15, 2018
Only great team players who are great teammates, have the potential to get championship results. Each player on the team Read More
AmericasJanzen: What You Need to Know About Congress’ Agr…
March 15, 2018
Via Janzen Ag Law Blog: Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Thune have introduced Senate Bill 2487, the “Agricultural Data Act Read More
Farmer tractor tablet
Data ManagementAg’s Digital Revolution: What’s Holding Us Back?
March 15, 2018
Data is undeniably a valuable asset. Yet, in the ag ecosystem, who’s seeing the value from it? A recent article Read More
PrecisionAg InstitutePrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper Library
March 14, 2018
Welcome to the PrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper library! Here you will find free whitepapers and case studies from the PrecisionAg Institute Partners Read More
Africa/Middle EastAgTech Startup Wefarm Secures New Financing Round
March 14, 2018
Wefarm, the world’s largest farmer-to-farmer digital network, has secured $5 million in additional seed funding, led by Silicon-Valley based True Read More
Spensa platform
Industry NewsAg Tech News: DTN Acquires Spensa to Boost Predictive M…
March 14, 2018
DTN announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Spensa Technologies, according to a press release on Read More
Industry NewsAg Tech News: BioLumic Garners $5 Million in Series A
March 14, 2018
BioLumic, creators of the first ultraviolet (UV) crop yield enhancement system, today announced the close of $5 million in Series A financing. Read More
UAV drone
DronesFlorida Specialty Crops: Realizing the Benefits of Prec…
March 13, 2018
Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis recently joined the faculty at UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) in Immokalee, writes Frank Read More
Data ManagementAgReliant Genetics, The Climate Corp. Collaborate on Da…
March 13, 2018
AgReliant Genetics, the third largest seed company in North America, and The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., have Read More
Sensors/IoT6 IoT Trends to Watch in 2018
March 9, 2018
With increased value provided by edge computing to security improvements with Blockchain integration, IoT platforms across the board are just Read More
EuropeJohn Deere to Acquire Carbon Fiber Boom Manufacturer in…
March 9, 2018
Agriculture is a tough business to be in, even with a booming economy the ag world is still taking its Read More
Data ManagementOpinion: Ag Data Sells, But Who’s Buying?
March 9, 2018
Indulge me and let’s beat a dead horse together. We all know that data is a huge deal these days. Read More
Industry NewsAutonomous Solutions Announces Autonomous Vehicle Pilot…
March 7, 2018
Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) technology will be used in two pilot programs with large scale commercial growers in California. A Read More
Precision IrrigationLindsay Event Puts Focus on Precision Irrigation and Sm…
March 7, 2018
Lindsay Corp., a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, today hosted Water Matters 3.6.18 Read More