AgTech entrepreneurs don’t want to miss the annual New York Farm Show scheduled for Feb. 23-25 at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York.

AgTech innovators who attend the show will have an opportunity to meet with representatives from Dairy Farmers of America, a national farmer-owned cooperative, and learn about the organization’s 2017 sponsorship of the Sprint Accelerator program. DFA is a Kansas City-based cooperative that is owned by and serves more than 14,000 dairy farmer-members representing 8,000 farms in 48 states.

“Through this partnership we’re offering targeted resources to companies who can benefit from it along with mentoring and business building sessions that are offered as part of the program,” said Doug Dresslaer, a founding member and manager of the Sprint Accelerator.

The Sprint Accelerator, entering its fourth year, is a 90-day program that connects corporations with new start-up ventures to promote and accelerate innovation. The program does not offer investment and is not geared towards businesses in the idea stage. The accelerator is targeting businesses that already have established some traction through revenue and a customer base. Companies in the prototype phase, but pre-customer, are also potential candidates.

“We are a lean company for our size and scale and recognize that there is innovation taking place that we’re simply not aware of,” said Kevin Strathman, DFA’s senior vice president of finance, commercial division.

Strathman said DFA is hoping to find three to four AgTech companies that can bring innovation to the dairy industry. The selected company can be assisted with scaling up more quickly or be provided guidance to tailor their product specifically to the dairy industry.

Through sponsorship of the Sprint Accelerator, DFA hopes to identify AgTech entrepreneurs with ideas on how technology can bring greater value to the DFA. Dairy-farmer owners, whether it’s on the dairy farm, in the transportation network, in DFA’s plants or even connecting with consumers in grocery stores, farmer’s markets or at the dinner table are encouraged to apply.

“AgTech startups related to any component of the dairy value chain, but not limited to product testing, data management, herd health and management, supply chain optimization, sustainability and traceability are encouraged to apply,” Dresslaer explained.

Highlights of the program include:

  • Targeted, strategic meetings with senior DFA team members to discuss business development, pilots and potential sponsorships
  • Mentoring from DFA senior members
  • Business building sessions focusing on branding and marketing