I want to thank everyone that attended the NASVF Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma this week and especially our host, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and all the sponsors that supported this fantastic event.
There were many great opportunities to learn from the best practitioners in the country at the diversified panel discussions along with listening to keynote presenters.
- Wendy Kennedy, an internationally recognized expert in commercializing technology, provided a fabulous poster on the technology commercialization process. Rick Wade, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Department of Commerce talked about the support the Department of Commerce is providing early stage companies.
- Mr. Wade, who arrived the night before he spoke, attended the reception honoring Robert Heard as NASVF’s first awardee for Excellence in Entrepreneurial Capital Formation.
One of the highlights was the terrific end of conference lunch keynote speech given by Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, whose passion for innovation and entrepreneurship came through as he ticked off a long list of entrepreneurial opportunities that will be of value to small business investors:
- Development of seeds that use less fertilizer, which would reduce the amount of petroleum-based fertilizers needed to grow crops.
- Capacity to understand the differences in soil to better target where various seeds should be planted and improved utilization of fertilizer to reduce cost and improve crop yields.
- Capacity to “replicate nature” (recycling of nutrients and by products of decomposition utilizing crop residues, animal manure, bio-refinery residues, composting food wastes and other biomass to fertilize plants while also harvesting value-added co-products such; “nature doesn’t waste anything, but reuses it”.
- Extracting energy from biomass in an efficient way utilizing both the solids and liquids to generate energy.
- Developing a more efficient way to produce ethanol with less water, thereby minimizing impacts on the water table; “water is the life blood of farmers and there are enormous challenges in availability and quality.”
- Producing and distributing wind energy more efficiently.
- Making small processing centers more efficient to increase the chances of success for mid-size farmers.
- Developing less expensive machinery for planting and harvesting on small acreages that will improve efficiency and profitability of small operations, providing opportunities to preserve quality of life attainable in rural environments.
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service spends over $1 billion a year utilizing over 2,100 of the top scientists at 100 locations engaged in over 1,100 projects to develop solutions and license innovations to the private sector to improve America’s competitive position and create entrepreneurial opportunities. If you are interested in working with the Department of Agriculture’s scientists and/or licensing their technology please visit (http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?navtype=SU&navid=RESEARCH_SCIENCE).
We hope to see everyone who came this year and those that were unable to attend next October 13-15 at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor.