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The Indiana Agbioscience Story

The Indiana Agbioscience Story
June 8, 2018 by Melissa Proffitt, Partner-in-Charge of Client Relations
Agriculture is at the heart of Indiana’s history and remains a key sector of our state’s business climate. However, over time, technology and life sciences have collided with agriculture creating a sophisticated agbioscience sector.
I recently traveled to Israel with a delegation of Indiana leaders to tell the story of our agbioscience sector. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb led the delegation where we learned about Israel’s rich culture and its investment in agriculture, technology and innovation.
We began our trip in Tel Aviv with a U.S. Embassy briefing about the various economic, political and agriculture sectors. Our first day concluded with dinner with guests from the Israel Ministry of Agriculture. The discussions were enlightening. Israel has many of the same concerns as Indiana and is leading the way in innovation.
The second day in Israel was packed with meetings and panels at Agritech Israel 2018. We attended the opening ceremony and listened to Governor Holcomb speak on the AgriTech Public Policy Panel. He emphasized that agriculture has been a long standing and important tradition to our state and that it was time to share and sell our Indiana success story.
We continued the day with a bilateral meeting with Uri Ariel, the Israeli Minister of Agriculture, who was in Indiana just a few weeks before our trip to talk about agritourism and the agbiosciences sectors. The delegation continued to learn and engage in discussions at AgriVest 2018 addressing start-up ecosystems. It was full of presentations by start-ups, the investors and the ideas behind a global mindset. Israel is the tenth most innovative country in the world, and we have much to learn from them. Our conversations around this topic continued as we met with Start Up Nation to learn more about Israel’s innovation ecosystem and opportunities for cross collaboration between our two countries. Our day concluded with Copia-Agro, a privately owned impact investing fund that invests in agricultural and food technologies developed by Israel’s leading research institutes. They bring academia and business together.
One of our sessions included a presentation by NetaFirm, an Israeli agriculture company that combines precision agriculture, agronomic expertise and innovation to help farmers who grow crops in extreme conditions. Our friend and client, Beck’s Hybrids, uses technology from NetaFirm as it looks for innovative ways to help its customers. This is an example of Indiana’s leadership in the agbiosciences sector in our country and around the world.
On our third day, we joined Governor Holcomb as he signed a MOU with the Israel Innovation Authority to generate opportunities and collaboration between Indiana and Israeli businesses and create partnerships and innovations in the agbiosciences sector.
We then departed Tel Aviv for Jerusalem. Our group toured the Old City, Tower of David and the Western Wall where we learned about the rich history of Jerusalem.
The last day of our trip was a whirlwind. We started the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, where Governor Eric Holcomb and First Lady Janet Holcomb laid a wreath at the memorial on behalf of Hoosiers to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. It was an experience I will never forget. We then returned to Tel Aviv for meetings. The first was with Clicktale, a digital platform that helps companies to combine cognitive computing, machine learning and psychological research to surface issues, answer questions and enhance the digital user experience. Our second meeting was with leaders from Taranis, a precision agriculture intelligence platform company which has Indiana investors.
Our last day in Israel ended at a reception hosted by the U.S. Ambassador David Friedman in his residence. The reception included friends of Indiana who are based in Israel and Indiana.
As the Governor has expressed repeatedly, building relationships is key to international investment, and it could not have been more true on this trip – especially as we met with agriculture and tech leaders. I have traveled on 15 trade missions with various administrations. Our longstanding relationship with the countries we have visited has produced great results for Indiana business and commerce. We have to continue building new relationships and nurturing long-term existing relationships. This trip opened my eyes to the genuine respect Israel has for our state and for America. We are similar in our expected level of excellence and focus on ag innovation. Under the leadership of Governor Holcomb, Indiana will continue to thrive in the agbioscience sector and be a leader for our state and country.
While our Hoosier values sometimes prevent us from boasting about our accomplishments, we are done being modest. It is time to tell the Indiana agbioscience story, including our collaboration, innovation and partnerships and how we are moving the sector forward.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.

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