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Oct 06, 1:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Landus Innovation Center,
220 SW 9th St Ste 300, Des Moines, IA 50309
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Sowing the Seeds of Innovation:
Data, AI, and Sustainable Agriculture

We're excited to welcome our Keynote Speaker, Rob Trice, and these amazing guest speakers to the 2023 Unconference.

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Rob Trice   /   Keynote Speaker

Rob Trice is the Founder of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl. After nearly fifteen years in mobile, internet and telecom venture capital, Rob has spent the last decade pursuing the application of information technology to food and agriculture challenges. He founded Better Food Ventures to fund innovators using information technology to make positive impact now in food and agriculture. He founded The Mixing Bowl as a forum to connect food, agriculture and IT innovators for thought and action leadership. Rob previously worked at global VC funds, including Swisscom Ventures, SK Telecom Ventures, NGP Capital and BlueRun Ventures. Prior to his days in venture capital, he worked at DIRECTV in LA & Tokyo and at a DC-based think-tank, CSIS. He co-founded the non-profit Corporate Innovators Huddle; is Co-chair of San Francisco-based engaged philanthropy organization, Full Circle Fund; serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Food, Ag & Environmental Sciences at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; is a Founding Advisor to the Innovation Institute for Food & Health at UC Davis; is a Farm Foundation Fellow; is an Advisor to the MISTA food innovation platform; serves on the Advisory Board of the Food for Climate League and the Steering Committee of RegenScore; is a Member of the Foundation for Food & Agriculture’s AgMission Advisory Council; and is a Member of the Google Food Lab. Rob splits his time between Menlo Park and Pescadero, CA.

Bill Northey   /   Opening Remarks

An Iowa State University graduate, Bill Northey grew up on a family farm in Dickinson County that is still in the family today. Northey’s public service began as a District Commissioner for the Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District. His involvement with the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association culminated in his role as President of NCGA in 1995-1996. Northey was elected three times as Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Most recently, Northey served as Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, his term ending in January of 2021. In April 2022, Bill joined the Agribusiness Association of Iowa as Chief Executive Officer.

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Clayton Mooney   /   Guest Speaker

Born on a family farm in Southeast Iowa, Clayton Mooney has always appreciated food and how technology improves processes and supply chains. Clayton co-founded Clayton Farms, an indoor farming company located in Ames, Iowa.

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Brad McDonald   /   Guest Speaker

Brad is the COO of Continuum Ag. In 2016 he started an e-commerce company for farmers. Within 3 years the company represented 11 million acres and was named Forbes 30 under 30.

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BJ Brugman   /   Guest Speaker

BJ Brugman is the co-founder and CEO of Distynct. BJ holds a B.S. in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University, an MBA in Business Administration and Management from Indiana University Bloomington, and a Master's degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University Krannert School of Management.

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Delaney Howell   /   Guest Speaker

Delaney is a voice for farmers. As the founder and CEO of AgCulture Marketing, founder of Global Ag Network, and founder and podcast host of Ag News Daily, she knows the landscape of agriculture communications inside and out. Delaney was named an AgGrad 30 under 30 in 2020.

Traveling to Des Moines?
Find accommodatio
ns below.

Book a stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Downtown Des Moines, with a 5-minute walk to the Landus Innovation Center. To receive the Unconference group rate, book through the button below with the Ag Startup Engine group code "ASE" or call (800) 465 4329 toll-free to make your reservation.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Have questions about what to wear or where to park? See below.

  • What is the dress code?
    The dress code is business casual (think jeans and a blazer).
  • Where do I park?
    You can find parking at the Landus Innovation Center parking lot located at 220 SW 9th St. Suite 300, Des Moines, IA 50309. Please note that you will need to enter the Holiday Inn & Suites entrance to access the Landus parking lot. See the image for reference.
  • What time do doors open?
    Doors open at 12:30pm. We're excited to see you there!
  • I missed the registration deadline. Can I still attend?
    Yes! Please email to inquire about securing a ticket after registration has closed.

Event Schedule  //
Sowing the Seeds of Innovation

The Unconference begins at 1:00pm, followed by a Happy Hour from 5:00 to 6:30pm. We look forward to seeing you there!


|    Doors Open
|    Opening Remarks: Bill Northey
|    Keynote Speaker: Rob Trice, sponsored by Northwest Bank
|    Guest Speaker: Clayton Mooney
|    Guest Speaker: Brad McDonald
|    Guest Speaker: BJ Brugman
|    Break
|    Dive Deeper Panel, sponsored by Grit Road Partners
|    Guest Speaker: Delaney Howell
|    Door Prizes & Thank You
|    Happy Hour & Appetizers, sponsored by Beck's Hybrids

Thank you to our 2023 Unconference Sponsors!

Thank you to our amazing Unconference 2023 sponsors Revelton Distilling Co., Landus Cooperative, MVSIP, and Beck's Hybrids for their support. We'd also like to highlight our Ag Startup Engine sponsors for their continued support of empowering entrepreneurship in the agriculture industry.

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We're looking forward to seeing you at the 2023 Unconference: Sowing Seeds of Innovation.

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