2019 Forbes AgTech Summit in Indy aims to tackle world hunger, help farmers

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — People from all over the world are in Indianapolis collaborating on big global issues, like tackling world hunger and supporting the planet’s food supply.

The United Nations says more than 820 million people in the world don’t have enough food to eat.

The people at the 2019 Forbes AgTech Summit are on a quest to solve the future of food.

“It’s feeding 10 billion by 2050,” Sherry Phillips, senior vice president of Forbes Live explained Thursday. “So, we’ve convened leaders from the industry, from tech, from crops, from start-ups and entrepreneurs to help solve this problem.”

“There’s no one more entrepreneurial than the farmers. Especially here in the Midwest, focusing on grow-crops and protein,” Phillips explained. “As we listen to them and hear what they need, there’s an incredibly community built around them that wants to solve these issues.”

John Mascoe, along with his Indiana-based company, is developing a hand-held device that scans crops and can physically see the plants’ nutritional needs. Mascoe explained the data goes to the farmer’s phone.

“It’s a hyper-spectral camera that measures the wavelength of nutrients within a plant,” John Mascoe, founder and CEO of Vancoe Ag Technologies explained Thursday. “It allows us to determine what the plant nutrient content is so we can then in real time, deliver to the plant to make it more healthy.”

Patrick Henry developed a wireless underground system for farmers that uses sensors to measure things in the ground like soil moisture and temperature. That data goes to the cloud, where farmers can see it on their phone or tablet. It can help farmers make crucial decisions.

“Do they apply fertilizer? Do they need to irrigate? Some of those kinds of decisions can be made much more intelligently if you have knowledge and information about what’s going on in the ground next to the root zone. Because that’s where the plants drink,” Patrick Henry, the CEO of Gro Guru explained Thursday.

Organizers truly believe this summit will help feed the world.

“Really, the crisis is quite real,” Phillips explained. “Really, we have to figure out ways to produce more food with less.”

The conversation is not over. There’s a larger conference planned for Oct. 27 in Detroit.

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