Thursday, March 26, 2015

Colorado has its sights set on becoming The Silicon Valley of Ag

  & Harvest Public Media
Boulder and Denver have become hubs for tech start-ups, and the northern Colorado region is dotted with widely respected scientific research institutions. But a new report [.pdf] from Colorado State University takes the idea a bit further, with an agrarian twist.
Economists say the state's Front Range is at the forefront of agricultural innovation.
"We're poised, if we play our cards right, both as a state government, as a land grant institution [Colorado State University], as an industry, to become the Silicon Valley for agriculture in the 21st century," Graff said.
To back up that bold claim, Graff points to patents and publications. Private agricultural companies are on a tear, patenting new technologies in irrigation, food science and plant genetics. Public scientists are keeping pace, publishing research articles in agricultural science in record numbers, nearly 15,000 papers published between 1990 and 2012.
All that scientific research and talent is concentrated along the northern Front Range. The density is leading to new ideas and new businesses, he said. Colorado’s food and ag industries have been growing two to four times faster than the state's economy overall, the report notes. The state's plains may be where the corn is grown and cattle are raised, but Graff said it's Denver where agriculture is being transformed.
New neighborhoods in Denver and other Northern Colorado cities are being structured around gardens, small farms and food hubs, taking the local food movement to a scale where it’s actually having a measurable effect on the city’s economy.
For the full story, go to KUNC.

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