Building a Collaborative Ag & Food Economy

September 6, 2018

New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, NM





Building unique partnerships to support innovation addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges.

Ag Assembly brings together ag-market leaders who take the stage to talk about demands from the frontlines, translating ideas from vision to reality, and the future of AgTech investment. The event will also give AgSprint startup companies the opportunity to pitch their products/services and engage with their corporate and funding peers in a one-on-one format.

Who Should Attend


Get an inside look at the up-and-coming trends and startups at the forefront of ag innovation


Meet the most promising new ag startups


Connect with investors, potential partners and customers. Plus, have the chance to give a 60-second pitch during the open mic session.

Keynote: Sue McCloskey

Sue is a mom of 4, a dairy farmer and innovator. She was raised in New Jersey, and was an art and history student before being swept into the world of dairy cows when she met her husband Mike. They ran a successful dairy veterinary consulting practice in Southern California before moving to New Mexico to start a 5,000-cow dairy and commit to dairying full time. There, they created Select Milk Producers, which is currently the fifth largest milk coop in the country.

In 1999, Mike and Sue moved to Indiana to create one of the largest dairy operations in the country. Together they run Fair Oaks Farms, a 37,000-cow operation that includes 12 family-run dairies, and is the country’s largest agritourism attraction. The farm and its coop are working in partnership with Coca-Cola to produce the milk-based product FairLife. FairLife is a health and wellness dairy company that produces and markets premium-quality, value-added nutrition products.

Stay Tuned for Updates on the Power-packed 2018 Speaker Lineup!



10:00 AM


10:30 AM

Opening Remarks & Regional Outlook

  • Dr. John Floros, President at New Mexico State University
  • Dr. Rolando Flores, Dean & Chief Administrative Officer College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University

10:45 AM

Firestarter: Innovation at Work in Agriculture

The story behind the dairy industry’s biggest distributor.

  • Sue McCloskey, Co-founder at Select Milk, Fair Oaks Farms, and fairlife

11:15 AM

Innovation Spotlight: AgSprint

7-minute demos from the stars of AgSprint. A unique opportunity to hear presentations from the AgSprint cohort, the Southwest’s most compelling early-stage startups in AgTech.

  • Nathan Dorn, Founder + CEO at Food-Origins
  • Arina Caster, Founder at Sustainable Planet Solutions
  • Rachael Ryan, Co-Founder at Backyard Farms

11:45 AM

The Most Effective Models for Open Innovation

  • Ray Laudano, President at NPD Strategies, Inc.
  • Todd Abraham, Senior Vice President of Research and Nutrition for Kraft Foods
  • Brock Furlong, President & CEO at Stampede Meat, Inc

Moderator: Janiece Greene, head of technology at Purdue University’s Agile Strategy Lab

12:30 PM


1:30 PM

Innovation Spotlight: AgSprint

  • Alex Gorsuch, Co-Founder + CTO at FieldMAK
  • Charlie Paynter, Founder at Dr. Child’s Herbal Remedies
  • Cliff Hudson, Co-Founder + CTO at Systems Technology Solutions

2:10 PM

Investing Yields More than Crops

As the demand for food grows and land and water become scarcer, public and private investment is essential if food and agriculture is to fulfill its function of contributing to economic development, poverty reduction and food security.

  • Scott Dockum, Program Coordinator,  Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (I-FAST) at USDA
  • Andy Lower,  Founder at ADAP (A Different Approach to Poverty)
  • Estela Hernandez, Managing Director at Arrowhead Innovation Fund and Kauffman Fellow

2:55 PM

Open Mic

60-second pitches. FoodTech and AgTech startups from the Southwest will be selected to give pitches in a rapid-fire format.

3:10 PM

Fireside Chat: An Entrepreneurs Journey

  • Preston Mitchell, Co-Founder at The Hatch Chile Store

Interviewer: Kramer Winingham, Director at Studio G at Arrowhead Center 

3:40 PM

Keynote: Harvesting Innovation In New Mexico

4:00 PM


Sample some of the region’s best wines while enjoying tasty bites. Entrepreneurs are a sociable bunch; they enjoy interaction as well as transaction. This is a chance to meet like-minded individuals.

Open Mic

Ag Assembly invites FoodTech and AgTech startups from the Southwest to apply to pitch executives, investors, media, government, entrepreneurs, and other ecosystem contributors. We know entrepreneurs need to be judicious with their time. If you are going to pitch, pitch wisely and pitch to the right people. If you are developing something in the food and agriculture space, regardless of business maturely, presenting at this event will be time well spent.

Up to ten startups will be selected to give 60-second pitches to describe their venture and what additional skills and help they are looking for from the food, agriculture, and entrepreneurial community. Registration fees will be waived for Open Mic presenters.

Space is limited and submissions must be received by August 16, 2018 at midnight.

Powered by Arrowhead’s Premier Partner

Event Sponsors

Premier Hotel Sponsor

Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces

Contributing Sponsors

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

NPD Strategies, Inc.

!NNOVATION that leads to commercialization

Past Partners and Sponsors

Get In Touch

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