March 03, 2022

AgTech Connect: Shaping the Future of Agriculture through networking, exchange and collaboration

On Friday, February 25, the Morton EDC and other regional organizations hosted the first of its kind- AgTech Connect session in Morton, Illinois. AgTech Connect is an initiative that aims to promote economic opportunity, sustainable growth and stimulate innovations in agriculture through conversations, discussions and networking.

The Agricultural industry has been a core industry throughout the history of the region and our farmers have been the original innovators, entrepreneurs, and business owners in the region.

Leigh Ann Brown, CEO of the Morton Economic Development Council


The AgTech Connect Sessions have been designed to solidify the AgTech industry in the region and initiate conversations by building a community focused on sharing whats new and happening in the AgTech sector. The principle is to show what is available, who is doing what, and then give you direct access to who to talk to for more information and possible collaboration.

AgTech Connect understands that while the internet is great for research, there’s no substitute for in-person sharing with like-minded people looking for a sustainable future in a space.

The first Connect session which was held in Downtown Morton, at America Legion, was well attended by farmers, business owners, university professors, innovators, AgTech business owners and other community organizations.

Participants enjoyed brief introductions and highlights of solutions from representatives of Earlybird Feed & Fertilizer, USDA Ag Lab, Illinois Central College, Center for Digital Ag, U of I Research Park, TurkeyTrac, Natural Fiber Welding, Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation on Green Business, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, T-Mobile, Distillery Labs & gBeta, Peoria Innovation AlliancePeoria NEXT Innovation Center and the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bradley University.

After the introductions, there were table discussions where participants mingled and networked with these subject matter experts to learn more about what they did, collaborate, get help and share ideas and information.

One of the participants, Dan Gudeman, President of Early Bird Feed & Fertilizer, shared his excitement of learning about some of the innovative things AutonomouStuff/Hexagon was doing. “I didn’t know someone was working on that. I didn’t know that existed. I thought that was more futuristic but there’s actually somebody doing it today.”

This is the purpose of the AgTech Connect Sessions- to provide people in the agricultural industry to explore what is possible by exposing them to cultivate and shape the future of Agriculture in our region.

This was the first of many events that will cultivate this key industry in our region, to bridge the connections and fuel the ecosystem to explore solutions and collaborative innovation. Stay tuned for details on the next Connect Session.


I didn’t know someone was working on that. I didn’t know that existed. I thought that was more futuristic but there’s actually somebody doing it today.

This initiative is cultivated by the Morton Economic Development Council, The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, OSF Healthcare, Distillery Labs, Illinois Small Business Development Center – Bradley University, gBeta, and others.