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SARTA and UC Davis Receive $1 Million Grant to Create AgTech Innovation Center

Will Help Accelerate Innovative Technologies in Agriculture

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sep 13, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- SARTA and UC Davis today were notified by the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) that they are receiving a $1 million i6 Challenge Grant to create an AgTech Innovation Center that will help farmers and ranchers grow their businesses.

SARTA and UC Davis received one of only six grants awarded nationally. It is the only grant awarded in California.

SARTA, one of 12 California Innovation Hubs, will create and manage programs and deliverables accounting for nearly half of the total scope of the grant. As part of its deliverables, SARTA will create AgStart, the third of its industry-cluster-focused programs, joining the already established CleanStart and MedStart programs that are focused on clean tech and med tech respectively. Within AgStart, funding will made directly available to companies commercializing ag tech innovations.

"We've been considering an ag-tech initiative for some time and we're very excited to now make it a reality," said Meg Arnold, CEO at SARTA.

"By connecting resources to potential and existing entrepreneurs across the agricultural 'value chain,' the AgTech Innovation Center will benefit the state of California, and strengthen the State's iHub network of regional innovation clusters," said Louis Stewart, deputy director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Governor's Office of Business & Economic Development.

The AgTech Innovation Center at UC Davis, developed by the Child Family Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, will help accelerate entrepreneurial thinking among farmers, ranchers, and agricultural researchers, and develop a network of experts to support new ag ventures. The Center also will create an AgEntrepreneurship Academy, which will help agriculture entrepreneurs identify market needs and opportunities, and create agriculture "food chain" clusters of innovation.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Congressman Mike Thompson played key roles in support of the successful grant application.

"This Center will have a profound impact on the region and the nation, linking our agriculture industry to innovative and new technologies that will sustain our nation's food supply, while fueling job creation and economic growth on farms and in rural communities across America," said Congresswoman Matsui.

"Agriculture is the economic backbone of so many of our communities in Northern California," said Congressman Thompson. "This new innovation center, housed at one of California's top research universities, will allow our farmers and ranchers grow their businesses through the development of new technologies. And when farmers and ranchers grow their businesses, this grows our entire agriculture economy and creates new jobs."

The 2012 i6 Challenge Grant is a multi-agency initiative to support the creation of centers for innovation and entrepreneurship. It is designed to encourage and reward innovative, groundbreaking ideas that accelerate technology commercialization, new venture formation, job creation, and economic growth across the United States.

SOURCE: Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance

        Endicott Communications
        Gene Endicott, 916-719-7214
        Meg Arnold, 530-867-1921