Unmanned Aerial

Land O’Lakes Kicks off Agriculture Drone Challenge

Posted by Betsy Lillian on February 20, 2017 No Comments

Fortune 200 agribusiness and food company Land O’Lakes Inc. is calling on innovators from the tech industry to enter the Land O’Lakes Prize: Drone Challenge, a crowdsourcing competition designed to develop proposed solutions that enable scalable, autonomous drone usage in precision agriculture.

A prize of $140,000 will be awarded to a grand-prize winner, and two $5,000 prizes will be awarded to two runners-up. Winners will retain intellectual property rights to the solutions they develop to help farmers use drone technology more effectively.

The company is hosting the competition in collaboration with HeroX, a crowdsourcing platform provider.

“We’re offering the Land O’Lakes Prize to accelerate the development of drones for the ag industry,” states Mike Macrie, chief information officer of Land O’Lakes. “We believe with a few more years of work and the direction we’re providing, backed by insights from our network of 300,000 farmers, we can create a marketplace for drones that ultimately creates better solutions for the farming community.”

As a farmer-owned cooperative, Arden Hills, Minn.-based Land O’Lakes offers its member-owners an agtech portfolio through its Geosys and WinField United businesses, which include tools such as the R7 by WinField. By combining its existing imagery and precision agriculture tools with an automated, scalable drone solution, the company says it could provide more valuable decision-making data to farmers.

Working with judges from the University of Minnesota and WinField United agtech experts, Land O’Lakes will invite finalists to attend a live demonstration event at an FAA approved test location. Performance at the event will support the determination of the winners.

The competition will be open until Aug. 1. More information can be found here.

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