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CEA producers join to support data-driven USDA project

Four agricultural producers have joined with nonprofit Resource Innovation Institute (RII) under the banner of its USDA Conservation Innovation Grant-funded project: Data-Driven Market Transformation for Efficient, Sustainable Controlled Environment Agriculture.

AppHarvest (Ky.) and Revol Greens (Texas) are vanguards of modern greenhouse cultivation, while Elevate Farms (N.J.) and Fifth Season (Penn.) are pioneers in vertical farming. The producers will serve as initial pilot partners in support of the USDA-funded project that aims to transform the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) market sector toward more efficient production through coordinated research on energy and water practices spearheaded by RII and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

“We are thrilled to unite with these categories in the name of innovation and agricultural resilience,” said Derek Smith, Executive Director of RII. “Working together with these initial pilot partners and others to follow, we can unlock basic knowledge about performance metrics that will serve as beacons of efficiency and productivity for CEA producers globally.” In addition to geographic diversity, the producers represent an expanding global market growing a range of crops in indoor environments, from microgreens to tomatoes to berries. 

Resource Innovation Institute’s PowerScore resource benchmarking platform enables CEA producers to confidentially validate their innovative practices. Using standardized key performance indicators, PowerScore helps producers gain powerful insights into their operational performance while protecting strategic business interests.

“RII is trusted throughout the supply chain to provide data analysis and peer-reviewed guidance to producers, vendors, governments and utilities. Our consortium of members and partners are committed to collaboratively study the most sustainable horticultural practices across climate zones, building types, technologies and techniques to guide decision-makers on how to advance agricultural resilience,” said RII’s Smith.

To ensure the highest level of PowerScore data protection, RII has engaged Management Science Associates (MSA), global companies in data security and analytics, with expertise in HIPAA compliance and benchmarking for associations across industries. Together with producers, investors, and supply chain partners, RII continues to develop protocols that clearly define access, use, and ownership of data.

“We believe that the only way to fundamentally build an industry starts with data capture and accountability,” said Travis Kanellos, Chief Strategy Officer, Elevate Farms. “Our approach from day one has been to drive yields and profitability through metrics and KPIs. We believe RII will validate our approach." 

For more information:
Resource Innovation Center 

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