Have you ever heard of Lavington? The Albury suburb is home to an agricultural start-up called ProAgni, which produces feed and supplement alternatives to antibiotics and ionophores - and it has been making waves on an international scale.
Its latest splash is in the US, where the company has been selected as one of the top 20 finalists for Grow-NY, a food and agriculture competition in New York state that attracts competitors from across the globe.
And the stakes are high.
The finalists will compete for a piece of the $3 million prize pool, including a $1 million grand prize, to be unveiled at the Grow-NY Food and Ag live pitch competition in November.
The company's chief financial officer, Fiona Soulsby, said ProAgni developed a product which optimised digestion, by focusing on rumen fermentation.
"It has delivered significant improvements in productivity for livestock producers without the use of antibiotics and lowers methane emissions. This is something we are really proud of and is just the start for ProAgni," she said.
She said this meant healthier animals, more efficient food production and a smaller environmental footprint.
Grow-NY, now in its third year, is a novel business competition focused on enhancing the emerging food and agriculture innovation cluster in the Finger Lakes, Central New York and Southern Tier regions of the US and in its short life had already attracted more than 800 applications.
Program director Jenn Smith said the initiative was attracting best-in-class innovators while helping to grow the region's agrifood innovation ecosystem.
Among the other finalists were companies such as Beemmunity, which used microparticle detoxification to protect and preserve pollinator species; Nordetect, which provides a "lab-on-a-chip" test for nutrients found in soil, water, and leaf samples, aimed at optimising the amount of fertiliser used to cultivate crops; and, Emgenisys, an embryo evaluation system that improves pregnancy outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies in livestock.
"We've made it to this round because we make it easy for producers to meet this market demand now and enable our customers to reduce their impact on the environment, while increasing productivity and improving their bottom line," said ProAgni chief executive officer, Lachlan Campbell.
The winner will be required to make a positive economic impact in the Grow-NY region, where there are vibrant farmlands as well as several major urban centers.
The Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit, scheduled for November 16 and 17, and will be held in two simultaneous formats, both in-person and virtual.
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