A new booth at the Spokane Ag Expo will feature two regional products that could potentially change agriculture around the world.

Agriculture is on the cusp of a revolution led by changes in technology, said Megan Hulsey, program manager for StartUp Spokane, which offers assistance to entrepreneurs through Greater Spokane Inc.

During the Expo, the booth will showcase developments from two exhibitors:

• AGPW Group, based in Richland, Wash., uses microbes to promote growth in crops and at the same time inhibit pests.

• SolarX Works, of Moses Lake, Wash., has developed a solar-powered cooling unit.

“Let’s say you have agricultural workers who are out all hours of the day in all kinds of heat,” Hulsey said. “It can create a cooling tent. Or if you have product that has to be harvested in a particular way and kept cool immediately. ... the produce can be kept at the correct temperature from the moment it’s picked.”

That would be important for some crops that are exported, Hulsey added.

The exhibitors are part of a new “innovation platform” at the Spokane Ag Expo.

“We feel it’s really important farmers know innovation is an option,” Hulsey said. “There are new solutions to age-old problems. Sometimes, a little bit of technology can save a lot of manpower and energy, and yield better crops over the long run.”

In her role at StartUp Spokane, Hulsey works daily with entrepreneurs, and says it’s important to connect them to their potential customers.

“I would love to see this grow and morph into a place where people can see, touch, feel and experience how these products could potentially change the way they grow our food,” she said.

Hulsey also hopes to get feedback from Expo attendees about the trial run of the innovation platform. She welcomes suggestions about what they’d like to see, or existing problems innovators could work to solve.

Field Reporter, Spokane

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