Farmer, Entrepreneur, 35
Trevor grew up with farming in his blood. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were corn and soybean farmers in Parr, a town in Jasper County that dates back to 1895. He is committed to the land and to the heritage that it represents.
“I’m a proud Hoosier. I’m here to stay. My generation has fallen out of farming, but I see opportunities to help move it into the 21st century,” he says.
Part of that future is agritech, the application of technology to improve all elements of the growing process. Considered an outgrowth of the startup culture, agritech uses applications designed specifically for the agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture industries and uses them to improve productivity, yield, and ultimately profits. In other words, it’s a world away
from just getting up early and working in the fields.
The challenge Trevor faces is, unlike startups in big cities, he has no immediate access to capital. Many of the farming operations near him are shrinking or closing for good. He doesn’t have a peer group of like-minded young farmers in the area who want to launch agritech businesses. There is
no opportunity to network with potential investors. To do so requires day trips to Chicago and elsewhere, which lately has been impossible because of his duties to his farm and to his family of three children.
So how can he make the next step? “Right now, it’s about waiting. I got my MBA online. Can I trust the internet to get the resources and information I need? Or will investors not take someone like me seriously unless they get to know me?” he asked.
What would help is having access to quality pre-kindergarten, but since there is none in the immediate area to care for his young ones, the time he’d like to devote to his startup is fading fast. “One of the big reasons startups in Jasper aren’t a thing is because there’s little or no support,” he says. “We’re behind the curve in so many ways.”
Nevertheless, Trevor says he is committed to his dream. That could mean becoming the first agritech company in the county. It may take longer than he wants, but he hopes his example will inspire others to invest more in a community his family has worked in for more than a century.