USA – Cargill has announced that it will open a new innovation lab in US at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The facility, which according to the agribusiness company will be the home of the newest Cargill Innovation Lab, will focus on enabling researchers to provide solution to some of the challenges across the global food and agriculture systems.

Cargill said that the new lab will provide the company with a pipeline of software engineering and data science students and graduates, who will attempt to develop solutions to modernise agricultural supply chains and food systems.

Led by Cargill’s digital labs team of data scientists, students and staff at the lab will work directly with Cargill business leaders, operations teams and customers to help move digital ideas into workable concepts.

Keith Narr, vice-president of Cargill’s digital labs team, said: “We are on a constant search for new innovations and new talent, whose fresh thinking can help us bring new technologies to life.

“With an impressive engineering and computer science program, the University of Illinois is an ideal partner to spur the growth and innovation in our digital business.”

Robert J. Jones, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign added: “Cargill’s commitment to engaging our students in its innovation process will add a new dimension to their educational experiences at Illinois.

“I had the good fortune to visit Cargill’s headquarters and engage with their leadership in this process. I am excited that Cargill has decided to join the dynamic environment in our Research Park.”

The Cargill Innovation Lab formally opens its doors this fall, following a successful first phase of the partnership, including a 12-week internship program.

Meanwhile, Cargill and Heifer International have expanded the Hatching Hope initiative to Mexico, that will connect Mexican women smallholder farmers with private sector buyers to improve nutrition and livelihoods.

Mexico is the second country to launch a Hatching Hope project, following India’s launch in November of 2018.

Work will begin in Puebla, Oaxaca and Chiapas and will center around the growing demand for cage-free eggs. Using the Cargill feed distribution network, the initiative will also train farmers on productive, efficient and sustainable farming practices.

“The key to Hatching Hope is working alongside entrepreneurial women farmers who are passionate about having a positive impact on their families, communities and businesses,” said Rene Osorio, managing director for Cargill’s feed and nutrition business in Mexico.