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Growing Technology

RSS By: Ben Potter,

Technology editor Ben Potter brings you the latest in technology news, and how you can apply it to farming.


Welcome to the Silicon Prairie

Jul 15, 2013

I’d like to be the first to welcome you to the Silicon Prairie. I’m just not exactly sure where it is.

The term is a nod to Silicon Valley and has been used to describe various tech innovation hotbeds in the Midwest and High Plains, including those in Texas, Wyoming and Illinois. Iowans are claiming the latest bragging rights for the Silicon Prairie crown – 5 of the 21 people that Broadband for America recently named "Faces of Innovation" hail from Iowa, including sixth generation farmer Grant Kimberley. Farmers are among the benefactors of the influx of tech startups into the rural Midwest.

"Iowa is certainly an innovative state and also the breadbasket of the country," Kimberley says. "So the moniker of ‘Silicon Prairie’ does fit very well."

He says broadband has really changed his business in the past 15 years, through the continued advances in GPS and other precision ag technologies, and through tapping into smartphone apps and other technologies.

Former U.S. Sen. John Sununu, honorary co-chairman of Broadband for America, told The Des Moines Register: "It’s really an effort to identify and provide exposure to the broadband innovators out there creating new services and applications and even new business models. They drive our economy and transform it as well. We have seen over the past decade innovation all over, from entertainment to business services, that have changed the industries."

Indiana’s Michele Payn-Knoper, a leading agriculture advocate who founded Cause Matters in 2001, also made the Faces of Innovation list. For a complete lineup, visit

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