Corn---tasslesPoised in the nation’s heartland between two big farm states, Omaha-Council Bluffs officials hope to benefit from the region’s strong agricultural sector to become one of the world’s top five agri-business leaders.

Randy Thelen, senior vice president at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, sees value-added agriculture as a key to making the metro area a global leader in food processing, biofuels and biochemicals.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth of the Cargill campus up in Blair over the years,” Thelen says. “We want to see that continue to grow and we see a new wave of investment taking place across the country in that space and we want to be a leader in that.” Thelen says other opportunities include the growing precision agriculture industry as well as managing the huge amount of data collected to aid modern ag practices.

Thelen says, “How can we best translate the data that’s being collected today in a meaningful way that provides better abilities to manage the farms, manage these businesses around the world, not just here locally, but around the world?” Thelen says the region’s strong agricultural sector provides urban centers with great opportunities to foster agri-businesses.

Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this report.