USDA ARS Awards $100,000 to Three Winners of HeroX Challenge, Harvest for a Healthier Future

BELTSVILLE, Md., Oct. 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — HeroX, the leading platform and open marketplace for crowdsourced solutions, today announced the winners of the crowdsourcing competition, ARSX 2021 Harvest for a Healthier Future, on behalf of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agriculture Research Service (ARS). The annual competition was open to all ARS scientists, and sourced sustainable harvesting innovations to provide affordable access to safe and nutritious foods while reducing the greenhouse gases emitted from agricultural activities.

The challenge provided ARS scientists with an opportunity to pursue high risk, high reward ideas. Three teams were awarded $100,000 each for their compelling proposals that were environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable in design. Awardees will use the funding to further test and develop their technologies.

"This is an exciting opportunity to leap ahead on climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies without sacrificing production capacity," said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Administrator of USDA ARS. "The cross-disciplinary approach of crowdsourcing is so beneficial in this respect: we bring together innovative researchers to problem-solve across disciplines, resulting in solutions that will positively impact the food, agriculture, and environmental sectors."

The three winning proposals were:

  • Getting down to BiNIS, which proposed developing biological nitrification inhibition in cover crops as a cost-effective and climate-resilient N2O mitigation solution.
  • Harvesting Agriculture’s "Natural" Insect Farms, which proposed harvesting agriculture’s nuisance and pathogen transmitting insects to produce sustainable and superior animal feed.
  • Enhancing Rainfall with Charged Water Droplets, which proposed enhancing rainfall from convective clouds by releasing electrically charged water droplets into clouds.

"With the scale of today’s challenges, we need to be pulling the best ideas from across disciplines and industries," said Kal K. Sahota, CEO, HeroX. "Crowdsourcing does exactly that, and this challenge is no exception: the winning proposals will advance agriculture, benefit our climate, and ensure that food is readily accessible for years to come.


HeroX is a platform and open marketplace for crowdsourcing innovation and human ingenuity, co-founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur, Christian Cotichini and XPRIZE Founder and Futurist, Peter Diamandis. HeroX offers a turnkey, easy-to-use platform that supports anyone, anywhere, to solve everyday business and world challenges using the power of the crowd. Uniquely positioned as the Social Network for Innovation, HeroX is the only place you can build, grow and curate your very own crowd.

Media Contact:
Alexandra Pony


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