Space Ag is a half-day conference Energized by Grand Farm and in Partnership with the University of North Dakota exploring advanced agriculture technologies to elevate the future of the AgTech industry in space. This conference will be in-person but will have a virtual option available!

Our world food production system is undergoing a dramatic shift towards sustainable food practices and increased food security. Space agriculture, and the technology it creates, could catalyze the development of high-yield crop production that requires less land and less energy, providing farmers with the ability to create more with less.

At Space Ag Conference, we're going to discuss what it will take to accelerate innovation and move forward with the AgTech industry. And often, solving for challenges in Space can help solve challenges on earth.

Goals of the Conference:

  • Encourage innovators to dream about the possibilities in agriculture.
  • Highlight the possibilities of agriculture to high school and college students by looking through the lens of space.
  • Showcase challenges faced as space agriculture advances.
  • Speed up collaboration and innovation in the ecosystem.
  • Highlight how industry can work with NASA and how space leaders contribute towards solutions in space agriculture.
  • Explore how innovations in space exploration are having on agriculture today, specifically focusing on satellite usage in agriculture and indoor agriculture.

What to Expect:

  • Networking opportunities: The conference will be peppered with plenty of networking opportunities and we will create space for others to connect. 
  • Relevant Content: Throughout the event, you will find that our content is woven together in a narrative focused on building the infrastructure, policies, software, hardware, and tools for the autonomous nation of the future. We are also focusing on three content tracks.
  • Virtual: This event will be hybrid so participants can also attend virtually.
  • Covid safe: Grand Farm and University of North Dakota will take extra precautions to ensure the event is held in a covid-safe environment. 

Content tracks: 

  • Space agriculture (How do we farm on Mars?)
  • How satellites are impacting agriculture
  • Vertical farming and its implications for space agriculture

Those interested in the overlap of space and agriculture, including startup founders, government contractors and government officials. There will also be a heavy focus on educational opportunities to get high school and college students interested in agriculture and space. 

If you are interested in getting involved, email or call Andrew Jason ( | 218-556-2922).

April 14, 2022

12:00 - 5:00 pm

Memorial Union, University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND


Horacio Acerbo

Founder & CEO

Andrew Armacost

University of North Dakota

Barry Batcheller

President & CEO
Appareo Systems

Barbara Belvisi

Founder & CEO
Interstellar Lab

Sen. Kevin Cramer

United States Senator
North Dakota

Pablo de Leon

Department Chair, Space Studies
University of North Dakota

Michael Dodge

Associate Professor, Space Studies
University of North Dakota

Nathan Faleide

Easy Observations

Sherry Fieber-Beyer

Assistant Professor, Director of UND Observatory
University of North Dakota

Ralph Fritsche

Senior Project Manager for Space Crop Production in Support of Deep Space Exploration

Jonathan Gehrke

Senior Director of Development
John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

Ben Greaves

Closed Environment Agricultural Engineer
StarLab Oasis

Morgan Irons

Deep Space Technology

Kris Kimel

Humanity in Deep Space

Andrew Palmer

Associate Professor
Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech

Jon Rask

Technical Manager for Office of Chief Scientist

Jeff Raymond

Chief Operations & Technology Officer
Eden Grow Systems

Shawn Riley

Chief Information Officer
State of North Dakota

Gary Stutte

Founder, Synrge | Director of Plant Research Humanity in Deep Space, Eden Grow Systems

Ian Splinter

Product Manager

Daniel Tompkins


Joe Vacek

Chief Operating Officer
SafetySpect, Inc.

Mike Vinje

Center Technology Transition Lead


Space Ag Workshop - How North Dakota Small Businesses can work with NASA
This workshop will focus on how small businesses can work with NASA. The workshop’s main speakers will be from NASA’s Office of Small Business Programs to discuss contracting opportunities and the procurement process generally and the SBIR Program on early stage funding opportunities for R&D, de-risking technology benefits of NASA funding and partnership, and access to experts.

    • NASA’s Office of Small Business Programs
    • U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer

Note: This Workshop will take place before the official Space Ag Conference starts at 12 pm and requires a separate registration.


Student Meet and Greet





    • Andrew Armacost - President, University of North Dakota


    • U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer

Space Ag Speaker Series

    • Ralph Fritsche - Senior Project Manager for Space Crop Production in Support of Deep Space Exploration, NASA
    • Mike Vinje - Center Technology Transition Lead, NASA SBIR/STTR
    • Daniel Tompkins - Founder, GrowMars
    • Ben Greaves - Closed Environment Agricultural Engineer, StarLab Oasis
    • Barbara Belvisi - Founder & CEO, Interstellar Lab

Panel: How Space Technology is Impacting Agriculture

    • Moderator: Nathan Faleide - Founder, Easy Observations
    • Kurtis Broda - VP Product & Co-founder, Wyvern
    • Jeff Raymond - Chief Operations & Technology Officer, Eden Grow Systems
    • Gary Stutte - Founder, Synrge



University of North Dakota Space Ag Speaker Series

    • Barry Batcheller - President & CEO, Appareo Systems
    • Shawn Riley - Chief Information Officer, State of North Dakota
    • Pablo de Leon - Department Chair, Space Studies, University of North Dakota
    • Sherry Fieber-Beyer - Assistant Professor, Director of UND Observatory, University of North Dakota
    • Michael Dodge - Associate Professor, Space Studies, University of North Dakota
    • Joe Vacek - Chief Operating Officer, SafetySpect, Inc.

Space Ag Speaker Series

    • Andrew Palmer - Associate Professor, Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech
    • Kris Kimel - Founder, Humanity in Deep Space
    • Morgan Irons - Founder, Deep Space Technology
    • Jon Rask - Technical Manager for Office of Chief Scientist, NASA
    • Kurtis Broda - VP Product & Co-founder, Wyvern
    • Horacio Acerbo - Founder & CEO, Eternal