UA researchers receive $5 million to develop AI-driven food supply chain platform


The University of Arkansas will receive to $5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation for the continued development of Cultivate IQ, an AI-driven platform aimed at bolstering small farms and enhancing the resilience of regional food systems.

The grant brings the total federal investment in the project to nearly $6 million.

The platform provides real-time market insights, including pricing, supply, and demand. By integrating sales and production data from the farm-to-market supply chain, researchers say the platform could optimize food supply and demand, reduce food loss, and open new market channels for producers.

“Our global food system is fragile, and disruption in the system is a national security concern,” said Meredith Adkins, the project’s principal investigator. “Small and mid-sized farms and mission-driven local food distributors, such as food hubs, play an important role in strengthening our regional food systems, but they face real barriers including access to real-time marketplace insights such as pricing, supply and demand. Cultivate IQ aims to enable these end users to compete more effectively by making regionally relevant data insights more accessible.”

Researchers said the initiative is particularly significant for Arkansas, a state where agriculture plays a pivotal role in the economy. The Arkansas Delta, known for its fertile land, alongside Northwest Arkansas, with its high concentration of small-scale farmers, stands to benefit from the insights and efficiencies the platform promises to deliver.

» Read more about the platform here