The Yield Lab, the nation’s first agriculture technology business accelerator, today announced its first five participating companies. The 015 —companies were selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants from around the world and, according to Yield Lab, reflect the accelerator’s mission to promote solutions for a healthier, more sustainable future globally.

The Yield Lab is a nine-month program that supports emerging AgTech companies with up to $100,000 in funding, an Agriculture (Ag) specific curriculum, one-on-one mentorship, free workspace and networking opportunities. The Yield Lab is supported by a framework of agriculturally focused individuals, organizations and businesses in the St. Louis area.

The members of The Yield Lab’s first class are:

ArvegenixArvegenix is developing Pennycress, an annual energy crop grown over winter when land is idle, giving farmers another revenue crop. Pennycress, a non-food oilseed crop, produces oil for biofuels and press-cake that is used as livestock feed.

AGERpointAGERpoint provides comprehensive GIS-based asset inventory, data and precision agriculture solutions to growers of tree, vine and bush-based crops. The company distills data from laser and other optical scanning equipment into actionable information for permanent crop farmers from planting to harvest.

HolganixHolganix is a 100% natural bio-nutritional product that promotes strong plant health and sustainable soils while reducing the need for traditional fertilizers and pesticides.

TerVivaTerViva is commercializing a perennial tree grown on underproductive agricultural land called Pongamia. Pongamia produces an annual harvest of pods, which can be crushed to produce animal feed and oil used for biofuels.

Solapa4Solapa4 is a data gathering and analytics company that can predict the agricultural performance of land. Their products show the productivity of a farm for risk management, agribusiness and farming decisions.

This year’s program runs January to September. The Yield Lab received applications from 96 different cities spread over five continents.

“We believe that finding a solution to sustainably feed the world is one of the biggest problems facing the world today,” managing director Thad Simons said. “We have to get creative to solve this problem—and we believe innovation and entrepreneurship are the ways to do it.”

Agriculture is a leading industry in the St. Louis region, providing over 20 percent of the area’s employment and generating $75 billion in global economic value.

“There is no better place than St. Louis to stimulate entrepreneurship in agricultural technology and development,” Simons said. “The Yield Lab, our investors, mentors, advisers, and entrepreneurs are a start on this journey.”